If you haven’t heard yet, Charlotte’s Web just won in an intense HCC March Madness battle. The competition started with 64 books, but E.B. White‘s Charlotte’s Web came out the undisputed champion. To celebrate, I’ve compiled a list of ten fun facts you probably didn’t know about E.B. White and his spectacular novel!
It’s one of the bestselling children’s book of all time.
More than just being a bestselling book, in a 2012 survey, readers identified Charlotte’s Web as the top children’s novel for readers 9-12 years old. The librarian in charge of the survey stated “”it is impossible to conduct a poll of this sort and expect [Charlotte’s Web] to be anywhere but #1”
Wilbur was inspired by a sickly pig that White had failed to save.
Okay, this one is actually really sad. White, a farmer himself, raised pigs for slaughter. One time when a pig became sick, White devoted his energies to nursing the pig back to health. Unfortunately, he was unable to save the pig.
Tell me about it, Johnny.
Charlotte’s name was oddly specific.
Charlotte’s full name, Charlotte A. Cavatica, is based on the barn spider’s scientific name, Araneus cavaticus.
In fact, E.B. White was pretty scientific about this spider.
White wanted Charlotte to be accurate. He spent many months studying spiders while writing Charlotte’s Web. This accuracy meant that, despite his editor’s insistence that Charlotte live, White had her die after her eggs were released.
Charlotte wasn’t the only wordsmith around.
E.B. White helped to update “The Elements of Style,” leading to the “Strunk & White” editing in 1959. It has been named one of the most influential books written in English since 1923.
The reason for the novel is unknown.
In a letter, White stated, “I haven’t told why I wrote the book, but I haven’t told you why I sneeze, either. A book is a sneeze.”
In fact, no one even know the book was coming.
Surprise! E.B. Smith’s editor had no idea he was writing a book. Smith showed up one day at his editor’s office and handed her the only existing manuscript for the novel before he promptly left.
The novel inspired three movies, a musical, and a video game!
One of the movies was a straight to home sequel, but that counts, right?
E.B. White held children in high regard.
He is quoted as saying, “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down. Children are demanding. They are the most attentive, curious, eager, observant, sensitive, quick, and generally congenial readers on earth. They accept, almost without question, anything you present them with, as long as it is presented honestly, fearlessly, and clearly.”
E.B. White won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1978.
It was awarded for all of his works: “his letters, essays and the full body of his work.”
That was Some Book.
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