The Story of Charlotte's Web

The Story of Charlotte's Web

E. B. White's Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of An American Classic

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Traces the influence of E.B White's early twentieth-century childhood on a farm and his love for animals on his career, offering insight into the creation of "Charlotte's Web" as it evolved from an early draft.

McMillan Palgrave

In The Story of Charlotte's Web Michael Sims's shows how E. B. White solved what critic Clifton Fadiman once called "the standing problem of the juvenile-fantasy writer: how to find, not another Alice, but another rabbit hole." By mining the raw ore of his childhood in Mount Vernon, New York, in the first decade of the twentieth century, White translated his own passions and contradictions, delights and fears, into a book that would be read the world over. Building on a visit to White's farm in Maine, viewing his handwritten first draft of Charlotte's Web, Michael Sims chronicles White's animal-rich childhood, his writing about urban nature for the New Yorker, his scientific research into how spiders spin webs and lay eggs, his friendship with his legendary editor, Ursula Nordstrom, the composition and publication of his masterpiece, and his ongoing quest to recapture an enchanted childhood.

& Taylor

Traces the influences of E.B. White's early 20th-century childhood on a farm and his love for animals on his career, offering insight into the creation of Charlotte's Web as it evolved from an early draft and was shaped by his scientific research and friendship with legendary editor Ursula Nordstrom. By the author of Apollo's Fire. 40,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Walker & Co., c2011
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780802777546
Branch Call Number: 818.5209 SIM
Characteristics: viii, 307 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill., ports. ;,22 cm.


From the critics

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Jan 21, 2015

If you liked Charlotte's Web as a child, you can learn about the writing of the book by reading this book!

Jan 09, 2015

Charlotte's Web is one of my most favorite books since childhood. I really liked learning about the life of E.B,White

Jul 02, 2014

Sims is able to bring the atmoshpere of White's experience to life -- unlike some biographies that merely list facts. An interesting look at how a book goes from the author's imagination to the page. Excellent. Enjoy!

bookfanatic1979 Nov 05, 2013

A great look at a beloved children’s author. I always enjoy hearing the story behind my favorite books, and this was no exception. A bit slow going in spots, but still interesting enough for me to keep going.

crankylibrarian Feb 08, 2013

Moderately enjoyable biography of E.B. White, creator of Wilbur, Fern, Templeton and of course Charlotte A. Cavatica. I skipped the descriptions of his idyllic mid-century childhood (snooze) but things picked up when New Yorker columnist "Andy" White began researching spiders in preparation for one of the century's most legendary children's books. With empathy, Sims describes White's moral ambivalence over his relationship with farm animals, especially pigs: trusted protector and caregiver, who inevitably betrays that trust in the most brutal way. Fans of mid century literature will get a vicarious thrill from the casual encounters with White's colleagues: Margaret Wise Brown, James (Jim) Thurber, Harold Ross, Wallace Shawn, Garth Williams, and Ursula Nordstrom, the perceptive editor who championed not only Stuart Little and Charlotte, but also Shel Silverstein, Maurice Sendak, and Laura Ingalls Wilder: how much poorer American children's literature would have been without her.

Would have worked better as an extended New Yorker essay, (White's native habitat after all).

RobertaJ Aug 16, 2011

In this loving but never sappy biography, Michael Sims reveals a man full of fascinating contradictions. E. B. White was fearful of commitment but happily married for over 40 years, a devoted rural farmer who wrote for The New Yorker for decades, a terribly shy fellow who climbed the Chrysler Building while UNDER CONSTRUCTION. The complexity of his life and work serves to illuminate the depth of Charlotte's Web and its characters, and will immediately make you want to read it again. The illustrator is not neglected either, as this book and Stuart Little made his career too.

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