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to think that Charlotte's Web is inappropriate for a 4 year old ?

(162 Posts)
OnEdge Mon 26-Sep-11 20:49:17

My DD 4 has just started in reception. Each morning they choose a book to read and bring it home and we read it to her. I am not familiar with this book. So we all settled down and I began reading it to my 1,2 and 4 year old. I had to really quickly sensor it. I think that the threat of death to the pig is a bit much for a 4 year old to understand, there is reference to a man fetching his axe to kill the baby pig. Also, she is trying to grasp English, and this is an American book. Had I read it out word for word, she would not have understood much of it, and the bit she understood would have disturbed her.

Do you think IABU ? Or is it inappropriate for her ?

Georgimama Mon 26-Sep-11 20:50:47

YABU Charlotte's Web is a beautiful beautiful story.

Esian Mon 26-Sep-11 20:52:06

I would say it is a bit old for reception age children. Bloody depressing too, I used to cry buckets over it.

chillikate Mon 26-Sep-11 20:55:00

My 4 year old DS loves the film. He also know that bacon, sausages and pork are made from dead pigs, burgers & beef are from dead cows and lamb is from dead sheep.


Surely at 4 she knows where pork comes from?! It's a lovely book, I read it at 4 or 5 and yes it's sad but so are lots of things

GingerWrath Mon 26-Sep-11 20:56:07

Read it to my DD at 4yo, YABU

OnEdge Mon 26-Sep-11 20:56:43

they go on about getting the smoke house ready for the Christmas ham shock, and the rat tells the pig he is going to die, and the pig is distraught because he wants to live. Bit much for a 4 year old I think. i wrapped it up and abandoned it.

Georgimama how old were you when you first read it ?

whackamole Mon 26-Sep-11 20:57:37

YABU. And they speak English in America you know, unless she is studying the spelling of 'color' and the like then surely that is a non-issue.

GingerWrath Mon 26-Sep-11 20:59:00

DD had already experienced death, her DGF and our 2 dogs had died before I read it to her, fact of life I am afraid.

OnEdge Mon 26-Sep-11 20:59:09

No, I havn't told her she is eating dead animal yet, why would I want to upset her when she is so young ? There is plenty of time for that when she is older and more mature and able to deal with it.

SuePurblybilt Mon 26-Sep-11 20:59:30

I think it's more U not to teach children where their food comes from tbh.

HowToLookGoodGlaikit Mon 26-Sep-11 21:01:29

My 3 yar old watched the film over & over during her "piggy" phase. Wonderful story!

Georgimama Mon 26-Sep-11 21:02:45

I think I saw the film first and I was probably about 4. I did cry but in a good way.

DS is 4 and hasn't seen or had it read to him but you've just reminded me about a great book so that will change soon. He has known since year dot where food comes from - there is a farm across the road and down the road is another which until recently sold meat direct. I have taken him into their cold store since he was a baby and he has seen the sides of meat hanging up. He is not distressed by this knowledge at all.

AuntieMoanica Mon 26-Sep-11 21:02:48

if it's going to upset her, she may resent the fact you haven't told her food comes from.

AuntieMoanica Mon 26-Sep-11 21:03:24


sorry, eating cake and typing never was my forte blush

Ilikepinkwine Mon 26-Sep-11 21:03:39

Your child, your choice. I think you under-estimate your DD though. My children have always known where their food comes from and accept it as part of life. Children tend to just shrug these things off and move onto the next thing ime.

Jux Mon 26-Sep-11 21:04:17

Absolutely with you SuePurblybilt.

Do you not call it lamb, chicken, fish etc? Are your children going to be subjected to some revelation when they're older; best way of ensuring vegetarianism in them, if you ask me. And not socially responsible not to tell them where their food comes from. What do they think farmers are for?

JellicleCat Mon 26-Sep-11 21:05:47

Well the whole point of the story is that the pig isn't killed. AYBU? Frankly it depends on the child. I read Charlotte's Web to my DD when she was 6 and she loved it, but I wouldn't have read it to the younger ones simply because it would have been too complex for them. There are plenty of other "inappropriate" children's stories - the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood is pretty scary. I would expect most books that came home from school to be appropriate, but that doesn't mean every child will enjoy them.

KittyFane Mon 26-Sep-11 21:06:19

Too old for a 4 year old. DD (8) read half of it and stopped... I'd say 10/11.

diggingintheribs Mon 26-Sep-11 21:07:23

I think you are putting adult understandings onto her.

I used to give my sone the sanitised version of the 3 little pigs (ie they all survive and the wolf gets a badly burnt tail).

My Dad read him the real version and he wasn't traumatised. He just didn't see it the way I did. He is 4 - he doesn't understand fully what death is. Wrapping him in cotton wool will only make him fragile emotionally when he is older. Gruesome nursery rhymes and sad stories are a good way for young children to deal with these complex emotions in a safe environment.

And YABU not to tell her where meat comes from! I think you are underestimating what she can deal with to be honest.

Blimey. How does your DD cope when you take her in the butchers?

Esian Mon 26-Sep-11 21:09:28

The op isn't asking about whether it's suitable to tell children where meat comes from though. She's asking about a pretty harrowing tale where the 'meat' doesn't want to be killed and suffers human emotions and feelings about it!

Georgimama Mon 26-Sep-11 21:10:25

I obviously remember the book differently - the pig didn't really feature very prominently for me at all. It was all about the spider and her love for her spiderbabies to me.

LingDiLong Mon 26-Sep-11 21:11:13

My 4 and 6 year old were given a hand me down copy of the book version of the film iyswim - not the proper Charlotte's Web. It never occurred to me that it was inappropriate! They both do know where their meat comes from and are unperturbed. In fact my 4 year old DS refers to our leather sofa as 'the dead cow sofa' without being worried about that fact at all.

So YANBU to think your 4 year old isn't ready for this story but plenty of other 4 year olds are.

OnEdge Mon 26-Sep-11 21:11:26

whackamole Yes I know they speak English in America, but there is a great deal of difference in the way they use it and at the moment, she is trying to learn English. I think it is confusing to drop in Americanisms such as " You gotta come see this"

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