I picked up this old favorite this weekend, after seeing the movie, and read it in fits and starts as time allowed. I was as delighted with it as ever, and there’s a reason the back cover says “one of America’s best-loved children’s books.”

I didn’t remember the beautiful themes that White weaves throughout the book, and I delighted in them. It’s not about saving a pig at all – it’s about friendship and childhood and loyalty and courage. It’s about being who you can be, even if you’re despised by all, though sometimes not without some grumbling (as in the case of Templeton the rat).

“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, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little
of that.”

It’s the kind of book that I want to share, and I can’t resist encouraging you to pick it up – go to a used book store and find the comfy, cozy, broken-in copy that has memories already instilled and the smell of many readings gone by.

Tags: Book Reviews