Video Review:    Charlotte's Web

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Based on the classic children's book by E.B. White, this video tells the tale of Wilbur the pig, Fern the girl who nursed him while he was a baby, and Charlotte the spider who saves the pig from ending up on the dinner table. The narration is well done, and lines from the book ("life is good and busy and brand new") are heard throughout the movie. 

The story begins with a scene of a mother pig and her litter of piglets. One of them is a runt, and the farmer (Fern's father) is ready to "do away with" him. A few tears later, Fern saves Wilbur from an "untimely death". The farmer decides to let Fern nurse the runt, and she does this with such warmth and love that kids, after watching the opening scenes, will be asking their parents for a pet pig.

When Wilbur is big and strong, Fern's father decides that it is time for Wilbur to live the life of a pig. At the same time, Fern learns one of the "hard facts" of farm life. The farmer sells Wilbur to Fern's uncle. In his new home, Wilbur discovers his voice (and breaks into a celebration song upon his discovery), then bemoans the loss of his full-time friend in Fern. At this new farm, kids watch as the talking animals do their thing. Wilbur's farm-mates include a mother goose, who doesn't understand what Wilbur means when he wants to "play", a rat named Templeton (who is voiced by the unmistakable Paul Lynde), and a father sheep who tells his son that "sheep do not play with pigs" (it's a status thing, you see). When Wilbur meets a friendly and wise spider named Charlotte, whose favorite expression is an encouraging "Chin up!", his life changes completely.

Children will enjoy this classic video, especially its tender and silly moments. Charlotte's death, however, is very sad. Parents may want to be sure their kids are ready for this scene. This movie was originally released in 1973, so expect some older-style animation. However, kids won't mind one bit. 

A DVD "wide-screen" edition is available.

For more information, user reviews, or to buy, follow these links:

Charlotte's Web (VHS) or Charlotte's Web (Full Screen Edition) (DVD) 

 

Pros:
  • Beautiful story
  • Some lovely themes of friendship, love, and self-esteem

 

Cons:
  • Deals with death.

 

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VHS/DVD   Ages 7-10  
 

 

 

See also:

 

 

 

Garth Williams - Charlottes Web
Charlottes Web
Garth Williams
Buy This Art Print At AllPosters.com

 
Our Rating:

A

To Buy this Video:

Buy Charlotte's Web (VHS) or Charlotte's Web (Full Screen Edition) (DVD) at Amazon.com

 
Reviewed May 2002   Comments? Email us.
 

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