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E.B. White
176 Pages
Publisher: Puffin Books (October 2003)
ISBN: 0141317345
Price: S$10.20 (Available in Borders)






Classics deserve places on bookshelves. Just as this reviewer thought he had a place on his for this timeless storybook written by E.B. White, he was proven wrong as he frantically searched high and low for it.

And just as he thought he remembers the story about the noble spider, he was again proven wrong as he flipped through the review copy of this well-loved classic.

This only goes to show how we do not treasure little gems like this in our lives.

Some of us may have studied this extremely easy-to-read book during Literature classes. Some of us may have loaned it from the library when we were little kids. Some of us, well, may have not read it before, or worse still, heard of this book’s existence.

For the uninitiated, this charming tale tells of the friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte the spider, and how the latter saves the plump and cute piglet from being slaughtered. Miraculous and touching episodes occur along the way, and the story concludes with a ray of hope.

Sounds mushy and predictably kiddy, you say? It is a children’s book after all. But that doesn’t mean that we adults should miss this inspiring book.

Whether or not you are an animal lover, you’d be drawn into the vivid descriptions of life at the barnyard. Garth Williams’ sketchy illustrations are also a joy to look at. The animated style of how the animals talk to each other will have you picturing the book as a movie. And yes, there is already one directed by Gary Winick and starring Julia Robert’s voice as Charlotte.

Things get emotional towards the end of this thin book, and the scenarios in the book are definitely good analogies to real-life situations. That makes for good personal reflections, if you ask us.

While we are inspired by the book to treasure those whom have helped us in some way or other, we are also inspired to tell all you readers to go get a copy of this for your bookshelf - it is not that expensive. Anyway, you could do with a little less booze, food and partying this festive season.

This is definitely a book you could read again and again years down the road to open your eyes to the most wonderful yet simplest of things.


Charlotte stopped. A moment later a tear came to Wilbur’s eye. “Oh, Charlotte,” he said. “To think that when I first met you I thought you were cruel and bloodthirsty!”
When he recovered from his emotion, he spoke again.
“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.”
“You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, which all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to life up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”


Whether you are a kid, a teenager or a cynical adult, this is one book you should have on your bookshelf. Simple and affecting, it provides a light yet meaningful reading experience. Not to be confused with George Orwell’s more vicious and symbolic Animal Farm.

Review by John Li




. Charlotte's Web


. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Danny Elfman



This review is made possible with the kind sponsor of BORDERS


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