Title: Charlotte’s Web
Author: E. B. White
Major Themes: Pigs, Spiders
Synopsis: Wilber the pig is lonely, so a spider befriends him and tries to save his life.
I remember reading Charlotte’s Web when I was a little girl. It was a delightful story that I loved! I never read it to my children, though, until just recently. Someone gave us a copy, and my 12-year-old chose it for a read-aloud when it was his turn. The children loved it!
One morning, Fern learned that her father was going to kill one of the piglets born that morning, because it was smaller than the others. She couldn’t stand it, and adopted the piglet. Very soon, Wilbur, as she named her pet, was too big to live in the kitchen, so he was sold to Fern’s uncle down the road. Though Fern spent all the time she could with Wilbur in his new home, he was often lonely. Then one night, he heard a voice from above him, telling him that he had a friend who would be revealed in the morning.
When Wilbur heard that his destiny was to be killed when the weather grew cold, he grew very upset about it. His new friend, the spider, set to work to try to save him. Wilbur learned that he was “Some Pig,” “Humble,” and “Radiant.” But would Charlotte’s words be enough to save Wilbur’s life?
This is a lovely story of friendship. My children thoroughly enjoyed the story. I have mixed feelings about it because it promotes the notion that animals have thoughts and feelings just like people, which I do not believe is true. I have been around animals all my life, and know that they are different from people. So, I can’t wholeheartedly endorse Charlotte’s Web, although I will say I like it as a story.
WARNING: See the last paragraph.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12