Charlotte’s Web (Written by: E. B. White; Illustrations by: Garth Williams)
April 14, 2009 in Books with Science Content, Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Middle Grade Novel, White, E.B., Williams, Garth Tags: Charlotte's Web, E. B. White, friendship, Garth Williams, life cycles, middle-grade novels
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, email@example.com
*Middle-grade novel, fantasy
*Pig as main character
*Rating: E. B. White’s classic story, Charlotte’s Web, will continue to touch the hearts of readers young and old for many, many years.
Short, short summary: Fern saves Wilbur, the pig, from her father’s ax and raises him like a house pet. When he grows too big to be inside the house, she sells him to her uncle, and Wilbur goes to live in Zuckerman’s barn, where Fern can still visit him. Wilbur meets all sorts of animals at his new home, including Charlotte the spider. When Wilbur becomes upset over the news that he is being fattened for slaughter, Charlotte rescues him by writing messages in her web about how special Wilbur truly is. Charlotte’s Web explores the special friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur, life on a farm, and the circle of life.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. One of the themes of Charlotte’s Web is friendship, and this is something that is always on your students’ or your children’s minds–their friends. Wilbur and Charlotte have a special friendship, and so children may think of their own friends when they are reading this book. Ask students to write about their special friends in their reading response journals, and compare their friendships to the friendship between Wilbur and Charlotte. While responding, ask students to focus on questions such as why does Charlotte help Wilbur? How does Wilbur help Charlotte in the end of the story?
2. Animal life cycles are a large part of this book, and you may also study these in science class. Ask students to find out the stages of a spider or pig or other animals from the story. Students can do their own research on the Internet or with a library book, make a poster or power point to report their information, and present it to the class.
3. What adjectives would your students put in a spider web to describe themselves? To describe their best friends? To describe family members? Ask students to make a list of adjectives that describe themselves or a friend, and then draw a spider web with the adjective worked in the middle.
If you have used Charlotte’s Web with your class or your children, please leave a comment here, and tell us what you did.