New Book: The Story of Charlotte’s Web; Bob Mankoff on The Secret Science of Cartooning

From StarNewsOnline, the blog Bookmarks, July 2, 2011:  “The Story Behind ‘Charlotte’s Web'” — this review of a new book by Michael Sims, The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B.White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the birth of an American Classic (Walker & Co., June 2011).  [ The cover of the book can be found at  Barnes and; provides the cover as well an inside look]

Cartoon sidebar:

Those familiar with E.B. White’s history at The New Yorker will remember that he tinkered with cartoon captions and occasionally provided ideas for cartoons. His most famous contribution was the caption he re-worked for a Carl Rose drawing.  Rose wrote in his 1946 collection One Dozen Roses that he submitted the drawing ( and it was bought) with the following caption:

“Mother, if I eat my spinach, may I have some chocolate pudding.”

“No dear, there isn’t any chocolate pudding today.’

“Well, then, the hell with the spinach.”


When the drawing was published December 8, 1928, Rose’s caption had been re-worked by White, and had become:

“It’s broccoli, dear.”

“I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”

Rose wrote that after the cartoon appeared:

“…the lit’r’y reviewers wrote of it, some at considerable length, and spinach became a similie for sham or fake and I think Irving Berlin wrote a song …using the line as a title.”


From On the Media, June 24, 2011, “The Secret Science ( Or is it Art?) Of Cartooning”   this transcript of an interview with Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s Cartoon Editor.