E.B. White’s thoughts always go through me like a Fourth of July sparkler. He has a way with words, and he ‘knows’. His wisdom is as remarkable as his writing. He was the observer, the one who paid attention and noticed everything. He never wanted to be in the limelight. When I heard his voice recording of Charlotte’s Web, I was shocked. I said to his grandniece, “I don’t read the book that way at all.” She smiled and understood, then she told me a story:
“Uncle Andy (that was E.B.’s nickname) adored his wife. She was a strong woman,” said Lindsay. “She was older than he was, eleven years older. He adored her. His mother was a strong woman, too. She was much older when Andy was born.”
“Do you know it took him seventeen takes to read the final chapter, The Last Day? Seventeen. He couldn’t stop crying. You see, in Charlotte’s Web, Wilbur was actually Andy, and Charlotte was his wife Katherine. He was devoted to her and adored her. She was his best friend, as Charlotte was to Wilbur. Reading that chapter aloud brought back all the memories of his wife.”
I will never forget that. She lifted him up, because she knew he was a good person and a writer. She adored him, as Charlotte adored Wilbur.
Andy must have been thinking of Katherine when he wrote this:
One of the best books I have read is Melissa Sweet’s story of E.B. White, Some Writer. Highly recommended!
Reblogged this on https:/BOOKS.ESLARN-NET.DE.
Thank you, Michael!
Many thanks to you, Jennie! xx Michael
Thank you for introducing a very interesting writer to me, Jennie! I have to admit i never before had noticed him. But now i was pushed forward going closer to him and his work. Thanks, and have a beautiful weekend! xx Michael
He was one of the greats, Michael. I’m glad I could introduce him. Best to you!
Thanks so much, Jennie! xx Michael
You’re welcome, Michael!
I had a copy of The Elements of Style for years!
He wasn’t on my radar as a child or a. mother, wish he had been.
He was not on my radar as a child, either. I’m so glad I discovered him as a teacher and a mother.
Great post. I once came across that quote by E B White years back and I didn’t realize who he was then. Thanks for this article, would be looking forward to reading the book.
Thank you, and this book is a fun read. It’s filled with memorabilia and photos, and stories that make E.B. come alive- from his childhood through his life.
I’ve often read that book to my grandchildren. Thanks Jennie for the extra info.
My pleasure, Stevie. I’m so glad you read the book to your grandchildren!
Good post, Jennie. Maybe it is also time to re-read Charlotte’s Web.
Thank you, Frank. I think you would be surprised at how much more is in the book that you never remembered. When he describes the barn, it is much like your blog posts. I thought of you when I read that part to the children this year.
She surely would approve. Thank you for the book recommendation!
Yes, indeed! Thank you, Deborah. Always a pleasure.
Truly a magnificent writer! Charlotte’s Web is one of the best, most engaging books I’ve read as a child!
Yes, indeed it is! If you read it again as an adult, there is so much more. I am lucky to read the book aloud every year at school.
I didn’t know any of this about E. B. White. Fascinating. I like his declaration that a writer should be good, true, lively, and accurate as they inform and shape. Amen to that idea.
I feel the same way. His quote struck me. Amen, indeed. The book, Some Writer, gave me more insight into ‘Andy’. There are artifacts, letters, photos, and wonderful stories. It’s a winner.
Thanks for a bit of the backstory I never knew.
You’re welcome, Dan. It’s so interesting.
Until I followed your blog, I hadn’t heard of him. I can see the huge effect he has had on you as a teacher, and that’s wonderful.
Best wishes, Pete.
My goodness, I had no idea E.B. White was not a well-known name outside of the States. Imagine if you wrote about Dickens and it was the first time I had heard of him. Thanks for telling me, Pete. Best to you.
Despite being married 3 times, I never had children. So I had almost no contact with children’s books as an adult until very recently, with step-grandchildren. I certainly don’t remember his books from my own schooldays, Jennie.
That makes perfect sense, Pete, with no reason to read children’s books. Best to you.
I love this post! I didn’t know how sweet E.B. White was. No wonder he wrote a book that is cherished through the generations.
Thank you, Mary. He was, indeed. You are right- it’s no surprise that he wrote such a cherished book. I feel lucky that I get to read it aloud every year at school.
I was introduced to Charlotte’s Web as an adult and I have never forgotten the lessons.
I did not read this book as a child, but I read it to my children, and then every year in my classroom. The lessons are the core of all we need.
You are so right.
Melissa’s book sounds like a great read, Jennie. Thanks for sharing this.
Bruce, it really is. She includes photos, writings, artifacts, and she captures E.B. White. It’s touted as a children’s book, but I think it’s for adults. Glad you enjoyed this!
Super post, Jennie. E.B. White was unique, for sure.
Thank you, John. Yes, he was.
You are using a new template? I find it easy to read. Of course I love everything about White.
The quote was in large print, so it looked wrong to have my words much smaller. I changed them to a slightly larger font, Heading 3 in WP lingo. I love everything about White, too. Have you read Melissa Sweet’s book?
No. I will check the library. Can’t remember what bio I did read a long time ago. Don’t think it was this one.
Probably not. This one is newer, with plenty of extras. I got more out of this book than any other(s). Let me know if you if you read it!
Jennie, thank you for a wonderful post!
I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Please enjoy this wonderful post from the excellent teacher, Jennie!
Thank you, Charles!
What a beautiful back story. I’m so glad to know that EB White was Wilbur! Thank you so much for sharing this.
I felt the same way when I found out he was Wilbur. Thank you, Glenys.
I found this book being read aloud on YouTube in five ( I didn’t see more) parts. It is done by Portland Public Library. I’ve added them to my audio book list! Thank you for this post on it! 😊
I wonder if E.B. White is the reader-aloud. Many thanks!
There are several books that I cried when reading them. This was one that usually got me as well as “Where the Red Fern Grows.” I used to try not to cry in front of my students, but I realized that was silly. Crying is much healthier than keeping feelings bottled up inside.
“Where the Red Fern Grows” and “Old Yeller” always made me cry. I often wish I taught older children, so I could read these wonderful books aloud- and cry with them. That’s the reason I started my library group.
beautiful and wonderful
Thank you, Beth.
What beautiful insight into the book, Jennie. I think “Andy’s” emotional connection to the book came through loud and clear to me, even at age 9. I cried and cried, and I think it’s why I grew up to become a grief counselor. I was deeply affected by that book. I’m all choked up now, just thinking about it. I love this post! Thanks for sharing.
Diana, your story is wonderful. Thank you! Crying is a good thing. Charlotte’s Web brings all the emotions to the surface, and that’s how children become kind, giving, and much more. I cry with children when I read the book to them. You were a grief counselor, thanks to Charlotte’s Web? Wow! That speaks volumes. Diana, the book Some Writer is a must for you to read. It’s filled with papers of his writings, photos, and a backstory that will stick with you. Promise!
Thanks so much for the recommendation, Jennie. I’m heading over to Amazon. 🙂 Happy Sunday, my friend.
I’m so glad. Happy Sunday to you, too.
It’s in my kindle. 🙂
Such a wonderful insight into the background of Charlotte’s Web. I particularly enjoyed the author’s description of what a writer should be. Also, their marriage sounds like quite a love affair. Thanks, Jennie.
Yes on all counts, Steve! Glad you enjoyed this.
“Some Writer” is one of my all time favorite books as is “Charlotte’s Web.” I loved reading this bit of insight into the story. Thank you, I always enjoy reading your posts.
I’m so glad! I learned more about ‘Andy’ through this book than any other. The artifacts she includes make the book one of the best. Reading “Charlotte’s Web” to my class every year is my favorite part of teaching. Thank you for your kind words, Dayne.
Good job 👍
My three favorite books when I was little were Trumpet of the Swan, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. Thank you for this!
I’m so glad! You are welcome.
Hi Jennie, Charlotte’s Web and James and the Giant Peach (especially Miss Spider) are among my favourite children’s books. I have always liked spiders and had a name for the one that lived in our lamp when I was a little girl. Her name was Miranda. I still think of spiders as Miranda.
Hi Robbie, Miranda the spider is a wonderful story. Of course she would be liked and named, after reading “Charlotte’s Web.” Robbie, I hope you check out “Some Writer” at the library. It is perhaps the best book about E.B. White, and it has many photos and artifacts and stories. What Melissa Sweet does in her book reminds me of what you do with fondants, yet hers is with fabric and so much more.
Hi Jennie, I will have a look for the book. I love reading about writers.
It is terrific, Robbie. I hope your library has it. I love reading about writers, too.