Thanks to the movie, the plot of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is well known to most children. [I love the version with Julia Robert's voice as Charlotte.] In case you missed it, here is the story line: Wilbur, the Pig, lives on the Zuckerman Farm. He was horrified to learn he will be killed and made into bacon and ham. His best friend, Charlotte the Spider, vows to save him. Charlotte does her thing, which is to spin a web with the words ’some pig’ in it. Will that be enough to save Wilbur?
There are more characters than Wilbur and Charlotte. There is Templeton the Rat, the old sheep, the goose and the gander who talk funny. And, there is Fern, the eight-year-old girl, who understands what the animals are saying. There are some grown-ups as well.
Published in 1952, this book has served several generations. I remember first reading it when I was a young teenager to the children I was hired to babysit. Each week they were anxious for me to come and read more chapters to them. My children loved the story too and now the granddaughters.
One of the things I like best about this book is that it does not talk down to children. Charlotte has an excellent vocabulary and uses words like versatile and languishing. Wilbur always asks Charlotte what the word means and Charlotte gives an easy to understand definition.
This is a good book for our four-year-old granddaughter as she loves big words and already has a huge vocabulary. I recommend it for children three and up as a read-to book and as a read-on-your book for big sisters(or brothers) of eight and up.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, HarperCollins Publications, 1952.