Some books are so much a part of our childhood experience that when we hear their titles we can almost smell the pages of the book itself, remember where we were when we first opened it, and conjure up entire scenes and memories of reading it for the first or many times thereafter. Charlotte’s Web is one of those books. Today, the most famous book by the masterful E.B. White has turned 60. It is no worse for wear in terms of readability and resonance, even amid a world of Y.A. dystopias, fantasies, and futuristic plots and themes. The simple tale of a pig, a girl, and a spider, beginning with a life saved (Wilbur’s, by the girl, Fern, and later by Charlotte the spider) and ending with a death—but then new life—is threaded through with the personal conflicts, conversations, and camaraderie of the various barnyard creatures involved. It’s one for the ages.
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At first I was skeptical about my own ability to have such an experience remembering a book, but then I got a little veclempt reading this.