One early fall morning in 1949, E.B. White walked into the barn of his farm in Maine and saw a spider web. Then on a cold October evening, he noticed that the spider was spinning an egg sac.
White never saw the spider again. When he had to return later that fall to New York City to his job as a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, White took out a razor blade and cut the egg sac out of the web. He put the sac in an empty candy box, punched some air holes in it, put the box on his bedroom bureau in New York and promptly forgot about it.
Weeks later, tiny spiders were everywhere, escaping through the air holes. White thought this was wonderful until the cleaning lady complained about the hundreds of spider webs everywhere!
Now comes a book about the real E.B. White and every one's favorite spider, Charlotte. Michael Sims, author of The Story of Charlotte's Web, weaves a yarn of interest about the author of the best children's book ever published in the US. This is according to a poll of librarians, teachers, publishers and authors in the trade magazine, Publisher's Weekly.
As a very old man with Alzheimer's, White liked to have his books and essays read to him. When his son, Joe, obliged, White would ask who who wrote them. "You did, Dad," Joe answered. White would think about this for a moment and say, 'Not bad."