Charlotte’s Web

Award winning book by E.B. White tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between a pig and a spider. The classic book has been in many classrooms for years because of its lovable characters, and relationships between animals and humans.

The Arable family has a litter of pigs, one of which they deem a runt.  Fern, the eight year old daughter, is determined to save the pig.  She convinces her father to let her take care of the pig.  She names the pig Wilbur and treats him as sweetly as a doll.  However, they run out of room for Wilbur and sell him to their Uncle, who has a farm nearby.

Fern spends time at Uncle Zuckerman’s farm visiting Wilbur.  Wilbur, however, grows lonely in his pen.  He wakes up one day with a new neighbor, Charlotte the spider.

From there, the farm animals and Wilbur develop friendly routines.  They look forward to Fern’s visits and watching Charlotte spin her web. However, the sheep inform Wilbur that he will be killed around Christmas.  Wilbur is horrified and begs Charlotte for an answer.  She thinks and decides that spinning descriptions in her web will make Wilbur famous.  And how could they kill a famous pig?

Charlotte spins words like “terrific,” and “some pig”, which brings in people from all over to see Wilbur.  The Zuckerman farm becomes an attraction and thankfully, saves Wilbur’s life. They even go to the county fair, where Wilbur wins top prize.

Charlotte, though, tells Wilbur that she is tired from spinning and because her life is short, she won’t make it back to the farm.  Wilbur takes back with him her sac of eggs and in turn, three of her children become Wilbur’s farm friends.

The story is sweet, although it deals with pretty adult themes – death.  However, White does so in a way that ends the book on a positive note.  This book has remained on shelves for a long time, I think, because of the animal characters.  White gives Wilbur and Charlotte voices that are great to read.