This well-loved novel appeals to a wide age range. Second graders will adore the story as a read-aloud, and third through sixth graders will cherish the novel as independent reading, or in guided groups. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White, is the classic story of Wilbur the pig. Born the runt of the litter, Wilbur’s is doomed until eight-year-old Fern Arable stands up for him and insists that he shouldn't be killed. Fern names the runt Wilbur, and they are inseparable until Wilbur is too big to live in their home. He goes to live in Fern’s uncle’s barn where she can visit him. Between Fern’s visits, Wilbur befriends the other animals in the barn, and learns a lot from the comical group of animals that teach him the ways of life. His most cherished friend is Charlotte the spider, who quickly develops a strong bond with Wilbur. Their friendship, and Charlotte’s devotion to Wilbur, will save his life. This touching story will capture the hearts of school aged children for years to come.
When a litter of piglets is born at the Arable Farm, Fern Arable is shocked to hear that her father plans to “do away with” the runt of the litter. Rushing to the pig’s defense, Fern convinces her father that the pig can’t help being born small, and persuades him to spare the piglet’s life. Fern raises the piglet on a bottle, and names him Wilbur. They quickly become inseparable. Fern’s father knows Wilbur will eventually need to be slaughtered for meat, so as soon as Wilbur is strong enough, he sells him to Fern’s uncle, Mr. Zuckerman.
At the farm, Fern visits Wilbur as often as she can, but he becomes lonely. Wilbur, the social pig that he is, attempts to befriend the other animals in the barnyard. The comical group of animals teach the naive pig the ways of the world. Soon, he makes his most important friend, Charlotte the spider. She quickly takes a liking to Wilbur, and their friendship begins to grow.
Wilbur is enjoying life in the barn until the old sheep tells Wilbur his fate. Farmer Zuckerman will probably butcher Wilbur for meat by Christmastime. Wilbur is immediately distressed, and feels as though his life is over, until Charlotte comes up with a plan. The clever spider begins spinning messages in her web like “some pig”, “terrific”, and “radiant”. Mr. Zuckerman is astonished and begins to see that he might have a truly special pig. People from all over come to see Zuckerman’s famous pig and things start to look up for Wilbur.
Mr. Zuckerman enters Wilbur into a competition at the state fair. Wilbur convinces Charlotte to come with him, and they have their final moment of fame. Charlotte outdoes herself by writing “humble” in her web, the perfect word for Wilbur. No one can deny that Wilbur is one special pig, and he wins the top prize. Charlotte and Wilbur can finally rest easy, knowing he has proven himself too special to be turned into bacon.
At the fair, Charlotte becomes weaker and weaker. It is time for her to weave her egg sac, and she doesn't think she will make it back to the farm. With the help of Templeton the rat, Wilbur manages to transport the egg sac back to the farm, and save all of Charlotte’s children. Sadly, Charlotte dies at the fairgrounds, but Wilbur is comforted by waiting for her children to hatch the following spring. Soon enough, the eggs hatch, and many of them leave to spin their own webs. The heartwarming story comes to an end when three of Charlotte’s daughters, who are fond of Wilbur, decide to stay and keep him company in the barn.