Reading on the Web

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Grade: A+

Charlotte’s Web is one of the most charming books I’ve ever read. No wonder it’s #1 on the list of top children’s books. I remembered enough from my last reading (some 20+ years ago) to know what was going to happen, but I had forgotten how endearing and strangely realistic the characters of Wilbur and Charlotte were. Not that the book is perfect, but it’s about as close as one can reasonably expect an author to get. Garth Williams’s illustrations are also great, though I wish they were in color.

One of my favorite things about this book is that parts of it, taken out of context, do not sound like they come from a sweet little children’s book. For one thing, the book starts with an attempted murder. A man is headed toward the barn with an ax. Sounds like a horror novel to me! And White doesn’t cringe away from the fact that Charlotte is a predator. She kills things and then she eats them. She says, “Of course, I don’t really eat them. I drink them—drink their blood. I love blood.” Wait, is this a vampire story? Nope, just a fuzzy-wuzzy story about a pig and a spider. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

100% recommended for everyone everywhere at all times.

Favorite quotes:

“A little girl is one thing, a little runty pig is another.”

“[She] was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. . . . It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.” (See? I have a good reason for being a slugabed. I don’t want to take care of pigs!)

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