Parents' Guide to

Charlotte's Web

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Gentle, much-loved barnyard classic delights all ages.

Charlotte's Web Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 37 parent reviews

age 10+

Does contain sexist ideas of how girls should behave and dress (for boys' attention)

I'm surprised by how many review this book as having zero reference to romance. The mother being so worried that her daughter spends all her time with animals, visits the family doctor who asks "How about boys - does she know any boys?" And guess what, the mother doesn't worry about Avery not hanging out with girls... in the same conversation she says "Avery is always fine" and goes on to say how he's always messing about outdoors... though it is a problem for her daughter to act this way. Getting ready for the fair Fern "put on her prettiest dress because she knew she would see boys at the Fair". At the fair, she's wishing "she were in the topmost car with Henry Fussy at her side", which at the end of the book, she tells her brother she can't stop thinking about months later. I think this should be a read aloud for slightly older children and these moments in the story can then be discussed.
2 people found this helpful.
age 10+

A wonderful book that many miss the strength of

Children typically do not understand the permanency of death until they are around 8-10 years old, the majority not understanding this until 10. Charlotte's Web is not a cute child's story, but a coming of age story, as Wilber and Fern both grow from childhood to adult. The great sacrifice is given to Wilber to bear as he loses his beloved Charlotte. This is a wonderful book, but the impact of loss, the understanding of interest turning to boys for Fern, the idea of life growing and continuing on even after death and after the loss of childhood, they're LOST if you read before your child hits that developmental stage.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (37 ):
Kids say (57 ):

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.

Book Details

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