Mar 18, 2011

Nostalgic Friday: Charlotte's Web

Welcome back to Nostalgic Friday! Since I love all things historical (culturally, physically, and personally) I do a post on Fridays honoring some awesome book that is a bit older. Many of them are books I enjoyed in my teens and others are books that I discovered as an adult that I think are relevant to YA readers.

And we're back! It's becoming harder & harder to find books for me to talk about on this feature because they are becoming harder to locate. I don't remember everything I have ever read, so I'm starting to run out. If you would like to contribute a "Nostalgic Friday" post, just email me at tattooedbooks AT gmail DOT com. I would be more than happy to feature a guest post. On to this week's book.

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White has got to be one of the most iconic chapter books from my childhood. This 1952 story is rich with humor, positive character traits, & a unique story. I remember reading this book out loud to my grandmother when it was her nap time. You read that right, my grandmother would take afternoon naps & I'd read her a nap time story like she read me a bed time story. I never made it more than a few pages before I fell asleep too, so I'm not sure how much she ever really heard of the story. :)

Charlotte's Web coverFern is a born & raised farm girl. She holds no false pretenses about where her meat or eggs come from, but when she finds out that her father intends to kill the runt of the new pig litter, she feels compelled to act. After promising to take care of the little piglet, she names him Wilbur & places him in the barn with some of the other farm animals.

This is where to story diverges from the normal human path & the animals take over. Wilbur isn't the brightest piglet in the world, getting into some trouble with some of the other barnyard animals, but he does find a friend in a verbose spider. Charlotte manages to capture everyone's attention with her message of "Some Pig" adding a mysterious quality to Wilbur. The little pig grows up & is eventually featured at the local state fair, but he learns a hard lesson as Charlotte informs him that she will one day leave him.

As a child I read this story & just thought that it was a really cute talking animal story. I didn't really put it together that I was learning things about friendships, humanity, & the ability of everyone to overcome obstacles. No matter what was put in this little pig's way, he managed to overcome it all & come out on top. It may not have been easy & he may have needed some help, but he never gave up & that's all that mattered.

I love watching children discover this story for the first time because they really get into it. The language, the action & the relationships draw the kids in & they seem to get lost in this magical world. I especially love hearing parents explain Charlotte's language. Not many people use some of her words anymore & I think it makes it all the more special to see them in a children's book.

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