Synopses & Reviews
This gem of a novel takes place in Pittsburgh in 1952. Franny Katzenback, while recovering from polio, reads and falls in love with the brand-new book Charlotte’s Web
. Bored and lonely and yearning for a Charlotte of her own, Franny starts up a correspondence with an eloquent flea named Fleabrain who lives on her dog’s tail. While Franny struggles with physical therapy and feeling left out of her formerly active neighborhood life, Fleabrain is there to take her on adventures based on his extensive reading. It’s a touching, funny story set in the recent past, told with Rocklin’s signature wit and thoughtfulness.
Bank Street Children's Books "Best Books of the Year," Fiction Ages 9-12
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Older Readers
Praise for Fleabrain Loves Franny
"Heartwarming and endlessly funny, Fleabrain Loves Franny will delight readers of all ages. Rocklin’s sharp wit and exuberant writing style are refreshing. This book is not to be missed."
"Franny—a compassionate, thoughtful and sympathetic protagonist—is believably erratic in her emotions and reflections on her illness and its effects on her previously carefree life."
"Rocklin perfectly captures the era of 1952 and creates a sympathetic, realistic character in Franny, who begins to accept her condition, rejoin her friends and even protest her school’s inaccessibility."
"Comedic and philosophical, readers will find multiple levels to enjoy."
--School Library Journal
"Wilbur, a lovable pig, is rescued from a cruel fate by a beautiful and intelligent spider named Charlotte. Told with delicacy, humor, and wisdom...a perfect blending of fantasy and complete realism." Booklist
"With 'Fleabrain Loves Franny,' Joanne Rocklin has brought into being perhaps the tiniest and most accomplished hero yet: a dashing, erudite, multilingual flea"
"Convincingly set in Pittsburgh in the early 1950s, when scientists were working on a polio vaccine, and attitudes toward people with disabilities were quite different from today’s, Rocklin’s story is a conscious homage to Charlotte’s Web, many a voracious reader’s favorite book."
"With keen insight into human (and insect) relations, Rocklin creates believable, three-dimensional characters—Franny’s goody-two-shoes older sister, for example, and Franny’s old gang of friends, fearful of contagion—that help anchor the off-the-wall-fantastical elements."
"A good choice for kids who like their history with a sprinkling of whimsy."
"This book is smart, funny, and very odd; it’s a love letter to reading and to the life-saving power of imagination."
"Strong characterization will make this story a favorite, and the smart, funny writing will attract readers."
This is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of their own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to be quite a pig.
A beautiful, large, gray spider weaves a message into her web in an effort tosave her friend, Wilbur the pig, from slaughter.
These are the words in Charlotte's web, high in the barn. Her spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, as well as the feelings of a little girl named Fern . . . who loves Wilbur, too. Their love has been shared by millions of readers.
Sixty years ago, on October 15, 1952, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web
was published. It's gone on to become one of the most beloved children's books of all time. To celebrate this milestone, the renowned Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo has written a heartfelt and poignant tribute to the book that is itself a beautiful translation of White's own view of the world—of the joy he took in the change of seasons, in farm life, in the miracles of life and death, and, in short, the glory of everything.
We are proud to include Kate DiCamillo's foreword in the 60th anniversary editions of this cherished classic.
Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn.
With the help of Templeton, the rat who never did anything for anybody unless there was something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saved the life of Wilbur, who by this time had grown up to quite a pig.
How all this comes about is Mr. White's story. It is a story of the magic of childhood on the farm. The thousands of children who loved Stuart Little, the heroic little city mouse, will be entranced with Charlotte the spider, Wilbur the pig, and Fern, the little girl who understood their language.
The forty-seven black-and-white drawings by Garth Williams have all the wonderful detail and warmhearted appeal that children love in his work. Incomparably matched to E.B. White's marvelous story, they speak to each new generation, softly and irresistibly.
This beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little
and The Trumpet of the Swan
, is a classic of children's literature that is "just about perfect."
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.
E. B. White's Newbery Honor Book is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come. It contains illustrations by Garth Williams, the acclaimed illustrator of E.B. White's Stuart Little and Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series, among many other books.
Supports the Common Core State Standards
About the Author
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.