Book Review: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White


Author: E.B. White
Title: Charlotte’s Web
Narrator: E.B. White
Publication Info: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group [Originally published, 1952]
Other Books Read by the Same Author:

Summary/Review:

Charlotte’s Web is a book I loved as a child and still love revisiting it as an adult.  And it’s quite the weeper! It’s a simple barnyard fable of a piglet who is the runt of the litter saved by a girl named Fern and named Wilbur.  As Wilbur grows and thrives he is faced with the reality that he will be butchered for pork. His life is saved by his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte who weaves words like “Some Pig” and “Terrific” into her webs. Wilbur grows to become a celebrity pig which saves him from the butchering block.

The natural response to this story is that Wilbur actually does nothing and it is Charlotte who should be recognized as a remarkable spider.  The farmer’s wife, Mrs. Zuckerman, says as much in the story. What I never noticed about this story as a child is how it is a social satire of how gullible humans are to the messages of advertising. But it’s also a story of friendship and how Charlotte dedicates her naturally short life to preventing the unnatural end of Wilbur’s life.  As a result, Charlotte’s legacy is ensured with Wilbur telling her story to generations of her descendants.

The book also features Templeton, a funny rat, who I loved as a child and who still cracks me up now.  Charlotte’s Web is a well-regarded classic and I can’t help but throw my praise onto it’s heap of plaudits.  Have you read Charlotte’s Web, and if you have what are your thoughts?

Favorite Passages:

“…A miracle has happened and a sign has occurred here on earth, right on our farm, and we have no ordinary pig.”

“Well,” said Mrs. Zuckerman, “it seems to me that you’re a little off. It seems to me we have no ordinary spider.

Final Lines: “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”

Recommended books:

  • The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
  • Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Rating: *****

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