The Story of Charlotte’s Web – An E. B. White Biography

Over the early part of summer, my younger kiddos and I enjoyed reading Charlotte’s Web together. I had originally planned to share this classic story with my seven year old daughter and five year old son. Imagine my surprise that my nine year old daughter had always thought the book would be boring and had chosen to never pull it off the shelf to read. So she joined us as well and was enchanted.

How appropriate it was that during this time I stumbled across a biography of E. B. White at the library. On a whim I grabbed it and added it to my summer reading. As I have purposed to read outside my comfort zone (I do love fiction), it seemed an easy way to squeeze in some non-fiction.

The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E. B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic (Michael Sims) was a pleasant, relaxing read that shared about E. B. White’s life from childhood to death. I knew very little about White so it was very enlightening to me to  learn the extent of White’s love of nature that began at such a young age. The beginning of this biography covers White’s childhood quite extensively. I really enjoyed reading about this time of his life. As a mom I can see how those interests in childhood really do form into a foundation for the future. Understanding his love of creatures and love of farm life really made the reading of Charlotte’s Web to my children more meaningful and sweet.

It was interesting to see how much time, focus, and research White put into Charlotte’s Web. I did read it a couple of months ago but if memory serves me well it took him about six years to write Charlotte’s Web. He did not take lightly the life of the grey spider and how her true characteristics would come to play in the story. White, living the farm life as he wrote Charlotte’s Web, clearly understood the personalities of the farm animals portrayed in Charlotte’s Web.

Other areas of White’s life such as work in New York and marriage/family were covered in The Story of Charlotte’s Web. However this book was really written to share deeply about one aspect of While’s life: Charlotte’s Web. For me it was easy and engaging reading as the biography itself read as a novel. I found myself sharing selections out loud with my children and husband. It was also fun to see nature books that my children are reading mentioned in White’s younger days. The most thorough biography of White? I have no clue. An enjoyable read for someone who is interesting learning a bit more about the author and the inspiration of Charlotte’s Web? Definitely.

Have you read a good biography lately? I am in need of a new one so feel free to share and recommend!



One thought on “The Story of Charlotte’s Web – An E. B. White Biography

  1. I haven’t heard of this one before. Thanks!

    Some of my favorites:
    Ruth: a Portrait, by Patricia Cornwell (Ruth Graham)
    Karen, by Marie Killilea
    Evidence Not Seen, by Darlene Deibler Rose
    Patricia St John Tells Her Own Story
    Papa Married a Morman, by John D Fitzgerald (Might be my favorite. Sweet story and I just love his turn of phrase–so funny!)
    My Life in France, by Julia Child
    Searching for Home, by Martha Nelson Vogt

    Sorry, got started and couldn’t stop at one. 🙂 My favorite genre.

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