Kid Appeal: 5 stars Parent Appeal: 5 stars Awards: Newbery Honor 1953, Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (won by author E.B. White)
(reviewed January 2009) Lala (age 3) and I have been reading this as part of her reading lesson while the other children "do school." I adore this book. I think it is one of my top picks of all time.
Charlotte's Web is a story of friendship, of loving others despite of (or because of) their differences. It is a story of acceptance, of service, of love. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about personal mission, and it struck me that although Charlotte will be remembered for her webs that saved Wilbur, she described her egg sac--and her children--as her magnum opus.
I've been collecting quotes from books that stand out to me, and this book is full of wonderful little bits of wisdom. Sallie was quite concerned when I would write in her book (This isn't a 'write in it' book, Mother."), but then I would re- read the little bit I wrote and say, "Isn't that lovely? I just want to underline it, so that I can find it and read it over and over."
Here are some of the best "bits of wisdom":
"No!" said the goose, "it's the old pail trick, Wilbur. Don't fall for it! He's trying to lure you back into captivity. He's appealing to your stomach!"
The quickest way to spoil a friendship is to wake somebody in the morning before he is ready.
I've got a new friend . . . but what a gamble friendship is!
[Mothers for miles worried about Zuckerman's swing:]--Children almost always hold onto things tighter than their parents think they will.
"If I can fool a bug," thought Charlotte, "I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs."
All these sounds made him feel comfortable and happy, for he loved life and loved to be part of the world on a summer evening.
Slowly! Slowly! Never hurry and never worry!
It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.
After all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.
"You would live longer,: said the old sheep, "if you ate less."
"Who wants to live forever?" sneered the rat. "I am naturally a heavy eater and I get untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast."
Fun memory: (page 159)
When Zuckerman explained his fainting pig "He's modest and can't stand praise" My Lala said, "Wilbur's MODEST! Isn't that wonderful, Mother?" (Yes, I know she is three, but she really talks that way.) I agreed that it is wonderful whenever someone chooses to be modest.