Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Parents' Choice Awards : Audio : Audio Book
Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

Fall 2002 Audio Book
Ages: All Ages
Author: E.B. White
CD Price: $27.00
Review:
"This is a story of the barn. I wrote it for children and to amuse myself. It is called 'Charlotte's Web' and I will read it to you." With that simple introduction, author E.B. White began the 1970 recording of his enduring, universally beloved tale, his 1953 children's classic about a little girl, a humble pig, a soulful spider and abiding friendship, tenderly wrapped in nature's poignant ebb and flow.

This captivating re-release of that recording is found treasure, vividly alive and fresh as a country breeze. Once heard, it's difficult to imagine Wilbur, Charlotte, Fern, cranky rat Templeton, and all the other quirky animal and human inhabitants of Zuckerman's farm and environs with any other voice but White's. Warmed by the accents of his native New York and his lifelong love affair with rural Maine, White's performance is as humorous as it is touching, a gentle observation of barnyard miracles, selfless sacrifice and a young girl's first steps away from childhood.

The 3 hour plus unabridged recording ends with an eloquent afterward, written by children's author and scholar Peter E. Neumeyer and read by George Plimpton. It's a fascinating portrait of White's life and work, from his childhood love of nature and words, to his success as one of The New Yorker's most respected essayists, as well as his landmark contributions to children's literature.

Lynne Heffley   ©2002 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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