Sunday, October 15, 1972

E.B. White Charlotte’s Web: Published 20 Years Ago Today

Last updated 7/5/2020.

Charlotte’s Web

E.B. White

First Publication: October 15, 1952

Category: children’s literature

Sales: 50 million

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

About the Book:

In 2000, Publishers Weekly listed Charlotte’s Web “as the best-selling children’s paperback of all time.” WK “One reason may be that, although it was written for children, reading it is just as enjoyable for adults.” LC The story is “just about perfect,” AZ “a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.” AZ

The story focuses the friendship between Wilbur, a pig, and Charlotte, “a clever and compassionate spider.” LC “When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur (such as ‘Some Pig’) in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.” WK The story “is especially notable for the way it treats death as a natural and inevitable part of life in a way that is palatable for young people.” LC

Readers will also be entranced with “Fern, the little girl who understood their language,” BN and “saved Wilbur’s life when he was born the runt of his litter.” AZ “Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him,” BN is also instrumental in Charlotte’s plan to save Wilbur.

The book also “contains illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E. B. White’s Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series.” AZ “The forty-seven black-and-white drawings…have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work [and are] incomparably matched to E.B. White’s marvelous story.” BN

The book was made into an animated feature in 1973 and a live action film in 2006.

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