While getting ready for school one day Fern Arable discovers that her father has set out to kill the runt of a new litter of piglets. Fern is determined that the pig should live and reasons with her father for the little pig to be allowed to live. It is allowed on one condition, that Fern take care of it herself so it can grow strong. Her father also hopes that Fern will learn how much work it is to take care of something so small. Fern names the little pig Wilbur, whom she adores and loves taking care of. Wilbur soon gets too big and must be sold to a neighboring farm. Fern visits Wilbur as often as she can, but sometimes he gets lonely. That is, until he makes a new friend at the farm in Charlotte, the spider whose web is in Wilbur's pen. Wilbur soon discovers the farmers plans for him and that he may not live past winter time. Charlotte promises to help Wilbur in his plights.
This was a great little story. I wish I had read it as a child. I have always loved animals and am sure this would have been a childhood favorite. I never thought I would like a spider, but I'm endeared to Charlotte after reading this story. She's a selfless character, looking out for her friend with no expectations of the gifts she bestows being returned.
A couple good quotes from the book:
"Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died."
"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. ... She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both."”