New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952. Item #03828
"A Classic of Children's Literature"
"One of the Best-Selling American Children's Books of all Time"
WHITE, E.B. Charlotte's Web. Illustrated by Garth Williams. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, .
First edition, first printing with "I-B" on verso of title-page.
Octavo 7 15/16 x 5 1/4 inches; 202 x 134 mm.). [viii] 184 pp. With numerous black and white illustrations throughout.
Original gray cloth, front cover and spine decoratively stamped in black and blue, blue decorative endpapers. Two tiny little creases on the top corners of the boards otherwise as new. In the original unclipped first issue color pictorial dust jacket with the price "2.50" on the front flap. A fine copy of the book in its original and very fine dust jacket. Easily the best copy that we have ever seen of this children's classic.
Charlotte's Web is a children's novel by American author Elwyn Brooks White (1899-1985) and illustrated by Garth Williams (1912-1996); it was published on October 15, 1952, by Harper & Brothers.
"Dear Miss Nordstrom: … I've recently finished another children's book, but have put it away for a while to ripen…," wrote E.B. White to the renowned children's books editor at Harper & Brothers on the first of March, 1951. The story did not so much ripen as find itself reconstituted, ending up as one of the best-selling American children's books of all time with translations into over twenty languages." (Grolier 100 Childrens' Literature, p.274).
The novel tells the story of a pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. After her father spares the life of a piglet from slaughtering it as runt of the litter, a little girl named Fern Arable nurtures the piglet lovingly, naming him Wilbur. On greater maturity, Wilbur is sold to Fern's uncle, Homer Zuckerman, in whose barnyard he is left yearning for companionship but is snubbed by other barn animals, until befriended by a barn spider named Charlotte, living on a web overlooking Wilbur's enclosure. Upon Wilbur's discovery that he is intended for slaughter, she promises to hatch a plan guaranteed to spare his life. Accordingly, she secretly weaves praise of him into her web, attracting publicity among Zuckerman's neighbors who attribute the praise to divine intervention. As time passes, more inscriptions appear on Charlotte's webs, increasing his renown. Therefore, Wilbur is entered in the county fair, accompanied by Charlotte and the rat Templeton, whom she employs in gathering inspiration for her messages. There, Charlotte spins an egg sac containing her unborn offspring, and Wilbur, despite winning no prizes, is later celebrated by the fair's staff and visitors (thus made too prestigious alive to justify killing him). Exhausted apparently by laying eggs, Charlotte remains at the fair and dies shortly after Wilbur's departure. Having returned to Zuckerman's farm, Wilbur guards Charlotte's egg sac, and is saddened further when the new spiders depart shortly after hatching. The three smallest remain, however. Pleased at finding new friends, Wilbur names the spiderlings Joy, Nellie, and Aranea, and the book concludes by mentioning that more generations of spiders kept him company in subsequent years.
Charlotte's Web was adapted into an animated feature by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Sagittarius Productions in 1973. Paramount released a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, in the U.S. in 2003 (Universal released the film internationally). A live-action film version of E. B. White's original story was released in 2006.
Grolier 100 Children's Literature #92.