Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Charlotte's Web - Simple, classic, timeless

I should tell you all that when I started this blog 3 days ago I actually had already been in the process of reading.  I have finished reading Charlotte's Web and am in the middle of reading Bridge to Terabithia if anyone is keeping up with me.  Anyways...on to my review of Charlotte's Web...

QUINTESSENTIAL CHILDREN'S my opinion at least.  If there is one book that almost every single elementary student has heard of, even my native Vietnamese students, it is Charlotte's Web.  I went into this book with large expectations since it was the first on my long list and also because of its reputation.  My goal was to try and discover why this book has become so notable and to maybe take notes and eventually write my own book with the same memorable qualities.

This is a novel of life, death, and love.  Reflecting upon this book, it makes sense why it is a classic for children and adults.  It is a perfect blend between realistic fiction and fantasy.  It has a little bit of everything - talking animals, young innocent children's characters that everyone can associate with,  and a story of survival.  At the same, the plot is relatively simple.  There is really only one problem to be solved in the story and that is to save Wilbur's life.  When you try and analyze the book as a critic or reviewer there really isn't anything negative to say.  E.B. White hit this one out of the ballpark.  Simple, classic, timeless.

In my attempt to acknowledge my goal of revealing the key to writing a fabulous book, I took a few notes on an experience I had a few days ago.  Last week, my fiance and I were in Wisconsin visiting his family.  On a Sunday evening, we were over at his sister's house playing with his nieces ages 2 and 4 and they asked if we could watch a movie together.  Surprisingly, the movie they wanted to watch was Charlotte's Web.  As I observed my future nieces watch the movie, I picked up on something new that I didn't realize while reading the book myself.  There is a HUGE motherly and nurturing aspect to the story that almost every child connects to.  I noticed this because both of my nieces were sitting in mini rocking chairs pretending to rock baby dolls to sleep while deeply engaged in the movie.  Yes, I do realize that a lot of little girls like to play like that, but the movie totally got them out of their rambunctious tomboy mood and settled them down into little nurturers.  While observing the girls, I noticed several characters in the movie that were all mothers taking care of their young.  There is the goose who lays eggs and hatches them into goslings two different times throughout the story, the mother sheep who has her baby with her, the cow who has a baby with her, Charlotte who lays her hundreds of eggs at the end of the story, and then of course Wilbur who ends up caring for the remaining three baby spiders.  Interesting, I thought at least.  Possibly something noteworthy for me to think about in my future book.  


Charlotte's Web is truly a magical tale.  I don't know any way E.B. White could have made this any better.  What do you think?  Any changes that could have made this book even more fantastic than it already is?

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