The best storyteller I ever heard

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 9:58 AM

'Charlotte is the best storyteller I ever heard,' said Fern, poking her dish towel into her cereal bowl.

'Fern,' said her mother sternly, 'you must not invent things. You know spiders don't tell stories. Spiders can't talk.'

'Charlotte can,' said Fern.

Did you cry at the end of Charlotte's Web? You can admit it...more than a few of us did. Having just read it to my kids, I found the ending no less moving than I did back in elementary school. For me, reading about the death of Charlotte, the talking spider, best friend to Wilbur, a pig, was the first time I ever really thought about or understood the concept of life and death.

Today is E.B. White's birthday (1899-1985), so we're celebrating the remarkable storyteller who brought to life the spider who teaches us so much. Of course, White isn't only the author of one of the most beloved children's books of our time. He's also a renowned essayist and a giant of the American literary scene, and we're very proud to make many of his works discoverable on Book Search.

If you loved Charlotte's Web, but haven't read any other fiction by White, check out The Trumpet of the Swan -- you're in for a treat. For works in the form he's arguably best known for -- essays -- you can browse through Essays of E.B. White. They're crisp and clear, topped with a dollop of wit -- in other words, eminently enjoyable. If you're an E.B. White fan like me and can't get enough, you might also be interested in books that reference his part in the rise of the great New Yorker magazine. Take a look at the biographies not just of the author himself (E.B. White: A Biography by Scott Elledge), but also of founding editor Harold Ross (James Thurber -- another New Yorker legend -- has an interesting version called The Years with Ross). And of course, feel free to explore on your own -- if you like what you see and want a copy of a book for yourself, the "Buy this Book" links will show you where you can get one.


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