Kick start your day with a good breakfast

Throwback Thursday–Charlotte’s Web

on June 19, 2014
Illustration by Garth Williams

Illustrations by Garth Williams

I judge books not by their covers but by their opening lines. E.B. White crafted one of the most compelling in all of American literature for Charlotte’s Web: “Where’s Papa going with that ax?” Did I mention this before? I may have because it’s one of the certainties of my life. After a line of dialogue like that, who could fail to read on? Chapter One (“Before Breakfast”) continues:

“What’s that?” [Avery, Fern’s brother] demanded. “What’s Fern got?”

“She’s got a guest for breakfast,” said Mrs. Arable. “Wash your hands and face, Avery!”

“Let’s see it!” said Avery, setting his gun down. “You call that miserable thing a pig? That’s a fine specimen of a pig–it’s no bigger than a white rat.”

“Wash up and eat your breakfast, Avery!” said his mother. “The school bus will be along in half an hour.”

“Can I have a pig, too, Pop?” asked Avery.

“No, I only distribute pigs to early risers,” said Mr. Arable. “Fern was up at daylight, trying to rid the world of injustice. As a result, she now has a pig. A small one, to be sure, but nevertheless a pig. It just shows what can happen if a person gets out of bed promptly. Let’s eat!”

The moral of this post is: rise early, root out injustice, and avoid bacon!

wilbur terrific


Copyright (C) 1952 by E.B. White  Text copyright renewed 1980 by E.B. White

Illustrations copyright renewed 1980 by Garth Williams


2 responses to “Throwback Thursday–Charlotte’s Web

  1. Also one of my favorite opening lines! “What a pig!” I loved Charlotte’s Web. Great post.

  2. There’s something about summer that makes me fall in love with my favorite children’s books all over again. I think I have to re-read The Wizard of Oz next. Thanks, Maria!

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