In The Story of Charlotte’s Web, we get a glimpse into the life of E. B. White and also into his thought process as he was writing one of the best loved books of our childhood. The full title of the book is The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic.
E. B. White was a bit eccentric, but this helped shape the wonderful stories that he wrote for us. White is best known for his three children’s books; Stuart Little, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan.
White’s primary work was as a columnist for The New Yorker magazine. He also expanded and modernized The Elements of Style, which has had a large influence on the usage of modern English.
When not working in New York City, White and his family would retire to their farm in Maine. It is here that he spent most of his time researching for and writing Charlotte’s Web. I was impressed with the amount of research that went into the writing of the book. Not only did White write from his own experiences on his farm, but he consulted the latest reference books on spiders. He also made the books available for Garth Williams when he started to work on the illustrations for the book.
I also liked the fact that he would often leave the book alone for long periods of time. He would then have a new perspective on his work as he would make revisions to the story.
After I finished reading the biography of E. B. White, I then settled in to re-read Charlotte’s Web. I really enjoyed reading the story again, especially since I read it with a new perspective as I now knew the thought process behind the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Charlotte A. Cavatica the barn spider (Araneus cavaticus), Wilbur the pig and Templeton the rat. Of course the human element with Fern and Mr. Zuckerman was great as well, but the animals are the stars of this book. The book is also beautifully illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators. Garth William’s drawings are absolutely wonderful and add a lot to the story.
So, take some time to wander down memory lane and pick up a copy of Charlotte’s Web. You can enjoy reading it by yourself, or share the enjoyment with your family by reading it together.