75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you already own a copy of 'Charlotte's Web', the Signature Edition is a must-have item!
Fern Arable has always been an animal lover. However, she had never saved a pig from an untimely injustice until the day she learned that her father planned on shooting a runt, just because he had been too small. Begging her father for a chance to save the little oinker, Fern wins the battle, and is given the opportunity to raise the wriggling piglet as her own. Promptly...
Published on November 14, 2006 by Erika Sorocco
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Story
Having a dual form of dyslexia I did not learn to read until later in life. Thus I never read children's books while a child. Maybe that is why I read so many still today. I read this as part of a children's literature course in university.
It is an interesting book, about friendship, commitment, compassion, change and death. As such it deals with a lot of the...
Published on December 7, 2008 by Steven R. McEvoy
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even if you already own a copy of 'Charlotte's Web', the Signature Edition is a must-have item!,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web Signature Edition (Hardcover)
Fern Arable has always been an animal lover. However, she had never saved a pig from an untimely injustice until the day she learned that her father planned on shooting a runt, just because he had been too small. Begging her father for a chance to save the little oinker, Fern wins the battle, and is given the opportunity to raise the wriggling piglet as her own. Promptly named Wilbur, Fern falls in love with her new charge, and can't get him off her mind, even while at school. But as he grows bigger and bigger each day, things begin to change. Soon, Mr. Arable refuses to allow Wilbur to sleep in the house, then her father reprimands her for taking Wilbur for walks in her doll carriage. Soon, Fern is forced to sell little Wilbur to her Uncle Homer, where Wilbur is quickly swept away, and forced to live. Fern doesn't mind the arrangement as long as she can still see her beloved friend. But when she learns that Uncle Homer plans to fatten the little piggy up and then kill him, she's devastated. As is Wilbur. Confiding in the other farm animals, Wilbur begs everyone for their help in saving his life. Sadly, none of the animals seem to know what to do to keep Wilbur from meeting his fate. No one, that is, except for an intelligent spider known as Charlotte. Charlotte lives right above Wilbur in his tiny alcove, where she spends her days and nights weaving beautiful webs. When she decides to help Wilbur by spelling words and phrases such as "Some Pig" and "Terrific" in her webs, the county becomes interested in visiting this amazing pig, leaving Uncle Homer in awe, and giving him the chance to spare little Wilbur's life.
CHARLOTTE'S WEB has been one of my absolute favorite stories since I was 6-years-old, which is why this Signature Edition of the tale instantly caught my eye. Yes, it is the same tale that we all know and love from years ago, however, this particular edition features some exclusive content that is absolutely essential for CHARLOTTE'S WEB and E.B. White fans. Aside from the gorgeous, colored illustrations by Garth Williams; and the wonderful large font of the story, this lap-sized edition features an entire Afterword by Peter F. Neumeyer, which features black and white photographs of E.B. White himself, as well as a brief biography about the famed author, pictures of his home, information about his other books - such as STUART LITTLE and THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN - and even has an exclusive area devoted to the illustrator, Garth Williams. Even more interesting are the illustrations of Zuckerman's Barn - which White modeled after his very own - and the various first drafts and changes to the tale that did not make it into the actual novel. Each and every one of these Afterword pages is an absolute marvelous addition to the tale, and gives the reader an even more in-depth into the man who created an array of lovable, unforgettable characters. Even if you already own a copy of CHARLOTTE'S WEB, the Signature Edition is a must-have item!
76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovable pig + wise spider = enduring classic,
"Charlotte's Web," by E.B. White, belongs to a special class of literature: a children's book which has much to offer to older teen and adult readers. White's wonderful story is superbly complemented by the charming illustrations of Garth Williams.
As the story opens, eight year old farm girl Fern Arable stops her father from killing a piglet who has been labeled the runt of the litter. The little pig, whom Fern names Wilbur, becomes one of the central figures in the story. Eventually he will be befriended by Charlotte, the wise and loving spider mentioned in the book's title.
White creates a sort of modern animal fable in which his barnyard characters can speak both with each other and with Fern. White's barn is populated with some truly marvelous characters. Special mention should be made of Templeton the rat. Gluttonous, sneaky, often nasty, but curiously sympathetic, Templeton is one of the great anti-heroes in modern literature.
Part of this novel's brilliance is the fact that the author makes a heroine out of a spider: a creature that many people probably regard with fear. Unlike a cute piglet or other barnyard creatures, a spider is a creature vastly different from humans. White's Charlotte is a truly remarkable character. White's witty, compassionate prose style is an ideal vehicle for telling the story of Charlotte and her friends.
"Charlotte's Web" is a masterful blend of whimsy, humor, gentle satire, and life-and-death drama. But above all, it is a powerful story of friendship. Deeply moving and superbly written, this is a book which, I believe, will endure as a treasured classic.
54 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read (or Be Read) This Descriptive Children's Classic,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web Collector's Edition (Hardcover)
Can't imagine saying something about E.B. White's children's classic "Charlotte's Web" that 148 others here (more around the world) have not. But experiencing it twice (having it read to me in fifth grade nearly 30 years ago, and reading it to my daughter recently) has allowed me to greater appreciate the book's meaning and accomplishment.
Many children will never experience life on a farm or visit a county fair (the two major book settings). White and his illustrators picture that life sensually and beautifully. The story of Wilbur (pig) and Charlotte's (spider's)friendship, what she does to save him, the toll it takes on her, and her eventual legacy, recalls the unconditional love mothers have for their children. (Fern, the Arables' daughter who saves Wilbur's life at the start, retreats from the storyline as her interest shifts from animals to boys.)
All this is told amidst word backgrounds of warm summer days, dank cellars, midways filled with discarded food and paper, cellar barns filled by scents of straw, manure, and slops. (Who but White could've described the leftovers fed to Wilbur and actually make them sound delicious?)
White's gift for character also shows most interestingly in the rat Templeton, who many may identify with. Tough, clever, self-serving, defensive, but valiant in the end, he adds much needed sour spike to essential scenes that may have otherwise been too sweet (his negotiation with Wilbur over Charlotte's egg sac is one example) Templeton's self-desciption at book's end of "living for the pleasures of the feast," summarize in a way what makes life and what we do for each other in it worth the trouble. Essential reading for children and adults.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it even if you don't have children.,
One of the best reasons for having children is having an excuse to read Charlotte's Web. I just finished reading it to my youngest child, and cried just as hard as a did when I first read it to her brother a decade ago.
The story is about a spider who saves a pig from being turned into bacon and pork chops by weaving words to describe him into her web, convincing everyone that a miracle has occurred, and that there must be something very special about this pig.
Charlotte, the spider, is kind, noble, and brave � a model of perfect friendship. Wilbur, the pig, is childlike and innocent at the beginning, but he grows wiser under Charlotte's influence throughout the book. The book is beautifully written in simple, graceful language. It's just a pleasure to read from beginning to end.
There is one thing that anyone planning to read the book to a young child ought to know. At the end, after laying her eggs, Charlotte dies. I had actually forgotten about that when I started reading the book to my 6-year-old recently, and when, halfway through the book, I remembered, I was a little worried about what her reaction would be. But as I got closer and closer to Charlotte's death, I realized how skillfully E.B. White handled the scene. For a couple of chapters before, you see Charlotte growing weaker and weaker. My daughter kept moving closer to me, sensing, I'm sure, that something was wrong. Charlotte's death doesn't come as a shock. Even a kindergartner seemed to sense that it was coming. More important, in the scene after Charlotte dies, Wilbur guards her eggs until her babies are born, and while most of them fly away, three baby spiders stay behind and become his friends. He's able to guide them the way Charlotte guided him, which gives a wonderful sense of continuity.
I don't think Charlotte's death is a reason not to read the book to a child, but I think if you're planning to read it to a child under 8 or so, you should read it to yourself first to be sure your child is ready for it.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web Collector's Edition (Hardcover)
The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unwinds a thread of her devising:
A thin, premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all the journey down through space,
In cool decent, and loyal-hearted,
She builds a ladder to the place
From which she started.
Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken strand to you
For my returning.
E. B. White, November 1929
As the poem Natural History, written some 23 years before Charlotte's Web indicates, EB White had a long fascination with spiders and their webs and the truth to be discerned in them. In fact, he was enamored of the natural world in general and his desire to be closer to the land led him to move to a Maine farm in 1939. It was in the farm life and specifically in the comfort of the barn that the inspiration for this children's classic came to him :
As for Charlotte's Web, I like animals and my barn is a very pleasant place to be, at all hours. One
day when I was on my way to feed the pig, I began feeling sorry for the pig because, like most
pigs, he was doomed to die. This made me sad. So I started thinking of ways to save a pig's life. I
had been watching a big grey spider at her work and was impressed by how clever she was at
weaving. Gradually I worked the spider into the story that you know, a story of friendship and
salvation on a farm.
From these humble beginnings he wove an enduring tale of love and loyalty, life and death, and, perhaps unnoticed by most of us until adulthood, of the comic ingenuousness of man, and of the value of knowledge and a big vocabulary.
White, renowned as an essayist, wrote so clearly and fluidly that the pages whiz by. And if you get a chance to listen to the audio version that he reads himself, it is the performance of a master storyteller. Though a native New Yorker (Mt. Vernon anyway), White had by then picked up the rhythm and accents of a New Englander. In addition, he tells the story with apparent affection for his creations, love of the barnyard, and amusement at the goings on.
I was trying to figure out what made it all so magical and then I found this quote in which he described his own work (What Am I Saying To My Readers He ?, May 14, 1961, NY Times) :
What am I saying to my readers? Well, I never know. Writing to me is not an exercise in addressing
readers, it is more as though I were talking to myself while shaving. My foray into the field of
children's literature was an accident, and although I do not mean to suggest that I spun my two
yarns in perfect innocence and that I did not set about writing "Charlotte's Web" deliberately,
nevertheless, the thing started innocently enough, and I kept on because I found it was fun. It also
became rewarding in other ways--and that was a surprise, as I am not essentially a storyteller and
was taking a holiday from my regular work.
All that I ever hope to say in books is that I love the world. I guess you can find that in there, if
you dig around. Animals are part of my world and I try to report them faithfully and with respect.
He succeeded quite brilliantly in the task he set himself. I know of no work of literature by any author that better expresses respect for animals and love for the world.
GRADE : A+
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars miracles are found in the simplest of things,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web (Paperback)
"It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend . . ."
Fern Arable, eight year old farm girl, stops her father from killing a piglet who has been labeled the runt of the litter. She names the piglet Wilbur and nurses him from the bottle, surrounding him with her love. When Wilbur is able to eat on his own, they sell him to Fern's uncle Mr. Zuckerman, who lives near by. Soon Wilbur finds himself in a barn full of animals and scents of straw, manure, and slops. The only thing missing - is a true friend.
That's how a great bond of friendship begins between Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. With Christmas time approaching, Charlotte comes up with a plan to save Wilbur from the mean and cold-hearted slaughter of turning him into the bacon. To persuade Mr. & Mrs. Zuckerman that Wilbur is not an ordinary pig and needs to be spared, Chralotte devotes all her time and strength to weaving words into her web. One morning she presents the words "Some Pig" in her web in the top corner of the barn's doorway. A hurdle of people came to see this miracle, a sign from above, the miracle nobody can explain. That's how a Wilbur becomes an attraction of the state, a famous Zuckerman's pig.
Wilbur is not in danger anymore, thanks to Charlotte. But the spider herself is not into loud celebrations - she grows weaker and weaker with each following day. On the day of the Fair, she gets her last strength to accompany her friend on his special trip. Among the cheer of the crowd on the Fair's Grounds, Charlotte quietly makes an egg sac and passes it onto Wilbur's care, quietly staying behind herself: "After all, what is a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while , we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that." Wilbur guards her eggs in the barn until her babies are born in the spring, and while most of them fly away, three baby spiders stay behind and become his friends. He's able to guide them the way Charlotte guided him, which brings a wonderful sense of continuity and satisfaction.
In this tender story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us of the wonder and miracle found in the simplest of things. But above all, it is a powerful story of friendship - deeply moving and superbly written - a true, timeless classic.
Author of "Power of Plentiful Wisdom". Available on Amazon.
For more book reviews visit my blog "Julia's Library"[...]
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My three year old's favorite novel.,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web (Paperback)
I'm sharing this review with the intention of being particularly helpful to parents of toddlers and preschoolers. I found that having a very young child with the attention span to sit through chapters of a novel left me scrambling a bit to find novels that were appropriate in theme and content for her age. I am reviewing each novel we have read or tried in the hopes of being helpful to other parents in the same situation.
Charlotte's Web by EB White was the second novel we read, and we selected it for two reasons. First, it was already on our bookshelf, and second, an area park was planning to host the live-action movie, projected outside for a picnic-under-the-stars movie experience. I thought the second sounded really fun, and having seen the live action version, I thought my daughter would really enjoy it.
It was a bit of a gamble starting this one primarily because it tackles the concept of death, and a young three year old might not handle that well. But, knowing her as I do, I decided to try it on, and see how she responded. I decided that I'm not opposed to altering the story if I felt it necessary. Though I'm generally opposed to censorship, I feel this is fine, as I do not intend to keep ideas from her, merely gauge when she is ready for them. Regarding death, I felt that to some extent she had already been exposed to insect death, and that animal death is a natural extension of that idea. So, after noting the possible red-flags this novel brought with it, we began reading.
My daughter fell in love with this story. She considers it Fern's story, which I find interesting. The novel begins with Fern, and she is Wilbur's first advocate. I think she liked the idea of a pig all wrapped up in a baby blanket, in a doll's carriage, drinking milk from a bottle. I think she liked to experience being a caregiver vicariously through Fern. I saw confusion and shock flash across her face during the early scene when Fern rescued Wilbur from an early death. I think to some extent, Fern won my daughter's devotion in that early scene. Like Fern, the idea that this baby pig should be killed because it was small, was not only foreign but definitely wrong. It was neat to see her draw that conclusion, and empathize with a character on the basis of emotion and moral righteousness. In that passage, I knew we'd done right to select this book, and that it gave her the gift of literature in a way that previous reading hadn't. It gave her books as a vehicle for examining ideas and drawing conclusions, as a means of experiencing difficult situations without actually having to live them.
She very much enjoyed the antics of Charlotte, Wilbur, and Templeton. She was a quiet listener, so that often times I wondered if she was fully engaged, and was surprised to find upon questioning that she was definitely fully with me. I was surprised by how well she kept with the story, not growing bored when we covered long passages about the wind blowing through the trees and the seasons changing on the the farm. I'd have predicted that she would need the clever antics to keep her interest up, but she was a rapt audience for the entirety of the book.
In the end, we took Charlotte's death on headlong, not editing or softening the blow. I felt the whole book had prepared for it, and to leave it out or soften it in the end would have made the preparation excessive. White was very wise in his handling of the story. It is very much an introduction to the idea of death, and he puts out early the idea that Wilbur may die, an idea his audience is not equipped to handle. Still, he prepares the audience for it, never lying. Never promising that it won't become a reality, presenting hope alongside the reality of death, and leaving the reader to know that those are what we have: the certainty of ultimate death, and hope in the face of it. And I love that he didn't chicken out. He didn't give us Wilbur, the victor over death and a means to avoid dealing with death as a certainty. He gave us Wilbur, saved from the slaughterhouse and free to live as full a life as any of us. And he gave us Charlotte, whose complete life came to it's natural end in this book. In doing so, he asks the reader to explore the idea of death and of the life-cycle, without giving them a free-pass. He is honest about it, and I respect that. He recognized that children weren't ready to say good-bye to Wilbur, and most especially not at the hand of humans and not by choice, but that he had prepared them for the idea of death and a natural death could be more easily accepted and understood. And so, Charlotte dies, and Wilbur lives to die another day, and my daughter begins to explore this idea and to decide for herself what it means to have a life.
Lots of questions accompanied this book, and followed it. Why do the people want to kill Wilbur? Why do we eat animals? Why does Charlotte not want Wilbur to die? Why did the farmer decide not to kill Wilbur? Why did Charlotte die? Do people also die? Will I die? Will you die when I die? What will happen after I die? When will I die? When will you die? Are Charlotte's babies sad because they don't have a mommy? And so on. And they are all important questions and I thank EB White for giving them to my daughter in such a gentle and loving way and allowing us to experience them together.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We enjoyed this book very much.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Charlotte's Web (Hardcover)
Charlotte a kind hearted grey spider, befriends Wilbur, a lonely white farmyard pig. This great bond of friendship begins when Wilbur, had been saved from death at birth, by Fern , a little but brave girl.Wilbur soon has to move to the barn at Fern's uncles place. There he meets Charlotte, wh-o is soon willing to give up her time, and if needed her life to save Wilbur from the mean and cold hearted slaughter. Charlotte soon begins her mission to save Wilbur by keeping Mr& Mrs Zackerman from killing Wilbur, this is preformed by Charlotte sppining words on her web, onthe corner of the farmyard stable.Mr& Mrs Zackerman are so shocked that a hurdle of people came to see this amazing preformance by what they belive to be the pigs doings. This is an emotional and modern classic written by E.B White and is suitible for all ages around the globe. We recomend it for all young and old readers.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charlotte's web : Comment from 27 years old guy,
I read this book about 15 years ago as part of the assignment when I was in school. Last week, when I tried to organize my books. I accidentally found "Charlotte's Web". I began reading this book again and quickly finish within 2 days. The relationship between Wilber and Charlotte would be a good lesson for children. Without the help from Charlotte, WIlber would definitely be killed and even finally it was a little bit sad, but it is the way of life. I wouldn't go for the detail of the story, you should read it yourself. This book is beautifully written and easy to understand. Other animals in the farm also made the story sometimes funny. It will give a lot of imagination for children. By the way I'm now 27 but still enjoy this such wonderful story.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars same book you read as a child,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Charlotte's Web Read-Aloud Edition (Hardcover)
This is the same book you read as a child but in a hard cover, with giant print. I am really happy with the high quality of this book.
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Charlotte's Web by Garth Williams (Audio CD - May 2002)