Last weekend I saw the remake of Charlotte's Web. I was so excited because the story by E. B. White is by far my favorite piece of children's literature. I still have my original hardback copy my Mom gave me with my name written in the front. How I cherish that book.
The first field trip I can remember in school was to go to the movies and see the 1973 animated version of the movie. It moved me even as a seven-year-old. I can remember shedding some tears and thinking..."where's Mom?" and realizing it was ok to cry without my Mom's loving arms around me.
I so loved the original that I was somewhat skeptical of this Babe-like remake. There wouldn't be the musical numbers from the original. You can't stop singing "A Fair is a Veritable Schmorgasboard-orgasboard-orgasboard" after seeing Templeton roll around the fairgrounds eating every drop of discarded food he could find. Paul Lynde was an excellent voice for Templeton. But, I loved the story so much and once I heard Julia Roberts was playing the voice of Charlotte, I was willing to give it a chance.
If you've not read the book or seen either movie, do all three. It's a wonderful story of friendship...filled with a little spider that made a difference in a runty pig's life. Wilbur was "some pig" and Charlotte rounded up the barnyard troops for a "terrific" journey to save the life of this "radiant" animal. The "humble" surroundings of Zuckerman's farm was the perfect setting for a little girl named Fern to plead for the life of a tiny little pig named Wilber. And, we learn that miracles happen in very ordinary places.
I was thrilled that the newest version still retained the narrator. Rex Allen was the narrator in the first animated version and his soothing voice reminded me of many a Wonderful World of Disney episodes. The 2006 version is narrated by none other than Sam Shepard. If Sam Shepard participates in your movie, you know it's quality.
Pick up a copy of the book at your local library or bookstore. I am thrilled that E. B. White is stirring the pages of the written word for a new generation, much like JK Rowling has done with her Harry Potter series. Read the story, but have some tissues handy. Then grab up all your closest friends and family and head to the theater to see this newest production. And, when your tears have subsided and you are headed home, pick up a copy of the 1973 version to watch at home. You'll be doubly blessed.
One of the taglines for the 2006 movie has been "Help is Coming From Above." Look even higher than the rafters of the barn, beyond Charlotte, and I know My Help does come from above.