Tuesday, December 22, 2015

E B White - Charlotte's Web

 +HarperCollins Publishers
+HarperCollins Children's

Decades ago, an American girl I was pen-friends with, sent me some books as a gift.  I still remember the three books I received.  There was Sydney Taylor's All of a kind family, a story about a Jewish family of young girls.   Then there was Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh.  Third book was Charlotte's Web by E.B.White.

Readers of young adult fiction will agree that these three are classics that every young adult MUST read.

On a whim, I searched for the e-book version of Charlotte's Web, and was lucky to find it right away.  Being an e-book version, I missed out on the lovely illustrations that my original book had.  Even so, the charming story cast its spell on me all over again.

Fern Arable wakes up one morning to find her father going off with an axe to kill the runt of his pig's litter. Fern is alarmed and runs after her father to save the weak little piglet.  She wows to care for him, and she does.  She feeds him warm milk from a bottle and carries him around.

Wilbur, the runt, survives and thrives.  Mr. Arable makes Fern sell the pig to his neighbors, the Zuckermans as he finds it hard to provide for the pig.  Fern takes to visiting Wilbur in his new home every day and gets sucked into the wonderful world of animals.

Mr. Homer Zuckerman has sheep, geese, cows and horses on his farms.  To her delight, Fern finds herself able to understand what the animals say to each other.  Wilbur makes friends with a spider called Charlotte. They are all happy together and Wilbur finds himself growing big and fat.

Just then, the sheep tells him that a Spring Pig (born in the Spring), like Wilbur, will be food for the Christmas table.  Wilbur is devastated at the news, he loves his life and does not want it to end.

Charlotte promises to help Wilbur.  She must do something to make humans feel that Wilbur is special and not any run-of-the-mill Pig who can be butchered for a Christmas feast.

The story is charming and beautifully written.  It deserves its status as a children's classic.  The reader will be sucked into the wonderful world of animals and how they all pull together to save Wilbur from a certain death.


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