A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book celebrates the power of friendship and love -- and even that death is a part of life. All these messages are beautifully conveyed in a way that kids will understand and be moved by.
Positive Role Models
Charlotte is selfless and kind, working hard to protect Wilbur. Wilbur in turn repays the favor when she needs him. Fern also takes good care of Wilbur when he's a baby and is a good friend to him through her childhood.
Violence & Scariness
A very sad death. Plus, Wilbur is almost killed when he is born because he's a runt -- and he worries about his own death on the farm when he learns what happens to a spring pig.
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Products & Purchases
Cereal and car brands mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult smokes a pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that E.B. White's children's classic begins with the main character (a young pig) nearly being slaughtered by a farmer. Wilbur also learns that he's to be eaten for Christmas dinner. When a major character dies, peacefully but alone -- all children (and most adults) will cry. All readers will also be reminded about what it means to be a good friend and be inspired by the book's messages about the power of love. The audiobook is lovingly read by the author.
Is It Any Good?
One of the all-time great classics of children's literature, this gentle story with its kindly wisdom about friendship and love has survived and prospered even in the digital age. That's because its themes are universal and timeless: It will inspire readers to think about how we should make and keep friends, and how we should treat each other. Though most readers will cry near the end, it's never maudlin or sappy. Indeed, it's New Yorker editor and author E.B. White's avoidance of cuteness, astringent prose, whimsical humor, and matter-of-factness about life-and-death issues that sets CHARLOTTE'S WEB apart from the pack.
His heroine is a hairy spider who sucks the blood out of flies, aided by a rat, and they're working to save Wilbur from the reality of every working barn. Kind people can be ugly and sometimes cruel, others can be greedy but helpful, snooty but caring. The world can be harsh but also beautiful and warm. It's a lovely fantasy grounded in reality, and perhaps that's why kids have loved it for so long -- they know when they're being told the truth.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.