Review: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

24178Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Published by:
Children, Classics, Fiction
Rating: 3
Date Read: 
Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Some Pig. These are the words in Charlotte’s web, high in the barn. Her spider web tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, as well as the feelings of a little girl named Fern … who loves Wilbur, too.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White is a classic piece of children’s literature I’ve only recently revisited. Wilbur is the runt of the litter and about to be put down – but Fern, the farmer’s daughter, saves him from the axe and raises him herself. After he begins to grow, she has to give up Wilbur to her uncle to look after and at the uncle’s farm Wilbur meets Charlotte, an intelligent and worldly spider, who takes it upon herself to save Wilbur.

I had several issues with the protagonist, Wilbur. He couldn’t do anything without the help or direction of others. Wilbur is too demanding of Charlotte, who already works too hard for him.

Putting aside Wilbur’s annoying neediness and whining, there is almost no story here. Charlotte spins the words “Some Pig” onto her web above Wilbur’s pen, the farmer sees it and decides not to kill Wilbur, believing it to be a special sign, and the pig becomes a local celebrity. Over the weeks, Charlotte spins a few different words into her web.

Charlotte is the most interesting character and has some interesting cousins. She is a mother-like figure. Wise, caring, and usually unappreciated. I found Charlotte to be very likeable. All the other characters aren’t.

I loved the old cartoon movie when I was a kid and I feel like I should love the book too, but I don’t. It reads very much like a children’s book, but also uses language that most kids wouldn’t understand, or come close to pronouncing correctly. This book drags on for 180 pages with words in a web as the only thing happening.

I can appreciate that it deals with worthwhile themes of friendship and death fairly well, and White tries to make us appreciate the wonders around us that we take for granted.

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