The first line of Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. Only the first line, and I was hooked. I read ravenously. I read and read and read until I was finished, barely coming up for air. And I sobbed at the end like I lost one of my own family members.
Charlotte's Web was a Christmas gift from my parents in 1981. I was 7. I still have that same copy...the one that sent me on this journey. I look at it often, with my dad's handwriting on the inside cover:
That book and its characters sent me on a trajectory that, at the risk of sounding overly-dramatic, turned me into the person I am today. It is the reason I love reading. It is the reason I became a teacher. It is the reason I named my daughter Charlotte.
The writing is magical, yes. But I also love Garth Williams's illustrations. They are truly iconic.
I wanted to pay homage to Charlotte's Web in my own Charlotte's room somehow. I'm creating a little reading area for her, so I thought some art work in that area would be perfect. Here's what I came up with.
This is one of my favorite illustrations from Charlotte's Web. It's the first message Charlotte weaves in her web to save her friend Wilbur, and the one I decided to recreate for my Charlotte:
And here's my illustration:
I used the original illustration for inspiration, and used a thin black marker on plain white paper. I bought a plain white frame from Target with a mat already in it, and trimmed my paper down to fit:
And here's what the finished product looks like.
My hope is that this book will eventually send Charlotte on her own journey, as it did for me. She loves to "read" already, so I think we're off to a strong start. My dad is gently nudging her along, as he wisely did for me many years ago. Here's her own copy of Charlotte's Web, the one that was waiting for her under the Christmas tree on her first Christmas. It's a little newer than mine, and a little cleaner, but it includes the same handwriting on the inside cover as mine:
I hope all of you have the joy of knowing a book that changed your life, as this one did mine. :)