Charlotte's Web“You mean you eat flies?” gasped Wilbur
“Certainly. Flies, bugs, grasshoppers, choice beetles, moths, butterflies, tasty cockroaches, gnats, midgets, daddy-long-legs, centipedes, mosquitoes, crickets – anything that is careless enough to get caught in my web. I have to live, don’t I?”
“Why, yes, of course,” said Wilbur. “Do they taste good”
“Delicious. Of course, I don’t really eat them. I drink them – drink their blood. I love blood.”

Wilbur, the runt of a litter of spring pigs, is saved from the hatchet by the farmer’s small daughter Fern. Fern rears the piglet by hand and then, when he is too old to be kept in the farm kitchen any longer, sells him to her nearby Uncle to raise.

Wilbur spends many happy days in the barn with all the other farm animals, regularly visited by the loyal Fern, and his happiness seems complete when he makes a very special new best friend in Charlotte, the clever spider who lives in his corner of the barn. But calamity threatens when Wilbur learns that at Christmas time the farmer, Fern’s uncle, plans to turn him into hams and bacon. Fern has already (quite literally) rescued Wilbur from the chop once, and Charlotte is determined to do it again.

This is a lovely story, with a bittersweet ending spoiled only by the disappointing behaviour of Fern.

She, even at age eight, loses interest in “childish” pursuits such as hanging out in the barn with a lot of talking animals, in favour of hanging out with boys and, in particular, with the eminently pointless Henry Fussy. For the young female reader, Fern’s silliness in this respect will serve, I hope, as a cautionary tale and not as a model for action.

Here’s an Amazon link.
I’ve got an old copy that’s lost its dustjacket, which I’ve had since I was a child!

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