Oct 18, 2007

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

As most of you must know, Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a young girl named Fern, of a pig named Wilbur and of a spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is born, he is the runt of the litter, so Fern’s father plans to kill him right away. Fern protests that this is extremely unfair, and her father ends up giving in. She raises the little pig with a bottle, and becomes very much attached to him. When is no longer a baby, he is sold to Fern’s uncle, but she still visits him in the barn where he is living very often. There, the other animals warn Wilbur that he is only being raised to be killed around Christmastime. However, Wilbur befriends a very clever spider named Charlotte, and she comes up with a plan to save his life.

I had never read this book before, even though it is a classic of children’s literature. I do have, however, extremely vague but fond memories of seeing an animated version of this story when I was a child. Revisiting it now, I found it a very sweet and charming story, and I can only imagine how delightful it must be for a child to be read this before bedtime.

One of the things I did remember (or perhaps I just read about it somewhere) was the sad thing that happens at the end. But I loved how the very last chapter was bittersweet in a kind of way that I really, really like – yes, sad things happen and life is full of grief and loss, but for every moment of pain there is another one that makes us glad to be alive. What is lost can often never be recovered, but as we live on, new things will be found. I realize that this is extremely vague, but I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who happens not to know it.

I know there was a recent movie version of this story, and I was wondering if anyone has seen it, and whether it is worth renting next time I go to the video store or not.

Other Blog Reviews:
Nothing of Importance
Becky's Book Reviews
Dog Ear Diary
Desert Rose Booklogue

13 comments:

Debi said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I just finished reading it to my boys, who loved it as much as I always did. I'll have to check back to see what anyone has to say about the recent movie version...I was thinking about renting it to watch with the boys as well.

By the way, I loved what you had to say about the end of the book!

Petunia said...

The newer movie has a lot of corniness and modern grossness along with the tender moments but it wasn't nearly as good as the original cartoon version was, though Charlotte and Templeton were right on character.

Robin said...

I love the book, and enjoyed the older animated film, but I really didn't like the new movie. The special effects were really high tech, but the movie just didn't measure up.

Darla D said...

I guess I'm in the minority about the movie. We took our kids when it came out in the theaters, and they enjoyed it so much that I couldn't help but enjoy it, too! My memories of the book are vague - it's been a good twenty years since I last read it, but I have very warm fuzzy feelings about it, even with the sad part, and I'm a notorious book wimp when it comes to things like that (I wouldn't read Because of Winn-Dixie till I peeked at the ending to make sure she was a dog I could get attached to!).

DesLily said...

I didn't see the movie..but I will one day because I adore Dakota Fanning..

valentina said...

This is one of my favourite books ever, since I read it early this year, when I heard the film was coming out. I went to see it with a lot of expectations, so I guess it didn't help. There were some lovely scenes, wilbur is soooooooo cute. But mostly I dind't enjoy it as much as the book.

Nymeth said...

Debi: I really loved the ending. And, like you, I teared up a bit.

Petunia: That's actually a really good idea - I should track down the old cartoon version! I remember LOVING it as a kid. I'd really like to see it again.

Robin: That is too bad. And unfortunately it happens more often than more in book to movie adaptations.

Darla: I guess an adaptation of a beloved story will always divide opinions. Maybe I should wait a while and watch it when my memories of the book aren't so much. I'm much more likely to be picky not that I've just finished reading it.

Deslily: I don't think I've ever seen any movies with her, but I heard that she is voicing Coraline in the upcoming animated movie.

Valentina: That is almost always the case, isn't it? Movies can almost never beat books.

Dewey said...

I really loved this book as a kid, in spite of an extreme spider phobia. Strange, huh?

jean pierre said...

i'm glad you enjoyed it!

i still haven't quite gotten around to it... my mom really wants me to read it, but i'm so afraid for the piggy...!! :(

Dewey said...

Hi Nymeth! I'm still awake!

kim said...

I've got very fond childhood memories of this book (especially with the cover you posted) as it was the first one I read aloud to my younger sister.

If you haven't read The Trumpet of the Swan, it's equally as good.

Nymeth said...

Dewey: I'm a bit of an arachnophobe myself, and yet I had no problems with Charlotte. I guess she is just so friendly one can't help but like her.

Jean Pierre: Read it! It's worth it, I promise.

Dewey again: lol! Seriously, kudos to you and Debi and Eva and everyone else who managed to stay up for the whole readathon!

Kim: I haven't no, but I will look for it. Thanks for the suggestion!

Rhinoa said...

I used to love this story when I was young and then ending made me cry every time :(