"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.