by E.B. White, illus. by Garth Williams
When I first started teaching third grade reading, I was told that I could not teach Charlotte’s Web because that was Mrs. McCartney’s book to teach. There are plenty of books in the world, but Mrs. McCartney had put a claim on this one. And no wonder. Few books are a greater pleasure to read aloud than Charlotte's Web. Beginning with young Fern’s impassioned plea to her father, to spare the life of a runt pig (that's “very small and weak, and. . . will never amount to anything,” says Fern's mother), E.B. White’s story is off and running. Fern may be the first to save the pig she names Wilbur, but she is not the last. Along comes a spider named Charlotte who also befriends Wilbur. From the first image of Fern feeding that piglet with a baby bottle, to the miraculous messages Charlotte spins in her web ("Some Pig," "Terrific"), Garth Williams’s pen-and-ink illustrations carry readers through to the bittersweet end. Once your child can read it alone, this book will be a staple on the nightstand to be read and reread.