Tag Archives: Charlotte’s Web

E.B. White Compares Writing to Sneezing

E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web is the first ‘chapter book’ that I remember truly loving. It was the book that made me think of myself as a reader; that made me want to find another book and keep reading – right away.

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I inscribed it myself…

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I still have the copy I was given in 1968

I would read it to my granddaughters but am happy that our Grade 3 teacher does it as a novel study every year. (This year she is tying it in with a spider study for which I made a research page as well as providing books from our library and through inter-library loan.)

E.B. White took his responsibility as a writer seriously.

E.B. White

E.B. White

“Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly. I handed them, against the advice of experts, a mouse-boy, and they accepted it without a quiver. In Charlotte’s Web, I gave them a literate spider, and they took that.”
E. B. White, The Art of the Essay No. 1, Paris Review interview by George Plimpton and Frank H. Crowther.

Maybe Not the Reason, But at Least the Inspiration For this Particular Sneeze

One of the 15 most read letters in 2013 posted on the Letters of Note and now published in Letters of Note: Coorespondance Deserving of a Wider Audience, complied by Shaun Usher is one written by E.B. White in September of 1952,  a few weeks before it’s publication, to his editor responding to a request to explain why he wrote Charlotte’s Web.

Article and transcript: A Book is a Sneeze.

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Original Illustrations For Charlotte’s Web

Originally published in 1952 and still a well-read classic, Charlotte’s Webs greatness is shared by author E.B. White and illustrator Garth Williams.

Garth Williams

Garth Williams

“There’s no doubt that Williams left an indelible mark through his work. As his friend and attorney Richard M. Ticktin says, “We continue to get letters addressed to Garth from fourth graders, wondering how it is he was able to draw these animals and people so perfectly that he instilled in these kids a love of nature.”
Unlocking Original Illustrations from Charlotte’s Web

Williams kept all his original illustrations once they were returned to him from the publisher. His family continued to protect them, locking them away in a bank vault.

“On Oct 15, [2010]42 of the original Garth Williams illustrations for Charlotte’s Web were put up at a New York auction. All of them were sold off fetching a combined total of $780,245.”
Original Illustrations of Charlotte’s Web

Garth Montgomery Williams (American, 1912-1996) Charlotte's Web, book cover, 1952 Graphite and ink on paper 14 x 11 in. Signed lower right

Garth Montgomery Williams
(American, 1912-1996)
Charlotte’s Web, book cover, 1952
Graphite and ink on paper
14 x 11 in.
Signed lower right

The son of artists and raised on a farm in New Jersey, Williams tried architecture first then switched to painting and sculpture. In 1945, E.B. White’s Stuart Little launched his successful career in illustration.

“He believed that books ‘given, or read, to children can have a profound influence.” For that reason, he said, he used his illustrations to try to “awaken something of importance . . . humor, responsibility, respect for others, interest in the world at large.'”
Garth Williams, Book Illustrator, Dies at 84

Please don't kill it (Pg. 2)

“Please don’t kill it” (Pg. 2)

“‘Where’s Papa going with that Ax?’ said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast…’One of the pigs is a runt…so your father has decided to do away with it’ said her mother…Fern pushed her chair out of the way and ran outdoors. ‘Please don’t kill it!’ she sobbed.”

'Give him breakfast' (Pg. 6)

‘Give him breakfast’ (Pg. 6)

“But Fern couldn’t eat until her pig had a drink of mink. Mrs. Arable found a baby’s nursing bottle and a rubber nipple. She poured warm milk into the bottle, fitted the nipple over the top, and handed it to Fern.”

See more at BibliOdyssey

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