BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Charlotte's Web 60th Birthday

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the release of "Charlotte's Web", a much-loved childrens book that became a classic. While it wasn't one of my favorites growing up, I did enjoy it. One of my teachers, I think maybe in fourth grade?, read a chapter to us every day and I read it on my own several times. I still have a copy though I haven't read it in years.

First released in October 1952, it has won numerous awards over the years:
Newbery Honor Book (1953)
ALA Notable Children's Book
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
Massachusetts Children's Book Award
Horn Book Fanfare
National Medal for Literature (1971)
Presidential Medal for Freedom (1963)
Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal (1970

HarperCollins Children's Books released special editions on April 24th in honor of the book's 60 years, including a hardcover, a paperback, and a paper-over-board and there's a special new forward by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo.

There's a 60th anniversary book trailer upon YouTube, a special page on facebook (where I found much of the information in this post) and a special page at the HarperCollins Childrens site, that even includes games.

Have YOU read the story? Did you like it? How would you classify it? I think it's a childrens fantasy book, I mean, the animals talk and Charlotte, a spider, can spell and write in English, a human language. Other people argue that it's not fantasy because it lacks elves, or spells or other elements sometimes found in fantasy. What are your thoughts on the story, what worked for you, what didn't? Have/will you read it to the children in your life?


  1. I think of it as a fable. The animals talk, and bring out the heart in everyone, which I guess is the "lesson" (if it is required to have a lesson as a fable?).

    I have a really personal attachment to Charlotte's Web. It was one of my very favourite books, and still is. Maybe the part that meant the most to me as a kid was how Fern grew up and lost the ability to talk to the animals, and I had to assume, other childhood abilities. It was part of my fretting over growing up and losing the parts of myself that meant the most. I was determined to not do this. So I could love Fern, and love her relationship with Wilbur, but hold it in my mind that I wasn't going to allow growing older and developing to crowd out what was important to me.

    1. You know, it's been a long time since I read it, but "fable" sounds about right. And yes, a fable by definition has a moral or a lesson. I hated that Fern lost her ability to talk to the animals as she grew older, it didn't seem a fair trade for growing up. I still think it's not a fair trade.

  2. It isn't, although I have found people who as they grow older, learn to be more like Fern as a child, because they figure out that they don't need to listen to grown ups all the time, like they tended to do when they were little. They talk to their critters all the time!


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