Charlotte's Web 50th Anniversary Retrospective Edition

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HarperCollins, May 1, 2002 - Juvenile Fiction - 216 pages
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Since its publication in 1952, Charlotte's Web has become one of America's best-loved children’s books.This special cloth-bound anniversary edition features Garth Williams’s original drawings lovingly colorized by renowned illustrator Rosemary Wells. Also included is a retrospective essay written in honor of this anniversary by scholar Peter Neumeyer, about the development and publication of this landmark book. The Charlotte's Web 50th Anniversary Edition is a keepsake book that readers of all ages will cherish.

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About the author (2002)

E.B. White, the author of twenty books of prose and poetry, was awarded the 1970 Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his children’s books, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web. This award is now given every three years "to an author or illustrator whose books, published in the United States, have, over a period of years, make a substantial and lasting contribution to literature for children." The year 1970 also marked the publication of Mr. White’s third book for children, The Trumpet of the Swan, honored by The International Board on Books for Young People as an outstanding example of literature with international importance. In 1973, it received the Sequoyah Award (Oklahoma) and the William Allen White Award (Kansas), voted by the school children of those states as their "favorite book" of the year.

Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Mr. White attended public schools there. He was graduated from Cornell University in 1921, worked in New York for a year, then traveled about. After five or six years of trying many sorts of jobs, he joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, then in its infancy. The connection proved a happy one and resulted in a steady output of satirical sketches, poems, essays, and editorials. His essays have also appeared in Harper’s Magazine, and his books include One Man’s Meat, The Second Tree from the Corner, Letters of E.B. White, The Essays of E.B. White and Poems and Sketches of E.B. White.

In 1938 Mr. White moved to the country. On his farm in Maine he kept animals, and some of these creatures got into his stories and books. Mr. White said he found writing difficult and bad for one’s disposition, but he kept at it. He began Stuart Little in the hope of amusing a six-year-old niece of his, but before he finished it, she had grown up.

For his total contribution to American letters, Mr. White was awarded the 1971 National Medal for Literature. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy named Mr. White as one of thirty-one Americans to receive the Presidential Medal for Freedom. Mr. White also received the National Institute of Arts and Letters’ Gold Medal for Essays and Criticism, and in 1973 the members of the Institute elected him to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a society of fifty members. He also received honorary degrees from seven colleges and universities. Mr. White died on October 1, 1985.

Garth Williams began his work on the pictures for the Little House books by meeting Laura Ingalls Wilder at her home in Missouri, and then he traveled to the sites of all the little houses. His charming art caused Laura to remark that she and her family "live again in these illustrations.

Rosemary Wells, author and illustrator of several dozen books for children and young adults, was born in 1943 in New York City. She studied at the Museum School at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Wells began her career in publishing, working as an art editor and designer first at Allyn and Bacon and later at Macmillan Publishing. Her first work, which she both wrote and illustrated, was Martha's Birthday, published in 1970. Her first work for young adults was The Fog Comes on Little Pig Feet, published in 1972. Wells is perhaps most famous for the Max series, beginning with Max's First Word, published by Dial in 1979. Although the primary audience for the series is very young children, the books appeal to the senses of humor of even small children. Wells says that the inspiration for these stories is her own children. Wells is the recipient of numerous awards including a Children's Book Council Award for Noisy Nora in 1974, the Edgar Allan Pie award for two young adult books, Through the Looking Glass and When No One Was Looking, and the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Shy Charles. Rosemary Wells is married to Thomas Moore Wells, an architect. The couple has two daughters.

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