"Charlotte's Web" is a classic children's novel by E. B. White in which an orb-weaving spider named Charlotte saves the life of a young pig named Wilbur by weaving written messages about him into her webs, thus making him a celebrity. White was inspired to write the story by a real-life incident in which he had unsuccessfully tried to save a dying pig.
The novel, while fictional and whimsical, contains many factual elements regarding the lives of spiders. Charlotte's full name, Charlotte A. Cavatica, was derived from a real-life gray orb-weaving spider that White had named Charlotte Epeira, and Araneus Cavaticus, the scientific name of a type of orb-weaving spider. The ending, in which Charlotte dies and her many children hatch from an egg sack and float away on silk, is an accurate depiction of the life cycle of an orb-weaving spider. While the book's publishers originally tried to convince White to change the ending to a happier one, the realistic ending has earned it much acclaim over the years.
"Charlotte's Web" has sold over 45 million copies, is 78th on the all-time bestselling hardback book list, and has been translated into 23 languages as of 2015. It has been adapted to film twice; first as an animated film in 1973 and then a live-action version in 2006.