Charlotte’s Web (Colour Edn)

E. B. White

Charlotte's Web (Colour Edn)
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Charlotte’s Web (Colour Edn)

E. B. White

The classic, much-loved story by E. B. White, beautifully illustrated by Garth Williams, is reissued in large format paperback in full colour. This is an ideal book to read aloud and share with all the family.

One spring morning a little girl called Fern rescues a runt and names him Wilbur. But then Wilbur is sent to live on a farm where he meets Charlotte, a very clever and very beautiful large grey spider. They become best friends and, when Wilbur is faced with a dreadful fate - the butcher’s chop! - Charlotte must find a very clever way to save him.

E. B. White was born in New York in 1899 and died in 1985. He kept animals on his farm in Maine and some of these creatures crept into his books, such as Stuart Little which was made into a blockbusting film. He received many awards including the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1970, an award given every five years to authors who have ‘made a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children’.

Review

I was probably eight when I was first captured by Charlotte’s Web. Our teacher read a few chapters aloud every afternoon and each day we longed for more, our excitement growing as story time neared. As each new character entered our lives – for this was no longer just a story – we were introduced to the world; humanity with all its beauty and its foibles.

We were transported to a small farm where a little girl named Fern hand-reared the runt pig Wilbur; we watched him grow, make friends, discover Charlotte the spider, love and loss, and live his life to the fullest. I’ve read this wonderful adventure at least once a year ever since. Half a century later, I still weep for Charlotte, rejoice in the friendship, kindness and love, wonder over the mystery and the beauty in our world. And every time I feel whole again. The writing is beautiful, the sentiments profound.

This story is E.B. White’s love letter to humanity, so let this meagre offering be my love letter to E.B. White. From the bottom of my heart I believe there isn’t a reader (child or adult) who won’t be a better person for reading Charlotte’s Web. What are you waiting for?


Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.

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