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Charlotte's Web (50th Anniversary Retrospective)

Charlotte's Web (50th Anniversary Retrospective)

4.5 251
by E. B. White

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Beloved by generations, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little are two of the most cherished stories of all time. Now, for the first time ever, these treasured classics are available in lavish new collectors' editions. In addition to a larger trim size, the original black-and-white art by Garth Williams has been lovingly colorized by renowned illustrator


Beloved by generations, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little are two of the most cherished stories of all time. Now, for the first time ever, these treasured classics are available in lavish new collectors' editions. In addition to a larger trim size, the original black-and-white art by Garth Williams has been lovingly colorized by renowned illustrator Rosemary Wells, adding another dimension to these two perfect books for young and old alike.

Whether you are returning once again to visit with Wilbur, Charlotte, and Stuart, or giving the gift of these treasured stories to a child, these spruced-up editions are sure to delight fans new and old. The interior design has been slightly moderated to give the books a fresh look without changing the original, familiar, and beloved format. Garth Williams's original black-and-white line drawings for the jacket of Stuart Little have also been newly colorized by the celebrated illustrator Rosemary Wells. These classics return with a new look, but with the same heartwarming tales that have captured readers for generations.

Editorial Reviews

Riverbank Review
E.B. White's fine reading provides new interest in a sublime story of life and death and friendship.
Karen Lowther
Some pig! These words that Charlotte spins into her web to describe Wilbur cause plenty of excitement, and ultimately, help save his life. First published in 1952, this heartwarming classic about likable pig and his loyal spider friend shows readers that true friendships last forever. This Newbery Honor book portrays the relationship of these two extraordinary creatures. It also depicts life and death, the passage of time, and the wonders of nature with sensitivity and humor.
Mailbox Bookbag Magazine
Publishers Weekly
E.B. White's enduring classic celebrates in style with the release of the Charlotte's Web 5oth Anniversary Retrospective Edition. The handsome volume sports a clothbound cover framing original jacket art; inside, Rosemary Wells adds country color to Garth Williams's original b&w illustrations. An afterword by Peter F. Neumeyer illuminates White's life and work, including photographs of the author on his farm in Maine as well as pages from the seminal manuscript. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Wilbur the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner, Then his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. It is a wonderful story filled with humor and examples of what it really means to be a friend. The book will not dissapoint, even if kids have seen the movie version. 1953 Newbery Honor Book.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
50th Anniversary Retrospective
Product dimensions:
7.68(w) x 10.26(h) x 1.01(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Before Breakfast

"Where's Papa going with that ax?" said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.

"Out to the hoghouse," replied Mrs. Arable. "Some pigs were born last night."

"I don't see why he needs an ax," continued Fern, who was only eight.

"Well," said her mother, "one of the pigs is a runt. It's very small and weak, and it will never amount to anything. So your father has decided to do away with it."

"Do away with it?" shrieked Fern. "You mean kill it? Just because it's smaller than the others?"

Mrs. Arable put a pitcher of cream on the table. "Don't yell, Fern!" she said. "Your father is right. The pig would probably die anyway."

Fern pushed a chair out of the way and ran outdoors. The grass was wet and the earth smelled of springtime. Fern's sneakers were sopping by the time she caught up with her father.

"Please don't kill it!" she sobbed. "It's unfair."

Mr. Arable stopped walking.

"Fern," he said gently, "you will have to learn to control yourself."

"Control myself?" yelled Fern. "This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself." Tears ran down her cheeks and she took hold of the ax and tried to pull it out of her father's hand.

"Fern," said Mr. Arable, "I know more about raising a litter of pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble. Now run along!"

"But it's unfair," cried Fern. "The pig couldn't help being born small, could it? If I had been very small at birth, would you have killed me?"

Mr. Arable smiled. "Certainly not," he said, looking down at his daughter with love. "But this is different. A little girl is one thing, a little runty pig is another."

"I see nodifference," replied Fern, still hanging on to the ax. "This is the most terrible case of injustice I ever heard of."

A queer look came over John Arable's face. He seemed almost ready to cry himself.

"All right," he said. "You go back to the house and I will bring the runt when I come in. I'll let you start it on a bottle, like a baby. Then you'll see what trouble a pig can be."

When Mr. Arable returned to the house half an hour later, he carried a carton under his arm. Fern was upstairs changing her sneakers. The kitchen table was set for breakfast, and the room smelled of coffee, bacon, damp plaster, and wood smoke from the stove.

"Put it on her chair!" said Mrs. Arable. Mr. Arable set the carton down at Fern's place. Then he walked to the sink and washed his hands and dried them on the roller towel.

Fern came slowly down the stairs. Her eyes were red from crying. As she approached her chair, the carton wobbled, and there was a scratching noise. Fern looked at her father. Then she lifted the lid of the carton. There, inside, looking up at her, was the newborn pig. It was a white one. The morning light shone through its ears, turning them pink.

"He's yours," said Mr. Arable. "Saved from an untimely death. And may the good Lord forgive me for this foolishness."

Fern couldn't take her eyes off the tiny pig. "Oh," she whispered. "Oh, look at him! He's absolutely perfect."

She closed the carton carefully. First she kissed her father, then she kissed her mother. Then she opened the lid again, lifted the pig out, and held it against her cheek. At this moment her brother Avery came into the room. Avery was ten. He was heavily armed-an air rifle in one hand, a wooden dagger in the other.

"What's that?" he demanded. "What's Fern got?"

"She's got a guest for breakfast," said Mrs. Arable. "Wash your hands and face, Avery!"

"Let's see it!" said Avery, setting his gun down.

"You call that miserable thing a pig? That's a fine specimen of a pig-it's no bigger than a white rat."

"Wash up and eat your breakfast, Avery!" said his mother. "The school bus will be along in half an hour."

"Can I have a pig, too, Pop?" asked Avery.

"No, I only distribute pigs to early risers," said Mr. Arable. "Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one, to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly. Let's eat!"

But Fern couldn't eat until her pig had had a drink of milk. Mrs. Arable found a baby's nursing bottle and a rubber nipple. She poured warm milk into the bottle, fitted the nipple over the top, and handed it to Fern. "Give him his breakfast!" she said.

A minute later, Fern was seated on the floor in the corner of the kitchen with her infant between her knees, teaching it to suck from the bottle. The pig, although tiny, had a good appetite and caught on quickly.

The school bus honked from the road.

"Run!" commanded Mrs. Arable, taking the pig from Fern and slipping a doughnut into her hand. Avery grabbed his gun and another doughnut.

The children ran out to the road and climbed into the bus. Fern took no notice of the others in the bus. She just sat and stared out of the window, thinking what a blissful world it was and how lucky she was to have entire charge of a pig. By the time the bus reached school, Fern had named her pet, selecting the most beautiful name she could think of.

"Its name is Wilbur," she whispered to herself.

She was still thinking about the pig when the teacher said: "Fern, what is the capital of Pennsylvania?"

"Wilbur," replied Fern, dreamily. The pupils giggled. Fern blushed.

Meet the Author

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
July 11, 1899
Date of Death:
October 1, 1985
Place of Birth:
Mount Vernon, New York
Place of Death:
North Brooklin, Maine
B.A., Cornell University, 1921

Customer Reviews

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Charlotte's Web (Playaway Ready-to-Go Audio Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 251 reviews.
AnastasiaSS More than 1 year ago
Charlotte's Web is an amazing book. When I was younger, I never wanted to read it. I have watched the movie and loved it. Now I am homeschooling my daughter and this book popped up for a novel requirement. She was against it at first. But from the very first moment of us reading it together--we were both hooked. I woudl limit it to 2 chapters per day. And after reading those 2 chapters--we both wanted to read more. It was a very hard book to put down. We both loved every minute of it. And i enjoyed reading this book (at the age of 35)--more because I read it with my daughter. We laughed together, we cried together. Imagine me, a 35 year old mother cryong when Charlotte died. This book is truly a wonderful peiece of literature that everyone should read. A true classic. However--now my daughter is begging me for a baby pig. Someday--she will read this to her children and they will hopefully beg her for one also.
JuneBug1983 More than 1 year ago
This book is great for the young reader to explore the land of imagination. The characters wil come alive and he or she will be captivated for hours. The story is set on a farm. A farmer's pig has a lot of newborns and one is a runt. His daughter Dorothy falls in love iwth the runt, named Wilbur, at first sight. He is treated as a human being by her. When he is too large to remain with Dorothy, he is given to Dorothy's uncle Mr. Zuckerman. After some time Uncle Zuckerman decides to fatten and kill Wilbur. With the aid of a spider named Charlotte and a rat named Tippleton, Wilbur's life is spared until the day he passes away on his own. The main characters in the book that will grab and retain a reader's attention is Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Tippleton the rat. Charlotte is a carefree, kind, loving, and a true friend. She spells out adjectives to describe Wilbur throughout the story to save his life from being ended by Zuckerman. She instructs Wilbur on how to conduct himself when Zuckerman and other humans are watching him. Wilbur is a pig that learns to talk and is searching for a friend to replace Dorothy. He meets Charlotte and instantly falls in love with her. His life is spared and in return for Charlotte's help in saving his life, he watches over and cares for her three daughters that remain on the farm. The rat Tippleton exemplifies the true meaning of the word rat. He steals whatever he can get his hands on and lies to get himself out of trouble. He cares only for himself at the beginning of the book but gradually over time has a change of heart. This is largely due to the reality that is Wilbur is killed, then he will not be fed anymore. This prompts him to help Charlotte save Wilbur's life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as a child and read it many times - I can't wait to give it to my grandson and read it with him!
DavidL More than 1 year ago
Charlotte's Web is a wonderufl tale of a young girl, her precious pig Wilbur, and a wonderful spider. The book is a beautiful story of friendship, love, and loyalty. It is a tender story of a lovely young girl and a very smart spider who together instill self esteem and dignity in their friend Wilbur. It truly is a book of life, in that all of the animal characters mirror people in this world who face the challenge of living their lives each day. It reminds me very much of a great series of children's books titled "Why some cats are rascals". In that three-book series the heroic cats also live their lives like humans. Both titles belong to my Top Ten Read-Aloud list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I read the book Charlotte’s Web by:E.B. White i really liked the book. This book would be a fiction novel . My favorite part was when Charlotte wrote the words in the web. The book is mostly about friendship, life, death, and trust. i would recommend this book to parents and teachers of young children. Charlotte’s web has won a newberry honor award. This a fictional story about a pig a spider and a little girl name Fern. Fern wakes up and sees her papa going outside to the pig house she asked her mom what he was doing and she said some pigs were born last night. There is a spider at her uncles barn and her name is Charlotte. Wilbur the pig and Charlotte become best friends. There is some unexpected things that happen to Wilbur. The Zuckerman’s And Arable’s load up to go to the state fair and enter Wilbur in the pig contest. Fern meets this boy named Henry the go on the farisweel together. The setting for Charlotte’s Web is at the fair and at Fern’s Uncle’s farm. the main character’s are Wilbur, Fern, Henry, Avery, Mr.Arable, Mrs.Arable, Mrs.Zuckerman, Mr.Zuckerman. The theme for this book would be to never give up on something and friends can come from strange places and you can always find a way to do something. I think that overall that Charlotte’s Web is a great book and I would recommend this book to all ages. some main points would be when she wrote in the web and when they went to the fair. I would recommend this book to all ages. I really liked this book and i will probably read it to my kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I read it as a kid. My daughter likes the story too. We got a copy of the book when we bought the DVD. It's a story about animals growing up and making friends. It does have a sad part in it as one of the main characters dies. It is a great story overall.
scholar1 More than 1 year ago
Charlottes web is a wonderful book. This book is great for everybody. Adults will love reading this book, reading to or with there kids or just kids by there self. Everyone will love it.It has a great story-line. You will not want to put ot down. The book has a lot of emotion. I am not going to let you know anymore. You will have to read it to find out. Thank you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i love this book
USF-Brandi More than 1 year ago
Charlotte's web is a wonderful book perfect for children and adults, which expresses love, courage, and friendship to the reader. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout the entire reading which helps any reader to truly be a part of the story. Charlotte's Web is about a young girl named Fern and her triumphal helpfulness of saving a pig in which her father was about to kill due to it being a runt. Fern takes care of the pig and names him Wilber, and she sits on a stool in Mr. Zuckerman's barn for many days just watching and listening to the noises of the barn. Wilber makes friends with a spider who calls herself Charlotte. Charlotte tries to save Wilber's life by doing all she can as a spider. As an elementary teacher I find this book to be a fantastic read aloud. Students always want to hear more about what is going to happen. The story does end on a happy note which is good for young readers, or listeners. If you decide to read this book for a read aloud, you might want to try some summarizing strategies. I like to give my students 3 post-it sticky notes and have them jot down notes on two sticky notes during the read aloud and return to their desks and write a complete sentence explaining either what was read, what they are thinking about, or what they think might happen next. Then I receive 1 sticky note from each and I can quickly read where they are with their comprehension. I use this in the second grade classroom, and it is great for them, and depending on how you set it up, you could probably use it for higher grade levels too for their responsibility of paying attention.
RockyHP More than 1 year ago
A classic tale with a heart-warming story. It is one of my favorite books-many know this story very well. Defintely one of E.B. White's best!
tchrreader More than 1 year ago
This is a great story that everyone should read. When I was teaching kindergarten, I read it to my class every year. This is a book that every child should read. A great book to snuggle up in bed at night and read together. The story of Wilbur and his life. His friend Charlotte and the amazing things she does as a good, close friend to Wilbur and their adventures with the other animals and a little girl. You will cry and you will laugh. This is a classic story that you can't miss!
onlyminordetails More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts: I chose to reread Charlotte's Web for Banned Books Week this year mostly because I haven't read it in probably more than 15 years. I did read it numerous times growing up, so I remembered a lot of it. What I took away this time around was probably more than I ever took away back then though. Most of you already know the story, so I won't go into that. What I will talk about is how the book made me feel. One of those things was Fern. She was loving and caring and full of life. She knew what was going on with the animals and she talked about it all the time. There was something extra special about her. I think what got to me was how much she just enjoyed the simple pleasures in life. Sitting on the stool by Wilbur's pen, taking in the sights and sounds. How many of us get to do that anymore? How many of us wish we could do that right now? Of course, there was also Charlotte. Wonderful and amazing Charlotte. Her outlook on life and her wisdom are amazing. The way she and Wilbur interacted touched my heart. Wilbur learned a lot about life from Charlotte, and in the end he became the terrific pig she always knew he could be. The absolute best thing about their friendship can be summed up in this conversation between the two of them: "Why did you do all this for me?" he asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you." "You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing." That quote... typing it out is bringing the tears to my eyes. It's such a beautiful quote. Reading Charlotte's Web by E.B. White again brought back so many memories and caused me to have a brighter outlook on life. Friends are important, helping each other is important, enjoying the simple things in life is important. If you haven't read this one since you were a kid, I strongly recommend that you read it again sometime. It will warm your heart just as it did before. I am certainly glad I took the time to. My Rating: Exceptional
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Barely remember this. But remember the cartoon. Still, wow this. The story, the characters and what happens. Sad but very nostalgic.
sarah_pedigo More than 1 year ago
Introduction Charlotte's Web is a very interesting book. This book is loved by many. It's for any age of any gender. Basically it's an all time American classic. Description and summary of main points This book is about a girl and her family living on a farm. Her name is Fern Able. Her family and her self live on a farm. One late night she heard something. She looked out the window and saw her father walking over to the barn with an axe in his hand. She immediately hurried up and gathered her boots and rain jacket and she ran over to the barn as fast as possible. She asked her dad what he was doing with the axe. He replied and said a baby pig needed killed because he was the runt. The moment she heard those come out of his mouth she tugged and struggled trying to get the axe out of his hand. She saved that little baby pig that night. She named him Wilbur and he soon became a very popular pig in town. He soon became a very important pig all thanks to Charlotte. She wanted to keep Wilbur alive so that he wouldn't be sent to the smoke house. One day she made her web like usual and put a very special word in it. Every one in town came to see everyday what unusual word would be above his pin. They entered him in the town fair since everyone loved him. Evaluation I thought this was a wonderful book. It includes real things people have to go threw. There are happy times but then there are sad times. This book was fairly well written and just something everyone loves. I recommend it to anyone of any gender or age. Conclusion Charlotte's Web, is just an all time American Classic. Many people love this book. Its for anyone old or young boy or girl. To be honest while reading this book it made me realize things throughout my life. Read it you won't regret it. Your final review Like I said Charlotte's Web is a book for everyone.
Dancynash More than 1 year ago
This book was a lot of fun to read and I was surely interested in it. I think it was a good book to read with a class or to read just for fun!:)
pshuart More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a child and remember it being a great story - because of that I purchased the book as a gift for my neice
Guest More than 1 year ago
Charlotte's web is one of my favorite books. It teaches many valuable lessons in a fun way, and is a great adventure for anyone. This book shows true friendship and is definitely a classic that you will want to read over, and over again. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone of any age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Purchased this for an audio book to have around for my little boy. We have loved the book and enjoy listening to it as well with this audio book. I love the fact that it is read by E.B. White himself!! He's got a great audio book voice.
EzaTinyDhs More than 1 year ago
i remember reading this book when i was more younger it was so good. the very first two chapters i read, i got attached . i jst could'nt put the book down. i woul rate this book a ten out of ten and i would definitly read the book again when ever i get the chance.
queen12 More than 1 year ago
The book Charlottes Web is a book that I would recommend people to read. It is a great book about animals, and it has many details. It is funny how they put the pig as the main character though. Wilbur is going to be killed if someone does not help him. Is Charlotte's idea going to help him? I really hope you like the story too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Introduction The place was on a farm. It's a girl that saved a pig that was a runt. He became very famous his name was Wilber. This book is very interesting of how he was famous. It has its ups and downs but is a very good book for children. Description and summary of main points This book is about how a pig named Wilber became famous because people thought he made words out of a spider web, but really it was charlotte. He was entered into many contests because of what people thought. Evaluation My opinion about this book is that it is a very well written and it keeps children interested in it. I still love this book because it's creative and has a good background of it. It also teaches kids a good lesson in life to enjoy what you have and not to lie. So that's why I love this book so much. Conclusion This story ended on a sad note. The reason this being is that one of Wilber's best friends died which was charlotte. He was very depressed and upset. He really didn't have anyone else to talk to because Charlotte was his only friend in the barn. Your final review My final review of the book is that it's a great story and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Also you will just be waiting to hear the next part of what's going to happen. It teaches a valuable message to young people to respect what you have and not to lie.
pirateMama More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book about friendship, trust, love, loss and rebirth.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I started this book i thought (me personally) the book started out poor, but as I kept reading it I thought hey this book is good! So, I'm giving it four stars. So, 'Some Pig' or 'Terrific'? I think Terrific! This movie will probably be good too. Including a great cast: Dakota Fanning, Cedric The Entertainer, Whoppie Goldberg and more (movie opens 12/20/06).
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a pig lover I honestly enjoyed this book. I can read it over and over tons of times and never get tired of it. It's an amazing childrens book and great for kids and adults of all ages!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I chose this book because it is a famous story about a pig. I knew by the cover of the book that this story was about a little girl who loves animals. This book type is animal fiction and the author is E.B. White. The main characters in this book are Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern the little girl. Charlotte becomes Wilbur¿s best friend, because he was lonely. She was very nice to him. This book was so exciting. Charlotte figures out a way to save Wilbur¿s life. Wilbur was Fern¿s pig and then her uncle bought him. She still got to visit him a lot though. Fern was so scared that her uncle was going to kill Wilbur and eat him. I liked the book because it was interesting how Charlotte learned to spin her web to save Wilbur¿s life. The book also showed how animals and people become friends. This book gave me a good feeling inside, but also made me sad sometimes. My favorite part of the book is when Charlotte spins into her web ¿Some Pig.¿ I learned that it doesn¿t matter how big or small you are you can make a difference. I think this book is great and can be read by all ages! Everyone should read this book at least once in their life, maybe twice. On a scale of 1 through 5 I would rate this book as a 4 1/2. Do not miss out on this awesome book.