6.13.2011

Some spider.

Oh Charlotte. Each year, you cast a spell on my class... and me. We just finished our study of insects and spiders (they're different!) and celebrated by watching Charlotte's Web... the classic animated version - not the live action remake from a few years ago. I was about to begin writing about E.B. White's masterpiece, but I remembered my post from last year. After rereading it, it really captures the magic of the story... so, here it is again. Until next year Charlotte, rest well dear friend.

Well, we finally finished Charlotte’s Web. I’ve got to say, every time I read that book, I find something new to admire. They don’t call it a classic for nothing.

Anyway, yesterday I read the chapter where Charlotte dies. We’d talked quite a bit about what they thought might be coming and I knew most of them knew it was imminent. When I came to the last paragraph, the one where she actually dies I scanned the room. My sprouts were engrossed. I looked down and finished the chapter.

One of the most heart wrenching lines of the book (or any book for that matter) closes the chapter.

‘Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.’

As I finished the line, I looked up. There were some visibly sad children staring back at me… a few with tears. Momentarily, I questioned my book selection. Had Charlotte’s death been too much for my sprouts?

No. In kindergarten, the majority of books we read are finished in one sitting. The reading experience is short, usually around ten minutes or so. The other chapter books we’ve read this year were on the short side too. This book was a journey. It took weeks to complete. Each day, we took twenty minutes out of our hectic day to sit and experience the world E.B. White created together. It was magical.

After I read from a chapter book, we usually get up and sing a song or do some movement activity… sitting for twenty minutes is a feat for five-year-olds! As we got up yesterday, I noticed Andy and Sage walked over to me… they were clearly affected by the sadness we’d just shared.

“Are you boys alright?” I whispered to them.

Andy nodded, but his face was giving him away. He wasn’t.

Sage chimed in with, “Anyway, we can sing and dance and we won’t be so sad about Charlotte, come on Andy.” He grabbed his buddy’s hand and walked him over to the circle.

Charlotte, you truly are some spider.

3 comments:

Cave Momma said...

I haven't thought about that book in years but this post brought tears to my eyes. I remember feeling incredibly sad as a child watching the movie. I look forward to reading and watching it with my kids when they are older.

Ginger Snaps said...

I read this to my third graders this year and they loved it! We watched the un-animated version. =) I must say, the cartoon is much better.

Juliana said...

Oh, it makes me terrifically, radiantly (humbly?) happy that you read this to the kids. (I've always thought that the last two sentences in Charlotte's Web are two of the greatest in American literature.) Smiles.