Genre: Children’s Fiction (Middle Grade)
Recommend to Others?: Maybe
Favorite Quote: “Wilbur didn’t want food, he wanted love. He wanted a friend – someone who would play with him.”
A little girl named Fern stops her father from killing one of the newborn pigs whom she names Wilbur. But his life is still at stake. As he continues to grow, his relationship with Fern begins to wane and he finds himself in the company of an unexpected and new friend. Charlotte, a spider, says she’ll try to save Wilbur.
Before reading this, I had only seen the 1973 movie version of Charlotte’s Web. It was a long time ago so I didn’t really remember much about the story except Wilbur, Charlotte, and that the spider wrote words on her web that made Wilbur famous.
I was really surprised by what happened in the book – and incredibly moved by certain parts. Charlotte was surprisingly sassy, more so than I would have expected in a middle grade novel. I had mixed feelings about Wilbur – of course, you hope beyond hope that Charlotte manages to save him but I wish he didn’t whine so much (it’s understandable because he’s young but there was too much too often of it for me). I don’t remember much human activity in the movie so I was surprised by how involved humans were in the story.
Charlotte’s Web is painstakingly detailed, giving a play-by-play of sorts of actions and how scenery looks. I guess because I’m reading this as an adult that I found some of this detracted from my enjoyment of the story, but I can understand why it’s all necessary for a middle grade novel.
E.B. White crafts a well-rounded tale that I think – while only slightly entertaining – will keep readers enraptured from start to finish. Curiosity and suspense go hand-in-hand when reading this novel and readers will be eager to see how things resolve.
Overall, it was an okay book, just probably not for me.