Charlotte’s Web

Author:  E.B. White
Illustrator:  Garth Williams


Why I love Charlotte’s Web.

Although most of my first graders were unable to read this book for themselves, it remained a classroom favorite every year. Why? Because gathering everyone around me on the carpet and reading aloud to them, allowing them to listen to one of the best written children’s books for mental imagery, was simply priceless. Long after they left my reading rug, I wanted them to remember Wilbur and Charlotte when they heard the words “terrific” and “radiant.”

“Please send in a plain white t-shirt with your child by Monday.” And the fun began! The kids were given fabric crayons and told to design a farm yard, but not to put in any animals.  They colored on paper which adults transferred (by ironing) onto their t-shirts.  We then gave the kids a small pig sponge, which they gleefully dipped into pink paint and pressed onto the farm  yard picture. Of course, a “rolly eye” had to be added for effect.  Once that dried, we used black puff paint to insert a corner web and Charlotte into a top corner. The result was a classroom of squealing, delighted Charlotte’s Web enthusiasts!

What added to the joy was when middle and upper school students would see these little ones in their t-shirts and begin exclaiming, “Oh, remember when we did  that?! I still have my shirt!” So, if any of you students out there would like to send us a picture of your shirt, we will post it and share your memory. As the last page of the book says, “Wilbur never forgot Charlotte.” And never will we . . .

Mary Byrne Kline

The Review

An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads “Some Pig,” convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.       Booklist


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