I am slightly ashamed to admit that it took me over thirty-eight years to finally read the children’s literary classic, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked by it on a book shelf, beckoning for me to pick it up. To be honest, the reason I never did completely escapes me. Subconsciously I attribute it to the stoic look of the pig on the front cover. I somehow knew, deep down, that a book about animals living on a farm was likely to involve the often bloody circle of life. A reality that I am clearly aware of but prefer to keep buried within a deep state of denial.
After finishing this delightful story I was actually upset at myself for not having read it sooner. E.B. White did a magnificent job of encapsulating the human spirit. There were several times where I stopped reading to appreciate the time and context from which the book was written. The language and wording were simplistic yet advanced in their explanations – a welcome change from today’s often dumbing down of social contexts within the pages of children’s literature.
Much to my surprise, I found myself really identifying with the spider, Charlotte. She was a caring, motherly character who ensured that all the creatures living on the farm behaved and showed respect to one another. She also received the highest and most cherished devotion from Wilbur, the terrific, pleasant, and humble pig. (If you’ve read the book you’ll appreciate that reference).
Don’t be like me and keep passing this book by. Pick it up, take it home, and treasure the messages of an unbreakable friendship. It’ll fill a little place in your heart that you didn’t even know was empty.
Next on the book shelf: What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz