Reading for Pleasure
Our class book this term is Charlotte's Web.
What do you predict the book will be about from the front cover?
Where might it be set?
Who do you think Charlotte is? Why do you think that?
Who is the author?
It is said that E.B. White wrote three of the finest works of literature ever produced in the English language. Each one was directed at young people and many say he put children’s literature on the map as a genre in its own right.
Elwyn Brooks White was born on July 11, 1899, in Mount Vernon, New York, USA. He started writing at the age of seven or eight when he fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter. That’s also when he first stared a sheet of blank paper, “square in the eyes.” It dared him to fill it up, so he did.
Although he grew up in New York City, E.B. Wright loved nature. He loved lakes and paddling around them in a canoe. He loved animals and could spend hours watching a spider spinning a web.
One night in the spring of 1926, while sleeping on a train, E.B. dreamt of a tiny mouse-like boy. He pictured him dressed in a dapper outfit, including cap and cane, and having adventures on the streets of New York City with his human family. He wrote the dream down, over time crafting it into a tale. He named his tiny character Stuart. When one of his 18 nieces and nephews wanted a story, he’d pull it out of a drawer and read it out loud, adding episodes and making improvements with each reading.
Have you read the story of Stuart Little or watched the film? Remember films are often quite different to the book they are based on.
It would be another seven years (1952) before E.B.'s second children’s book launched. The idea for Charlotte's Web began in the late 1930's while at his family farm in Maine. Watching a spider spinning her egg sac on the wall of a barn, he became entranced by the intricate beauty of her work and of her web. That little act of observation planted a seed that grew and grew into one of the greatest children's books of all time. The book was an immediate success and is still read by children today. By 2006, it had been translated into 23 languages, and sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.
“What the book is about is friendship on earth, affection and protection, adventure and miracle life and death, trust and treachery, pleasure and pain, and the passing of time… What it all proves… is that human beings must always be on the watch for the coming of wonders… As a piece of work it is just about perfect.”
- Eudora Welty
After reading the book, what do you think the key themes of the story are? Do you agree with the quote above? Explain your reasoning.
As you read the book think about our VIPERS skills. What questions could you ask your friends to challenge their thinking?
Which new words have you learnt from the text?
Which words did you need to look up the meaning of?
There are a few American words in it, was it easy to work out what they meant?
What impression do you get of Avery, Fern's older brother? what makes you think this?
How would you describe Fern to someone who has not read the book before?
Can you explain the main themes of the book?
Would you recommend it to a friend? Why?
Have you ever wondered how a spider spins its web? Maybe after reading this book you will wonder how Charlotte creates hers?
Click below to watch- remember the speed has been increased- they're not normally this quick!