1952 | Written by E.B. White | Illustrated by Garth Williams | Harper & Brothers

charlotte's web

Author Michelle Robinson discusses E.B. White’s classic, Charlotte’s Web:

“It’s such a belter of an idea and so perfectly told. If I’d had an idea about a spider writing in its web, my book would have turned out silly and flippant. The spider would have written ‘fart’ or something. But E.B. White’s characters teach us so much. It’s a truly wonderful book.”

E.B. White was not a natural writer; that is, it didn’t come easy to him. His first novel, Stuart Little, took six years to come to fruition. He discovered a series of stories written by an American newspaper columnist named Don Marquis; Marquis created a character called “Archy,” who was a free-verse poet in a former life now reincarnated as a cockroach who would leave new poems in the columnist’s typewriter. White loved the idea, and the depiction of Archy, who was presented as a disgusting, well, cockroach… He combined this inspiration with his own childhood on a farm, and Charlotte –a farm-dwelling spider who left messages in her webs- was born.

Charlotte’s Web was released to rapturous reviews (read one from 1952 by Eudora Welty HERE), and has, of course, become one of the most enduring classics in all of literature.

Michelle Robinson is an author based in the United Kingdom. Her books include the award-winning There’s A Lion in My Cornflakes (Bloomfield, 2014), What to Do if An Elephant Stands On Your Foot (Penguin, 2012) and a series of popular Goodnight Books (…Santa, …Pirate, …Tractor, and …Digger) from Puffin.

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