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5 things you probably don’t know about CHARLOTTE’S WEB…

All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world. I guess you can find that in there, if you dig around.

–E.B. White (Author of Charlotte’s Web)

1. Charlotte’s Web was a sneeze.

Whenever E.B. White was asked why he wrote Charlotte’s Web, he replied: “I haven’t told why I wrote the book, but I haven’t told you why I sneeze, either. A book is a sneeze.“ [1]

 

2. The real Wilbur had a more tragic story…

When E.B. White was a child, he spent a lot of time raising pigs. He bonded a lot with a sick, runt pig, taking care of him much like Fern does Wilbur. Unfortunately, in spite of his best efforts, the pig did lose his life to illness. As a lifetime lover of animals, E.B. took the news hard, only finding hope after discovering an egg sack left behind by a spider. Which brings us to…

3. Charlotte was inspired by a real spider E.B. White saw on his farm in Maine in the fall of 1949.

He watched her make her egg sack while caring for the sickly pig, and then never saw her again. On impulse, before he left for New York, he cut the egg sack down, and put it in a candy box with holes punched at the top. Later, it hatched and a ton of baby spiders were let loose in the house. They were very small, almost invisible, and E.B. White greatly enjoyed their company. …his family was a little less pleased. In his words: “We all lived together happily for a couple of weeks, and then somebody whose duty it was to dust my dresser balked, and I broke up the show.” [2]

4. Charlotte’s middle and last name reference a specific type of spider.

Charlotte A. Cavatica speaks to Aranea cavatica, a species of barn spider. E.B. White did his research on this species, frequenting the American Museum of Natural History to research and discuss spiders with the curators. According to arachnologist B.J. Kaston, he originally wanted to name her Charlotte Epeira, because White originally thought the spider he saw in childhood was a gray cross spider: Epeira sclopetaria. [3]

5. 18 years after writing it E.B. White recorded an audio book for Charlotte’s Web.

The recording process was very smooth, except for the end. “Every time, he broke down when he got to Charlotte’s death… He took 17 takes to get through Charlotte’s death without his voice cracking or beginning to cry.” [4]


CHARLOTTE’S WEB

Written by Joseph Robinette
Adapted from the book by E.B. White
Directed by Artie Olaisen

Recommended for ages 5 and up
April 29 – May 27, 2023

The best-loved children’s story of all time and winner of The Newbery Honor! Discover the true meaning of friendship and life’s everyday miracles. Get caught in Charlotte’s web to save Wilbur, the “radiant” and “humble” pig, and make friends once again with all his loveable barnyard neighbors. One of the first books ever written for children exploring issues of mortality, CHARLOTTE’S WEB is an emotional tribute to friendship with universal themes depicting courage, compassion, and the ever-changing cycle of life.


CHARLOTTE’S WEB produced by special arrangement with Dramatic Publishing, Woodstock, Illinois.

Sources:
[1] https://www.cbcbooks[dot]org/2014/07/11/a-book-is-a-sneeze-e-b-white-on-why-he-wrote-charlottes-web/
[2] https://www.amnh[dot]org/explore/news-blogs/news-posts/e.-b.-white-s-charlotte-s-web-and-the-museum
[3] https://web.archive[dot]org/web/20200814081559/https://lettersofnote.com/2013/08/02/a-book-is-a-sneeze/
[4] https://www.npr[dot]org/2012/10/15/162735079/some-book-charlottes-web-turns-60
https://storywarren[dot]com/he-loved-the-world-a-short-biography-of-e-b-white/
https://archive.nytimes[dot]com/www.nytimes.com/books/97/08/03/lifetimes/white-tales.html

Image credits: https://commons.wikimedia[dot]org/wiki/File:EB_White_and_his_dog_Minnie.png
Photo by Maddy Weiss on Unsplash