Charlotte’s Web is a children’s novel written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams. It was first published back in the 1956 and since then has been a favourite for many kids and adults.
The book tells a tale about a little piglet named Wilbur, who befriends a spider that lives in the same barn. As Wilbur grows up, he learns more and more about the creatures and world around him and soon he discovers what happens to pigs during Christmas time. Before Wilbur can fall into depression, Charlotte, the spider, promises the piglet that she will save his life.
This review will contain major spoilers, please read at your own discretion.
Charlotte’s Web offers a wide variety of characters both human and animal, but somehow it doesn’t seem like you could like or dislike one character more than other. To be honest, the animal characters seemed to be made well, they had their flaws and problems as well as main characteristics, which helped to imagine and predict their actions and reactions.
Probably Charlotte as the wisest and the most logical character would be on the top of my list, but Templeton would follow closely. I actually liked the rat really a lot until the end, where he needed to quickly get Charlotte’s web with eggs and he started to act like a jerk. That seemed like one of the rare things that was out of character, because although he had rat’s character, he wasn’t dumb… But saying that everyone is ordering him around and he is not getting anything in return seems very stupid of him. I liked Wilbur, but I think he was a tiny bit too emotional for me to really connect to and love him.
I felt like the book touched a subject that in modern days is very popular, which is saving animals and vegetarianism. Unfortunately (and to my huge disappointment) it didn’t seem like Fern – the girl who saved Wilbur in the first place, would have gone through with raising the piglet. It was described, how she was sitting next to piglets pen and how she heard and understood the animal’s talking, but she never interrupted, she never tried to make sure that Wilbur wouldn’t get killed for Christmas. That was so disappointing, because if a kid cares so much about an animal, I think that would be something the child would speak up about. I was also disappointed about Fern going after boys and forgetting about her piglet. Sure falling in love is something that happens in real life, but it is not the only thing that happens in life, especially if you are not even in your teens.
I liked the book very much and I have to say that the ending ruined it a bit (with Fern running off and the rat refusing help), without that, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.
No need to hide that I almost started to cry when Charlotte was dying and actually died. It was so sad and heartbreaking… But once again it was also amazing how the book taught to deal with death and continue living, it seemed like a good lesson.
As I said before, I would have liked if the reasons for killing Wilbur would have been tackled a bit more, because although it is not said outright, it does seem a bit silly that there’s a chance that Fern had some bacon for breakfast and then went on to watch Wilbur in his pen. All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?
But I also understand that it is indeed a tale about a barn, written in times when such controversy about eating animal products was not in the air yet.
Illustrations for the book were also very cute and lovely, which made me like the book even more. I would definitely suggest parents to read this for their kids and talk about all the animals (how they look, how they live, what sounds they make etc.), because I think that this was a lovely little book and that’s why it received four stars from me on my goodreads page.