March 22, 2017
Charlotte's Web is a significant book in my life, in that it's the first chapter book I ever read all by myself. I was five years old, the same age Otter was when I read it to him. We read it over several bedtimes, a chapter or two a night.
On the night this conversation occurred, a Friday night, we had six chapters to go. I figured three chapters on Friday night, three on Saturday night. But after panel eight above, there would be no stopping. Otter was unwilling to put the book down for the evening until he had learned Charlotte's fate. I warned him that some sad parts might be coming, but he said he'd rather get the sad over with than feel sad the next day. Every few minutes, he muttered: "I hope Charlotte doesn't die."
This was Otter's first literary death — always a traumatic moment in any reader's life. Now, all these years later, Otter and Flapjack are hardened against such authorial manipulations. Recently, Otter noticed that the book Flapjack was reading had a dog on the cover, and the following conversation ensued:
Otter: "You have to be careful with books about dogs."
Flapjack: "Yeah. They either get lost or they die."
Otter: "Or they get lost and then they die."
Flapjack: "They didn't even confirm Old Yeller had rabies. They just shot him."
Otter: "They had to. It's a book about a dog."