By: E.B. White
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Best for: All Ages
All we need is love.
E.B. White was awarded a Newbery Honor for Charlotte’s Web in 1953. It lost the Newbery Medal to a boring little book called Secret of the Andes, which I’m sure is lovely.
But it’s no Charlotte’s Web.
Time clarifies many things, and I’d be willing to bet if the 1953 committee could have seen the future, the vote would have gone a different way. Charlotte is exactly what our angry, divisive, un-anchored, morally flexible, war-torn world needs.
I think Charlotte’s Web is a miracle.
What else would you call a story that asks children to love it’s characters, then makes them say goodbye and endure sadness, but in the end, they smile–and even rejoice.
Charlotte’s Web teaches love
Charlotte’s Web teaches patience
Charlotte’s Web teaches compassion
Charlotte’s Web teaches the value of good friends
Charlotte’s Web teaches to see the beauty around us
Charlotte’s Web teaches we can be friends with anyone
Charlotte’s Web teaches to not judge on appearance
Charlotte’s Web teaches it’s okay to rely on others
Charlotte’s Web teaches being bored isn’t a bad thing
Charlotte’s Web teaches there can be happy after the sad
Who would have guessed this short book, written 70 years ago, about a spider who befriends a lonely pig could possibly have such an enduring impact and have such profound meaning today. It’s aged remarkably well, and my young ones remained engaged and invested through out.
Why did you do all this for me?” [Wilber] asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s 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 up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
E.B White said “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”
We need more Charlottes.
No content concerns. There is sadness, and this parent recommends being part of the experience with your children. Charlotte’s Web should be required reading for life.
If you’re lucky enough to read the edition that includes a forward by our own modern-day, future classic children’s book author Kate DiCamillo, make you read it. Her thoughts on Charlotte’s Web have become my new standard for how to write an outstanding book review. You’ll be glad you didn’t skip it, trust me.