Jan 19, 2008

Charlotte's Web

by E.B. White

I haven't read Charlotte's Web in years, but I feel that I know it very well. It's a classic children's story about a pig who is befriended by a spider. Wilbur the pig was the runt of the litter and due for death but the farmer's eight-year-old daughter Fern rescued him. She raised him as a pet. When he got too big, he went to live on her uncle's farm. There Wilbur soon learned that his life wasn't secure after all; he was being fattened up for Christmas dinner. But Charlotte the spider came up with a plan to save his life... by creating what some considered a miracle. Charlotte's Web is a wonderful little story. The spider is calm and wise, and shows off an advanced vocabulary. The pig is charming, sweet and prone to emotional hysterics. There's a large cast of other animal characters, and the little girl Fern, whose mother worries about her because she claims the animals talk. This was one of my favorite books as a child, and I still like to go back and read it now and again.

I thought of it today because of a dream I had last night. In part of the dream, my apartment was covered with spiders and spiderwebs. I snipped the threads to collapse the webs, but couldn't bring myself to touch the round sticky egg-sacs. I said to myself in the dream: "Wilbur should have crushed the egg-sac on his tongue. Then the world wouldn't be peopled by spiders. I wonder what it would have tasted like? Ticklish, maybe..." What a strange thing to think of a lovely book!

Rating: 4/5                  184 pages, 1952

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