White lived to the age of 86. Though admired for his essays, his fiction and his revision of William Strunk’s Elements of Style (still a widely used guide to writing), it is Charlotte’s Web that keeps his name before the public, generation after generation. Some 200,000 copies are sold every year, and it has been translated into more than 30 languages. The book repeatedly tops lists compiled by teachers and librarians as one of the best children’s books of all time.
Looking back on the success of Charlotte’s Web a decade after it was published, White wrote in the New York Times in 1961 that writing the book “started innocently enough, and I kept on because I found it was fun.” He then added: “All that I ever hope to say in books is that I love the world. I guess you can find that in there, if you dig around. Animals are part of my world and I try to report them faithfully and with respect.”