11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A Rite of Passage,
This review is from: Charlotte's Web (Paperback)
"The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last forever. Even on the most beautiful days of the whole year - the days when summer is changing into fall - the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change."
There are powerful messages that every child longs to hear: life is special and worth cherishing at all costs - and against all odds. That is the backdrop for this tale. I read this book in the third grade and I'm now reading it aloud to my children at bedtime.
On my daughter's level, the animals talk. Great fun. And on my sons' level, we struggle to survive and have to plan for the future (but how?). Oh yeah, spiders are cool too.
So much of E.B.White's prose is visceral - looking across a pasture at dusk: the smell of horses, the slanted rays of the sun illuminating small vortices of insects, the nearby sounds of crops shaking in the breeze, the pink hues of the sky. This is the world of Charlotte's Web. Against this pastoral beauty, the main themes of this book center on mortality and friendship. Life is tragically ephemeral whether this is the life of a runt pig, or the fate of the same spring pig.
My children marvel that in a great hour of need, desperately alone, a heroine comes in the most unlikely of forms. We learn that perhaps the greatest obstacle to salvation isn't the effort of a savior, but rather the assent of a trusting soul - "But Charlotte," said Wilbur, "I'm not terrific."
Little minds (and big ones too) can wrestle with big ideas when reading this book. Just what is our purpose while we are in this "barnyard"? Is it to play the role of the rescuer or rescued. Or do we standby like the sheep and geese, and even self absorbed rats can be deliverers sometimes too.
"It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend . . ." maybe the most applicable truth in this tale. As I read this book at night, I look at my children, who are growing up before my very eyes. I hope we learn from this book to be rescuers, to have the humility to be rescued, and to treasure our true friends. I turn off the lights and in the distance I hear the crickets, warning me that summertime cannot last forever.
DON'T EVEN THINK OF DEPRIVING YOUR CHILDREN OF THIS BOOK.