Charlotte's Web c.1

by E. B White

Other authorsGarth Williams (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2012


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Call number

J Wh c.1


HarperCollins (2006), Edition: Media tie-in, 192 pages


Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member Cait86
Here is another children's classic that I missed as a child, though I was familiar with the story, having watched the movie many times. I am sure the plot is known to you all: a pig named Wilbur is worried that he is going to be Christmas dinner, and so his friend Charlotte the spider attempts to
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save his life by spinning words like "Some Pig" and "Terrific" into her web, which hangs over Wilbur's pen. Also in the barnyard are Fern, the little girl who cared for Wilbur when he was a baby; Templeton, a rat who loves to eat; a goose and gander who are awaiting the birth of their goslings; and various other animals.

The antics of the farm animals are the highlights of this sweet story. I loved the goose, who speaks fast and says everything three times, and Templeton, who is a very crafty rat. White includes many lessons for young readers, specifically the value of friendship. Charlotte's Web is touching, funny at times, and I am sure it would be a great favourite for children. Unlike some of the other children's books I have read lately, Charlotte's Web does not really examine deeper themes or ideas - it is just a book for kids. It was a cute way to spend two hours, but it is not something that I would read again.
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LibraryThing member mybookshelf
Fern believes in justice. She can’t understand why her father would want to kill a newborn pig just because it is smaller than the rest. She adopts the runt to raise as her pet. When Wilbur (the pig) grows too big to be kept at home, he moves to Zuckerman’s farm. Here Wilbur makes many new
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friends, but is especially devoted to Charlotte, the spider, who alone can save Wilbur from a pig’s traditional unpleasant fate.

One of the highlights of this story is the characters. Mainly these are animals, but each has a distinctive personality type, and everyone is presented with good and bad points. For example, Fern is devoted to Wilbur, but her parents are concerned that she only talks to animals instead of playing with other children. Templeton, the rat, is selfish and greedy, but is still a part of the community, and, although he grumbles about it, he does do his part to help out with Charlotte’s plan to save Wilbur’s life. These different personalities, and their distinctive ways of expressing themselves, make the conversations between the animals in the barn a pleasure to read.

Despite an excellent story, there is much to be learned from this text. It promotes the discussion of ethics in a context that young readers can relate to - eating. There is a deliberate connection between Wilbur’s initial repulsion at the spider’s bloodthirstiness and the equally repellent idea that the humans would want to kill and eat a pig. Even Fern’s preliminary rescue of Wilbur from her father’s axe raises the question of ‘in what circumstances is death acceptable?’

In addition, the book drops in many examples of unusual vocabulary and carefully and memorably explains their usage. Charlotte is portrayed as very, very clever, while Wilbur says he’s “just about average for a pig”. So Charlotte often has to explain the words she uses to Wilbur, which is also very convenient for the reader!

One further appealing thing about this text: it is full of food. Wilbur, being a pig, is often preoccupied with his next meal, and Fern’s family always seem to be at the table. Perhaps the most memorable of the many descriptions of food and eating in the book are those of Templeton’s fantasy and its eventual realisation at the fair. Anyway, it’s a subject most children can’t get enough of, and the author has done well to weave it throughout his work.

I would recommend this classic book to all children, ideally around the same age as Fern, who is 8. It is equally satisfying when read independently, or a traditional favourite to be read aloud by parents or teachers. If reading Charlotte’s Web aloud, make sure your audience has a chance to enjoy Garth Williams’ delightful illustrations, too!
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LibraryThing member Purr4kitty2003
Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, is a book I was sure I had read, but could not remember when, so I read it. I have seen the movie a zillion times, but the book itself is so much sweeter. Wilbur, a young pig, is beloved of Fern, the little girl who saved him and kept him as a pet. When he gets to
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big, he goes to live on the farm of Fern’s Uncle, Farmer Zuckerman. After realizing what fate has in store for him, he panics. Charlotte, a lovely spider, rescues him with a gift for writing. Charlotte’s plan to save Wilber from becoming bacon is to write words in her web, describing Wilbur’s many wonderful traits. Of course, the Farmer Zuckerman thinks it is a miracle, as does everyone who sees the phenomenon. Wilber becomes famous. The dramatic plot twist happens at the fair, where Charlotte lays her eggs, and dies. Wilber is heartbroken, but forces Templeton to collect the egg sack of his beloved friend. Charlotte saved his life, and he returns the favor. When the eggs hatch, Wilber is over the moon, but all of the young spiders stay, except three. Wilbur and the spiders live together at the farm.
This is such a precious book, and even knowing what was going to happen, I still cried. There is just something about the characters, they way they tug on the heartstrings, that makes this one of the greatest books for children ever written. The reader feels Wilbur’s fear, and falls in love with Charlotte, a wonderful character who has no other reason to help this little pig than the sweetness and giving nature of her character. The story is completely a fantasy, and yet the reader is able to suspend his disbelief and walk right into the story. Perhaps it is the setting of the farm and all of the very average situations one would see on a farm.
The plot is brilliant and original, although it has been copied by “Babe” and “Gordy”. Charlotte’s Web is the original, and still a perfectly brilliant fable, with characters with whom the reader cannot help but fall in love.
The underlying message is about friendship, and what it means to be a truly good friend. Charlotte does what she can to save Wilbur. She has no reason to do it, except for friendship, and she does it even when it is going to hurt her. Wilbur returns the favor by caring for her babies. It is a truly beautiful story about love.
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LibraryThing member ChiaraBeth
A masterpiece of children's literature. Few novels written for children stand the test of time like this one does, and I think it's largely thanks to White's simple, pure, and honest writing style. It is a story of friendship, not of a particular moment in time, and it is that friendship and its
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emotions that drive the story, rather than events. Having said that, the events that do happen are charming and full of importance, but they never interfere with what is at the heart of this story: the pure emotions of growth, whether that growth be of a pig, a spider, a little girl, or of a relationship that begins with a thread of trust and weaves into a beautiful web of affection.
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LibraryThing member sirfurboy
I read this book when I was 7 or 8, and was loving it - until the extremely sad penultimate chapter, which reduced me to tears and I was unable to complete the book. My mother had to take me through the last chapter, but to me it did not make up for the sadness!

But that does not stop me rating it 5
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stars. It was a wonderful book, beautifully written for children. It just won't leave those children entirely unmoved.

I think it was shortly after this I was allowed to have a guinea pig. My parents obviously thought I needed to learn some lessons about the circle of life!
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LibraryThing member TobysLibraryThing
Another classic in my mind. It is a story about friendship, love, and hard work. I think that every child should read this book because it is so wonderful.
LibraryThing member henara
A beloved classic that everyone enjoys.
LibraryThing member Esta1923
Not easy to "review" a book almost everyone has read/heard about! It deserves its classic status. (More recent books trying for its appeal do not come anywhere near.) That a spider and a pig can capture millions of hearts (over many years) is an endorsement. If, by chance, you have not yet read it,
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please don't delay. It is abook for all of us.
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LibraryThing member Naisy
A wonderful story that all children should read. It has it all - friendship, family, love, and the reality of passing on.
LibraryThing member SumisBooks
One of the best children's books of all time in my opinion. I grew up loving this story and now I have the great pleasure of reading it to my own children. Such an amazing and well written story that pulls on your heart strings and makes you fall in love with the characters. Even snide old
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LibraryThing member autumnreads
The last sentence always make me teary and grateful for having such a beautiful story of friendship exist. Another classic of a young girl coming to make decisions for herself and decide what is right and wrong in the world she comes to understand. Wonderful characters, strong story line and
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guaranteed to make a lasting impression and loose a tear or two.
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LibraryThing member xuesheng
Last night my daughter and I finished our joint reading of Charlotte's Web. For me, our joint trip into this book was like saying 'hello' to an old friend. I love this classic tale of friendship and love between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider. I haven't read it since I was a child, but my
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memory of the story of the two friends, the rest of the barnyard ensemble and the Zuckerman and Arable families hadn't faded. I attribute my memory of the book to an exceptional story that one cannot forget. Like Wilbur, Charlotte's Web is terrific, radiant and humble all rolled into one.
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LibraryThing member kdhayes06
Summary: This is a tale of farm life and friendship above all else. A harsh reality of animals on a farm is that they are there to be sold or worse. A pig in such a circumstance becomes friends with a spider who amazes everyone with her webs. Charlotte enlists the help of other animals and saves
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Wilber’s life and wins the fair. Wilber in return watches after Charlotte’s nest and sends her babies off on their own adventure.

Personal: I can remember crying over this story as a young child. I hate spiders yet I was heartbroken over Charlotte’s death. My father raised cattle and I can remember feeding some of the calves by hand and can still remember the first time I figured out where the meat on my dinner plate came from.

Classroom Extensions:
Literature: This is a familiar story that could be read as a class over a period of time and later tested over certain aspects of the book. Comprehension, Author, Illustrator, climax, or do a book report over.
Science: A fun way to lighten up the study of spiders. Girls might be more inclined to learn how the spider spins their webs after hearing about Charlotte and hers.
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LibraryThing member kscarlett01
This is a great book for children that teaches the importance of friendship. A pig becomes friend with a spider. When the pig becomes in danger of being slaughtered, the spider saves his life.
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
I *love* this book so much that I named my daughter after it. I doubt you need a summary or a review. I can't wait to read this to my children when they are older.
LibraryThing member TonyaJordan
In this amazing chapter book, a little girl named Fern begs her father to let her keep a runt piglet that was born on their farm. Her father agrees, but Fern must take care of him. She named him Wilbur. After a few weeks, the pig was getting to big and eating too much, so Fern's father told her
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that he must be sold. Fern called her uncle Zuckerman to ask if Wilbur could go live on his farm, and that became his new home. There on Zuckerman's farm he meets a spider names Charolette and several other friends. Charolette saves Wilbur from becoming Christmas dinner by spinning webs of words about how wonderful he is.

I love this book because it has a great stoy line and teaches life lessons. It also has a wonderful combination of fantasy and realism, which is a great way to capture children's attention. this book is a good read for young readers who are graduating to chapter books.

In the classroom I would have children create their own web word that says something positive about themself. For older children, I would have them write a paragraph about how they would try to save Wilbur's life.
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LibraryThing member eekazimer
There is a timelessness about Charlotte’s Web, that come from the well developed friendship between characters such as Charlotte, Templeton and Wilbur. Each one has a unique way of thinking and speaking that even without dialogue tags a reader could tell them apart. Even though Wilbur loses his
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best friend, Charlotte the spider, White gently helps Wilbur and young readers through this loss. In the end, is story that celebrates life. “It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with the garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure and the glory of everything.”
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
This book changed my life. I grew up on a farm which raised cattle. Pigs were thought of as a lowly sort of animal. After reading this book, I insisted on raising pigs for my 4-H animals. I found that they were intelligent, gentle and great companions. I never did become attached to spiders, but my
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grandmother's name was Charlotte and she was every bit as kind and wise as the spider in this book. Let's just say this story fired my imagination as a child and I have never forgotten it.
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LibraryThing member ellenflorman
I remember this as one of my favorite books when I was a child.It was also the first book that ever made me cry. I found it just as beautiful reading it today. I have the hardcover editions that has Garth William's beautiful illustrations enhancced with a gentle watercolor.
LibraryThing member firhetrick
Have you ever read a book called Charlotte's Web? Well it has a talking pig and a spider friend. If you want to have a talking pig and a spider then this it he right book for you. This book is only for people that like to read books and like talking animals. Recommended for grades 3 and up.
LibraryThing member soonergirlam
A pig named Wilbur befriends a spider who lives above his pen, named Charlotte. When the farmer decides that it is time for Wilbur to leave the farm, Charlotte begins using her ability to spin webs to try to help Wilbur.
Personal Reaction:
One of my favorites of all time! I love how this
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book portrays a story of such friendship and a long lasting one at that.
Classroom Extensions:
#1: I would have the children journal about their best friend and how they would feel if their bestfriend had to move.
#2: I would have them tell the story of Charlotte's web from another animal's point of view.
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LibraryThing member libraryofus
(Amy) Few people have not read Charlotte's Web, and fewer still have not watched the charming movie adaptation. It is a true classic of children's literature, and a sheer joy to read, even in excess of twenty years after first reading. As a tale of the power of friendship to overcome all obstacles,
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it is quite powerful, but the realization, inherent in the story, that no mortal friendship can be truly eternal is equally powerful, and strong indeed is the person who can read this book without feeling at least a small prickling of the eyes.
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LibraryThing member dosmus
Charlotte's Web is a great story for elementary readers. It is about Fern, who lives on a farm. Her father's pig bores a litter, which contains a runt. Her father plans to kill the runt, but she wants to keep him. She names him Wilber. He lives on her uncle's farm and everyday she goes to play with
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him. Charlotte is the spider who lives on the farm. In her web she begins to write messages to the community about the pig. This is a good story for children to read.

I read an insert of this to the students. Some said they had heard the story or watched the movie. Others who hadn't said they liked it,especially because it was about animals.

I would definitely read this to my class if I taught the upper grades.I would instruct the students to pick their favorite scheme and paint it. Then, they would share it to the class and tell the other students why they chose that scheme. I would also split the students up into groups of four and have them reenact the major schemes of the story.
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LibraryThing member tterry6901
In this story Fern saves Wilbur from being killed and he is given a second chance. Wilbur doesn't make many friends and ends up meeting Charlotte. Charlotte helps to save Wilbur's life and ended up making him popular and going to the fair. Charlotte lays her eggs and then ends up passing away and
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Wilbur watches over them and then most fly away but 3 stay and he names them.

I love this book, it is a timeless classic tale of devotion. Charlotte inspires the barn to work together and help save Wilbur.

This book can show students that friends can work together and help each other to save the life of another. A good class project would be to have them all pick a word and create their own Charlotte's Web.
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LibraryThing member aliciapeesha
I can't remember the first time I read this book but I would've only been a young child. Despite that, I still realised the magic that is Charlotte's Web. This was the book that got me excited about reading. It is stunning and beautifully written, a true masterpiece. Even now I still read it and
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shed a tear, smile with the characters and laugh. This book truly makes you feel so many different emotions, all beautiful and amazing.
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Physical description

8.1 inches


0061124958 / 9780061124952



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