This is a beautifully-written story of a little girl, a pig and a spider who become loyal friends and how Charlotte, the intelligent spider, weaves her web to turn fate and rescue the pig from the dinner table. The vocabulary is great, fulsome and stretching for children used to Rainbow Fairies and Horrid Henry, and there's an underlying current of the passing of time, seasons, life and death. Written in the 1950s in America the book reflects an era perhaps gone-by where the world moves at a slower pace and yet the harsh realities of farm life and natural history are less hidden from children. If you are planning on reading Charlotte's Web to a child just moving on from the absolute innocence of early childhood, do be prepared for a couple of upsets: my daughter (6) was horrified at the thought that Wilbur, the runt of the litter and so hand reared for the first month, would be fattened up for the dinner table, and heartbroken when the heroine of the piece, the spider Charlotte, came to the end of her natural life, despite her having admirably achieved what she had set out to do. That said, we both thoroughly enjoyed this wholesome and memorable read and I thoroughly recommend it for 6+.
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