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Friday, December 11, 2015

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White | Book Review

I was surprised by how well written this book was. I shouldn't be as White is the other half of the famous writing book The Elements of Style, but it still struck me just how good the writing is in this book. The prose was clear and perfectly organized. The story moves well and has a great flow, and you could say there are many pieces of poetry sprinkled in because of how beautiful the writing is at times. Look for example at this beautiful line of Charlotte speaking to Wilber at the fair the night before he may become a prize pig:

When the first light comes into the sky and the sparrow stirs and the cows rattle their chains, when the rooster crows and the stars fade, when early cars whisper along the highway, you look up here and I'll show you something.

It's descriptive and wonderful. I knew and loved this story from watching the animated movie dozens of times as a kid but had never read the book. I started reading it because I wanted a good book to read to my young kids. They love this book, especially my oldest who is 7. He never wants me to stop and will sit and listen for long periods of time. If you're reading this book it's really fun to do different voices for the different characters and animals. Like the rat Templeton, or the crazy goose who repeats syllables all the time. It's a very fun book to read to your kids that will last many reading sessions as it's a nice lengthy chapter book for kids.

For a children's story this book does a tremendous job of touching on some big themes and subjects. The main one of course is death. Wilbur is a pig and all spring pigs become bacon and sausage. This story happens because the spider Charlotte attempts to save Wilber's life. 

The characters in this story are richly rendered. From Fern's rambunctious brother Avery always stirring up trouble and toting around some poor frog to the loving kind Fern who saves the pig Wilbur's life in the first chapter.

Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly.

I don't want to put spoilers into this review but lets just say for such a fun delightful little book where animals talk this story tackles death in a beautiful way and the subject comes up again and again and not just for the pig character Wilbur. This was a gorgeous story beautifully written and I'm very glad I read it and am reading it to my kids. I haven't finished reading it to them yet but I wanted to finish it before the year was over because I'm trying to see how many books I can read this year. This little book easily stands as one of the best books I read this year. Though this slim volume was written for kids, it touched my heart and even brought tears to my eyes twice. It truly is a treasure and a masterpiece.

Have you read this classic? What do you think? Thanks for stopping by!

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