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Dear Kay,

On the road a bit these days, I’m all ears for audiobooks. I took a break from the endless sea adventures of Patrick O’Brian for a visit with one of my heroes, E. B. White.

E. B. White reads Charlotte’s Web as if he’s sitting across the room, right there, even though this recording was made decades ago.

Even if you think you know this story by heart, it’s something to hear it as the author himself reads it. It clocks in at under four hours, equal parts funny, tender, and heartbreaking. There is no audiobook more brilliant than this one.

If you’re not currently a subscriber to, you can get a free audiobook edition of Charlotte’s Web from if you click here as part of a 30-day free trial.



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Illustration by Garth Williams from the cover of Charlotte’s Web.


  • Be sure to check with your local library to see if they make audiobooks available via the Libby or Hoopla app. Sometimes you have to wait a bit – I just placed a hold for Ann’s recommended version of Charlotte’s Web through the Libby app, and it’ll be delivered in about four weeks – just enough to build anticipation. Such a great resource!

  • Totally agree. It captivated our children (now 31 & 27) on road trips and is so dear to me that I have it in my “cloud”. It’s a wonderful antidote to a traffic jam. “This is a story of the barn…”

    • Diane, our family was right behind you (30 next month and 26) listening (on cassette tapes, no less). This recommendation makes me so happy, and brings back miles of memories. Every word perfect.

      • Same! Cassette tapes on endless play during my daughter’s child hood… I had entire paragraphs memorized. This is my favorite book, and the audio version is a National Treasure!!! (EB White had a home here in Maine, and it is said that Charlotte’s Web was set at our Blue Hill Fair.)

        • Also, Pam, my kids are same age as yours 30 and 26! ❤️

  • We love listening to E.B.White narrating his books. He also narrates Trumpet of the Swan along w a talented trumpet player in parts.

    Other favorite audiobooks to listen on car trips are the Harry Potter series narrated by Stephen Frye!

    • I second the recommendation for Trumpet of the Swan. A wonderful story, less known but just as charming.

    • Trumpet of the Swan read by E.B. White is by far the best audio book I’ve ever read. We listened to it on a family road trip once– nearly drove off the road because we were laughing so hard!

    • I am making my way through re-listening to Harry Potter, but read by Jim Dale who is marvelous.
      I’ve been meaning to listen to Charlotte’s Web, thanks for the reminder. It was the favorite book of mystery author Louise Penny, who tells a very funny story of how she was DEATHLY afraid of spiders and it was a long time before she realized what Charlotte was. Luckily, it cured her of her phobia.
      Wind in the Willows is another favorite I listen to from time to time–never read it as a child but found the audio book several years ago.

  • Our library system has an app called Libby or Overdrive from which We can borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks. It’s free for those who cannot lay out money for Audible. Your library system may call it something else. Ask them.

    I see there are three holds on Charlotte’s Web at the moment but there are lots of other classic and/or popular children’s books, like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, The Hobbit, the Little House books, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

  • I listened to this book on a long road trip a few years ago and found it delightful.

  • A great children’s book is great no matter your age! I can also recommend Audible’s version of Huckleberry Finn, read by Elijah Woods – he does an excellent job. And all the Narnia books, each one read by a different Very Famous Person (Derek Jacobi does the first story).

  • Coincidentally I have a weaver just like that this morning!

  • Thank you for this suggestion. I’ve just put a hold on this through the Libby app (2 weeks wait) and look forward to listening! I also highly recommend the “Winnie the Pooh” series, read by Peter Dennis, an English actor who for three decades performed readings of the Pooh books in theaters around the world – enchanting! (He was the only person authorized to do so by the Milne family).

  • I’ve never been much for books on disc or cloud but I might have to change my mind on this. I love that book and miss reading it aloud to my 35 and 17 year old kids.

  • My eyes are misting just thinking about this. Thanks Ann!

  • In true Kelly Ann fashion, I am delighted that this is possible; however, I fear that I would cry the whole way through.

  • The most precious memory of my childhood is my older sister reading Charlotte ‘s Web to me and my 4 younger sisters.We had A large bedroom with 3 sets of bunk beds .Every night with A flashlight she would read it to us!

  • I love the Aubrey/Maturin series, we have listened to it about 3 times through on long car trips. Through loss and reattachment of arms. I’ve never considered knitting to a book. Thanks for the idea.

  • Use your library their material is free.
    More money for CV your stash

  • I was culling books the other day, but couldn’t part with Charlotte, Stuart or Swan. Even tho they’ve not been opened in over 40 years.

    Maybe it’s time to open again?

  • Oh my gosh!I love E.B. White and have often shared the letter he wrote in 1951, in response to a complaint from the ASPCA regarding the licensing of his dachshund, Minnie. If you don’t know it, please google it. If you can’t find it, I’ll send you a link 🙂

  • Am I the only person who has thought for the last 55 years or so that E. B. White would be female? I’m still learning to never assume….. And once again MDK teaches me something new!
    The public library system in Tasmania uses Libby, off to place a hold.

  • Off to spend an Audible point. My younger brother, who was developmentally disabled, adored this book, and I read it to him many times. I will be wonderful, and probably a bit teary, to have EBWhite read it to me.

  • Thanks for your suggestion to listen to Charlotte’s Web while knitting. I read it to my 2 children and to my elementary school classes every year for 28 years, so yes, I’ve read It 30 times, can recite certain parts, and cry at the end every single time.

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