by E.B. White (1952)
A Sweet Spot selection.
Read to Them is proud to offer E.B. White’s all-time classic Charlotte’s Web as a highly recommended One School, One Book selection. For years, we have tried to stay away from recommending the most classic and well-known titles – fearing that they were too well known. No longer. An entire community reading a book – from kindergarteners to 5th graders, from parents to administrators, from teachers to bus drivers – should all draw upon the very best of children’s literature. We have also discovered that older siblings love to re-read – or re-listen to – the very best books. So in that tradition, Read to Them offers Charlotte’s Web to first-time and fifth-time readers alike. Return to Farmer Zuckerman’s barn. See the world of the farmyard with Fern’s sympathy – with Templeton’s resourceful cynicism – and with Charlotte’s high-minded, noble, gentle, pride and resourcefulness. Revel not only in Charlotte’s sly effort to save Wilbur the pig. Revel, too, in the simple majesty of E.B. White’s matchless prose: “The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay and it smelled of manure. It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows. It often had a sort of peaceful smell – as though nothing bad could happen ever again in the world. It smelled of grain and harness dressing and axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope. And whenever the cat was given a fish-head to eat, the barn would smell of fish. But mostly it smelled of hay, for there was always hay in the great loft up overhead. And there was always hay being pitched down to the cows and the horses and the sheep.” Re-visit Charlotte’s Web with patience and love and remember what it is to share language and detail, sentiment and sympathy and poetry – through a children’s novel in prose. Invite another generation of children to share and learn and remember the salient significance of “Some Pig” and “Terrific” and “Radiant” and “Humble.” (They, of course, will share Charlotte’s Web with their own children – that’s how we cultivate a ‘culture of literacy.’)