E.B. White’s 1952 classic, Charlotte’s Web, was the number one book on the Top 100 Chapter Books list. I can’t imagine that there are many young readers who manage to get through childhood without reading this book or having it read to them.
What it’s about: Fern Arable finds out one morning that her father is heading out to the barn, intending to kill the runt pig of a new litter. She can’t stand that this is the fate of a little creature and so her father allows her to raise the pig to teach her a lesson. The tables are turned though when Wilbur is a perfect little pig. When he’s a big bigger, he goes to her uncle’s farm down the road where he is now at risk of being killed for food. Luckily, Wilbur makes friends with a talented spider who has an idea of how to save his life.
Age level: Grades 2-4
Best part: The descriptions of the seasons and the patterns of life are wonderful. Also, there’s no dancing around the word kill. It’s an honest description of what happens to animals bred for food.
Worst part: Fern’s mother is a bit harsh at times but thankfully she softens up.
Well, that’s it for the list! Was this the best book of the entire thing? Probably not. But it is certainly timeless, great for all readers, and not lacking in a couple of good lessons for youngsters. But, most of all, it’s special because of the magic of Charlotte, a humble spider.
I’ll have one more post at the end of the month to remind you of all the great books I’ve read over the last four and a half years and then I’ll have to search for my next major reading project, I guess!
Schedule – March
March 31 – Project Wrap-Up!