by E. B. White
Charlotte's Web Introduction
In A Nutshell
Shmoopers, we've been thinking about pigs. Why? Because pigs are cute and pink, especially when they're fictional. So we've put together a little list of our favorite imaginary pigs. And who do you think tops the list? Yep, it's Wilbur from Charlotte's Web.
Oh, you want to see our list?
See what we mean? Pigs are pretty stinkin' great, especially when they can talk. And Wilbur is one of the best little piggies out there. That little guy has stolen our hearts.
When E. B. White published Charlotte's Web in 1952, he cast Wilbur the pig as the story's star. And his co-star is none other than a sweet spider named—can you guess it?—Charlotte.
Together, Charlotte and Wilbur embark on a special mission. If you're thinking that a talking pig and a pretty spider have an easy life on a farm, then you'd be wrong, dear friends. True, they do live on a farm. And they do have some fun times together.
But there's also a darker side to this tale. Pretty soon, Wilbur finds out that he's a dead pig walking. His owners have a sad fate planned for him: they're going to kill him and turn him into bacon. Oink! Now that's serious stuff. So Wilbur, Charlotte, and our gal's trusty web set about trying to save Wilbur's life.
Along the way, they have some zany adventures and make some new buds. All this adds up to a seriously enjoyable tale. Itching for just a few more tidbits about what makes this book so much fun? Well here you go:
• There's a cute pig, in case we haven't mentioned that.
• We meet a smarmy rat who is basically evil personified.
• There's a trip to the county fair. Complete with cotton candy.
• At one point, the pig wears a bib and rides around in a stroller. Yeah, totally adorable.
• There are spider babies. Lots and lots of spider babies.
• We meet a sweet girl named Fern and she fights with her dad about an ax. Crazy stuff.
• There are awesome illustrations by Garth Williams.
• And did we mention there's a pig?
Ever since White published Charlotte's Web, it's been a classic tale for the young at heart. We haven't met anyone who doesn't enjoy curling up in bed to spend some time with Charlotte, Wilbur, and their gang of chums. But don't just take our word for it. White won a Newbery Honor for Charlotte's Web. This book is the real deal.
And now there are two movies for you to dive into when you're done reading. We wholeheartedly recommend the 1973 film version of Charlotte's Web. And here's why: it's animated, and it's a musical. It's also super cheesy, but it'll definitely give you some pep in your step. (There's also a 2006 movie with Dakota Fanning as Fern if you're in the mood for a contemporary flick.)
Either way, here's the point: if you haven't read Charlotte's Web yet, drop everything and do it right now. You'll be happy to have a new favorite pig.
Why Should I Care?
Have you ever been in a tough spot and needed a friend? Or maybe you've had a rough day and called up your best bud? We've all been there. And when you're in a pinch, it's good to have a chum you can call on, the type of friend who will lend you a helping hand.
For Wilbur, that pal is Charlotte. We're not exaggerating one bit when we say that this spider is as loyal as can be.
You see, Wilbur finds himself in a bit of a rough patch. He faces a life-or-death situation and just can't go it alone. So it's a good thing he has such a loyal friend by his side. Charlotte is so devoted to Wilbur that nothing—and we mean nothing—can dampen her dependability. Charlotte is willing to sacrifice her life to help out her best bud. And over time, Wilbur learns what it's like not just to have a faithful friend, but to be one, too.
So if you're in the market for a touching tale about two devoted pals, then Charlotte's Web is here to deliver. E. B. White has us remembering that a loyal friend is hard to find. So when you've got one, you better hang on tight.