As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

December 31, 2013

CHARLOTTE'S WEB by E.B. White, 2001

An affectionate pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, White reminds readers to open their eyes to the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things. (Goodreads)

Reviewed by Sarah, old-fashioned girl at heart 

CHARLOTTE'S WEB is a delightful book about compassion, love, acceptance, and barnyard life.  Wilbur the pig has had a rough go of it right from the start; as the runt of the litter he is saved from euthanasia via ax by his owner’s daughter, Fern.  After basking in Fern’s loving and attentive care for 5 weeks he is sold to her uncle down the road.  In his new home he pines for Fern and longs for company.    When Charlotte the spider befriends him his troubles appear to be over, until he discovers the fate of farm pigs ends on the farmer’s plate.  Charlotte’s ingenious plan to save him amuses and warms the heart.

Charlotte and Wilbur are some of the most delightful characters ever penned.  Charlotte is wise, kind, loving, patient and humorous.  She also has a lovely sense of humor.  Wilbur is a rather shy, insecure, tenderhearted pig, and these qualities cause him some heartache.  In addition to these central two, the barn abounds with quirky characters: Templeton, the deliciously selfish rat; the garrulous goose, gander and goslings; and the cynical sheep. 

I read this book to my sister when she was a preschooler, and later to my own children.  A note of warning if you plan to read aloud; practice your animal voices thoroughly and be prepared to read the second to last chapter with a tight throat and teary eyes.  Because just like ‘real life,’ this magical book is a combination of fear and joy, humor and sorrow, love and loss. 

Market: Children’s Literature
Language: Wholesome; somewhat vocabulary expanding for children
Violence: None
Sensuality: None
Mature themes: death, self-sacrifice

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