Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children's literature that is "just about perfect."Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the l...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Charlotte's Web
Author:E.B. White
Rating:
ISBN:0064410935
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:184 pages

Charlotte's Web Reviews

  • Stephanie
    Sep 05, 2007

    Within 3 minutes of reviewing its Top 100 Novels Written in English List, I knew The Modern Library was irrelevant. That's because it failed to include CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I mean, I realize that children's literature is considered a joke by most intellectuals, but get serious. Anybody who reads this story and fails to recognize its greatness doesn't really like books, in my opinion.

    Not only does CHARLOTTE'S WEB feature one of the most ingenious plots in all of literature, its prose is breathtaking.

    Within 3 minutes of reviewing its Top 100 Novels Written in English List, I knew The Modern Library was irrelevant. That's because it failed to include CHARLOTTE'S WEB. I mean, I realize that children's literature is considered a joke by most intellectuals, but get serious. Anybody who reads this story and fails to recognize its greatness doesn't really like books, in my opinion.

    Not only does CHARLOTTE'S WEB feature one of the most ingenious plots in all of literature, its prose is breathtaking. Notice how White evokes the arrival of winter on the Zuckerman farm in one short paragraph:

    "The autumn days grew shorter, Lurvy brought the squashes and pumpkins in from the garden and piled them on the barn floor, where they wouldn't get nipped on frosty nights. The maples and birches turned bright colors and the wind shook them and they dropped their leaves one by one to the ground. Under the wild apple trees in the pasture, the little red apples lay thick on the ground, and the sheep gnawed them and the geese gnawed them and foxes came in the night and sniffed them. One evening, just before Christmas, snow began falling. It covered the house and barn and fields and woods. Wilbur had never seen snow before."

    I mean, what could be more evocative or sensual? And the fact that White does this in such simple language only underscores his reputation as a great writer.

    If you have fond memories of CHARLOTTE'S WEB from childhood, I urge you to read it again. I wish the folks at The Modern Library had before compiling their list.

  • David bernardy
    Oct 08, 2007

    I grew up without reading this book. For some, that seems to be unimaginable. I can maybe understand why. My wife and I are reading it now, or I should say, I am reading it aloud before bed, and it's really wonderful. I could totally see why it would be a kind of life-formative book. I was reading a passage last night and laughing at it (there is so much in here that is really funny), and it made me wonder about the level of the humor. That is, would the kid me have thought this was funny or is

    I grew up without reading this book. For some, that seems to be unimaginable. I can maybe understand why. My wife and I are reading it now, or I should say, I am reading it aloud before bed, and it's really wonderful. I could totally see why it would be a kind of life-formative book. I was reading a passage last night and laughing at it (there is so much in here that is really funny), and it made me wonder about the level of the humor. That is, would the kid me have thought this was funny or is it my adult self? And I think probably the kid would have. This is all to say that reading it now, as an adult, it gives me an appreciation for kids' minds, and kids' books that take them seriously, even in their humor. I hope that all makes sense. I'm a late comer to the Harry Potter books, too, but was really delighted by them in some of the same ways.

    But--to get back to "Charlotte's Web"--there's a section about the end of summer, a couple chapters away from their Fair trip. White makes this lovely kind of song about the end of the season and the coming of Fall and the kind of beauty and dread and tinged sadness of it all. My god, it was affecting. That's something that I probably would not have picked up on as a kid, but I think that has more to do with kid-me than with most kids. I know my wife remembered that part distinctly, in fact it is one of the reasons we went back to this book now. We have recently moved from Minnesota, our home for about four years, and Fair Time there just passed. We really experienced the sort of sad beauty of summer's end there. In our new place in Chapel Hill it hasn't happened quite yet. It is still hot and very dry from drought, so I don't know if there will be that kind of fading moment or not. We'll have to see.

    Anyhow, when a book for kids (whatever--for all of us) can make you laugh and cry and think about the beautiful sadness of death--then, damn, what can you do but ramble?

  • Jason Koivu
    Aug 15, 2010

    I don't give a fig if it is a kid's book,

    is one of the most well-crafted stories ever written. This classic children's tale deserves 5 stars for story craft and language usage alone! (Read your Strunk & White to understand this man's talents in that regard.) The fact that it's a heart-warmer/wrencher clinches it. Never was I made to love pigs and spiders so much in my life.

    will always rank high amongst my favorites. But why, for the love of god, did they mak

    I don't give a fig if it is a kid's book,

    is one of the most well-crafted stories ever written. This classic children's tale deserves 5 stars for story craft and language usage alone! (Read your Strunk & White to understand this man's talents in that regard.) The fact that it's a heart-warmer/wrencher clinches it. Never was I made to love pigs and spiders so much in my life.

    will always rank high amongst my favorites. But why, for the love of god, did they make us watch the cartoon version of this tear-jerker in school? Did they want to make us weep embarrassingly in front of one another? If so, mission accomplished, you sadistic school district!

  • Mark Lawrence
    Aug 28, 2011

    'pologies to anybody following my reviews in hope of insights into epic fantasy novels - I get through more kids' stuff reading to my little girl (who is too disabled to do it for herself).

    Charlotte's Web is a book I've been aware of for nearly 40 years but somehow managed to avoid reading when I was little. We picked it up at the hospice last week and read the first half, then had to buy a copy at Waterstones yesterday to finish it off (59 years in print and it's still selling for £6.99 in pap

    'pologies to anybody following my reviews in hope of insights into epic fantasy novels - I get through more kids' stuff reading to my little girl (who is too disabled to do it for herself).

    Charlotte's Web is a book I've been aware of for nearly 40 years but somehow managed to avoid reading when I was little. We picked it up at the hospice last week and read the first half, then had to buy a copy at Waterstones yesterday to finish it off (59 years in print and it's still selling for £6.99 in paperback!)

    The book's a classic for good reason. It delivers an emotional but refreshingly unsentimental story with twists and turns, and inadvertantly lets us have a look at rural American life in the late 1940's. In addition to a strong and engaging story E.B White has powerful prose that doesn't confuse a child, but carries more weight than you're likely to see in most children's stories.

    There's a circle of life theme going on, the amusing and varied anthropomorphising of various animals, a county show and prizes to be awarded, oh my! But putting a welcome edge on all this is the bald fact that the pig you can see on the cover is balanced on a constant knife edge with people gearing up to reduce him to bacon and ham at every turn. And although there are tender moments in the story, it's never saccharine *slight spoiler* the rat never comes through with a change of heart, the little girl grows up and loses interest in the animals *end slight spoiler*

    All in all a fine children's book. Perhaps it I'd read it when I was 7 I'd be giving it 5*

  • Shayantani Das
    Jan 27, 2012

    It may sound weird but this is the first time I am reading this book. I don’t know how I missed out on it when I was a kid. Maybe it was the Famous 5 or Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Anyway, if I had read it as a kid I might have mustered some sympathy for Wilbur. Right now though, I am just mad. Such a whinny and annoying crybaby. Met enough people like him in real life. Poor Charlotte!

    My personnel bitchy nature aside, this book was amazing. A quick read, but it makes an impact. Beautiful lessons

    It may sound weird but this is the first time I am reading this book. I don’t know how I missed out on it when I was a kid. Maybe it was the Famous 5 or Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew. Anyway, if I had read it as a kid I might have mustered some sympathy for Wilbur. Right now though, I am just mad. Such a whinny and annoying crybaby. Met enough people like him in real life. Poor Charlotte!

    My personnel bitchy nature aside, this book was amazing. A quick read, but it makes an impact. Beautiful lessons on friendship and kindness. My favorite quote:

    At least Wilbur got that right! GO CHARLOTTE!

  • Richard
    Sep 01, 2012

    I have been familiar with the story for most of my life, but never read it until now.

    Wilbur the pig is born a runt, and the farmer decides he must face the axe. Kind-hearted little Fern intercedes and saves him. She cares for the undersized pig, who later goes to a nearby farm. Wilbur's life is nearly idyllic until he discovers the fate that has been woven for him: he will likely be the next Christmas ham. Horrified, he looks desperately for a door of escape. His pleas for help are overhead by a

    I have been familiar with the story for most of my life, but never read it until now.

    Wilbur the pig is born a runt, and the farmer decides he must face the axe. Kind-hearted little Fern intercedes and saves him. She cares for the undersized pig, who later goes to a nearby farm. Wilbur's life is nearly idyllic until he discovers the fate that has been woven for him: he will likely be the next Christmas ham. Horrified, he looks desperately for a door of escape. His pleas for help are overhead by a large grey spider who is almost invisible in the doorway. She decides to try to alter the thread by which his destiny is hanging, but will she succeed?

    The barnyard animals, while displaying some human characteristics--Charlotte the spider can read and even has a smattering of Latin--behave like the animals they are. The geese are noisy and silly; the rat is sly and greedy; the pig is good-natured and always hungry; the spider, while kindly, is also an opportunistic and bloodthirsty killer

    The story is one of friendship, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. While at times it threatens to cross over into a sort of Victorian sentimentality, it never quite does, because the author injects touches of humour and irony into the portrayal of both animal and human characters.

  • Lynda
    Jan 03, 2014
  • TL
    Jan 06, 2015

    No words I can say but this book is magical and beautiful and everyone should read it... a truly wonderful tale :) <3

  • Deanna
    Jul 31, 2015

    One of my favorite childhood memories is of reading this book with my mother. I remember how much I giggled at some of the funny situations and cried especially when we read it the first few times. Sobbing into my pillow with my mom rubbing my back I wondered why Charlotte had to die. My mom patiently explaining the gift Charlotte left for Wilbur. Even now I feel a bit of a lump in my throat. It was treasures like this that started my love of books and reading.

    I loved it so much I don't know ho

    One of my favorite childhood memories is of reading this book with my mother. I remember how much I giggled at some of the funny situations and cried especially when we read it the first few times. Sobbing into my pillow with my mom rubbing my back I wondered why Charlotte had to die. My mom patiently explaining the gift Charlotte left for Wilbur. Even now I feel a bit of a lump in my throat. It was treasures like this that started my love of books and reading.

    I loved it so much I don't know how many times I read it over the years. Such a

    timeless classic that will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come. It was easy

    to understand and I loved the illustrations. The characters were so well developed and completely lovable. I wanted to move to a farm right away and have my very own baby pig. So many life lessons...

    It was all in there! The meaning of true friendship, love, life's adventures, miracles, death, trust, betrayal, sorrow and the passing of time. Enjoyable to both children and adults I hope everyone reads this book at least once in their lives. Truly a timeless classic.

  • Melki
    Sep 07, 2015

    I always get in the mood for this book when county fair season rolls around. Ah, the midway with it's dizzying rides and scary carny folk. The agriculture buildings featuring prize-winning giant produce and lovingly crafted quilts. And the yummy scents of frying dough competing with the much earthier smells emanating from the livestock tents.

    I always get in the mood for this book when county fair season rolls around. Ah, the midway with it's dizzying rides and scary carny folk. The agriculture buildings featuring prize-winning giant produce and lovingly crafted quilts. And the yummy scents of frying dough competing with the much earthier smells emanating from the livestock tents.

    I always pay a visit to the cows, sheep and pigs temporarily housed there, and try not to think about how many of them are doomed, already auctioned off to local restaurants. With that sad fact in mind, is it any wonder how this fanciful tale can grip the imagination and tug at the heart . . . the story of Zuckerman's Famous Pig - Wilbur, the Pig Who Lived!

    The book begins with our hero narrowly avoiding the ax, saved from death by a young girl who promises to raise him. He grows and thrives under her care, but soon he's sentenced to a lonely life in a pen at her uncle's farm. But fret not, for he soon meets Charlotte, a large grey spider with an impeccable vocabulary.

    It is truly the beginning of a beautiful and unforgettable friendship.

    I know this is a childhood favorite for many readers, but I was introduced to these characters not through the book, but by the 1973 animated film.

    Because of this, I will always associate Paul Lynde's memorably snarky voice with Templeton the rat.

    I should be ashamed to admit that I didn't read the book until 2011, but I'm not. I think I appreciated it more fully as an aging adult than I would have as a kid. Having lost some friends and both parents, I know how fleeting life can be and how important it is to grab onto every last experience and memory. How strange that it is the wisdom of a spider that reminds us of what matters most in our lives.

    Adding to the joy of the book are the sweet illustrations by Garth Williams.

    So thank you, Mr. White, for your most marvelous book. I can think of no other author who could make an arachnophobe like me shed tears over the death of a spider.