Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Charlotte’s Web

Sixty years ago today, E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web was published. It quickly became a children’s favorite. Four years later, in a third grade class in Minneapolis, my teacher, Mrs.. Graham, started to read Charlotte’s Web to our class. At the end of the day, she read a chapter until she finished the book.  All forty (no small class sizes in those days) of us looked forward to the next chapter in Charlotte and Wilbur’s saga. We cried when Charlotte died. In the spring, Mrs.. Graham told us that since we were the best class she had ever taught, she would reward us by reading Charlotte’s Web to us again. Decades later, I had a chance to talk to her and found out that all her classes were the “best” and all her classes got two readings of E. B. White’s classic.

Charlotte's web

I read this book to my children a couple of decades later. They loved it too. In 1970,  E. B. White,  recorded an audio book. It took 17 takes for the author to read the passage about Charlotte’s death with out crying. This is a book that is as fresh today as it was in 1952. It is a story of love and friendship, life and death.

Today on NPR Morning Edition, there was a tribute to the book which includes a clip of E. B. White  reading Charlotte’s Web.

The Yulupa Library has two copies of this book and the Sonoma County Library has many copies. The county library also has Charlotte’s Web picture books.

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