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MirrorMask (children's edition)
Neil Gaiman
The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume One: Where on Earth
Ursula K. Le Guin
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
Maud Hart Lovelace
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Oscar Wilde, Camille Cauti
Riders of the Purple Sage
Zane Grey
Vampires, Zombies, & Wanton Souls
Marge Simon
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White, Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells "I don't want to die! Save me, somebody! Save me!" -- Wilbur the Pig

Oh... my... God! I hadn't read/listened to Charlotte's Web since pre-K days, I believe. I'd forgotten more about the story than I remembered. The general sense of bittersweet-ness was familiar. But I didn't anticipate sharing a meditation on death, natural cycles, and friendship's resilience beyond the boundaries of individual lives, all in a read-along with our toddler.

This exchange between Charlotte and Wilbur is pretty awesome:
"Why did you do all this for me? [Wilbur] asked. "I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you."

"You have been my friend," replied Charlotte. "That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

Holy Book of Ecclesiastes! There's so much philosophical and theological significance to Charlotte's remarks. I can't add anything helpful, so I'll let them stand on their own.

I'd put Charlotte's Web right beside [b:The Story of Ferdinand|773951|The Story of Ferdinand|Munro Leaf|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348133512s/773951.jpg|484402] on a Gandhian children's book shelf. These two books, along with movies like Babe the Pig, encourage children to ask questions about the dignity inherent in all living beings. Bulls that refuse to fight and pigs that reject the notion of being eaten--strong stuff! What will these stories help Sigourney question and rebel against in her life? I'm not sure, but it'll be fun to watch her grow.