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4.2 out of 5 stars
Stuart Little
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was moved to write this review after reading some of the negative comments made about the book being boring, difficult to understand, or containing values that the parent did not want to pass on to the child. Stuart Little represents an important example of the some of the challenges of selecting reading materials for our children and tests us as parents in many ways. I didn't know how my boy would respond when I began reading it, since I knew it was one of those children's books that has been enjoyed by adults because of its adult humor, archaic language, few pictures. My 4 year old absolutely loves this book. We are on our second reading and a few nights ago, while he was laying in bed after our bedtime reading, he broke out laughing about how Stuart's brother, George, wanted to pour applesauce down the mousehole!

The book was written in 1945, so many of the cultural references are dated, including how gender roles are perceived. But part of our responsibilities as parents is to expose our children to the evolution of thought in our culture, and that includes finding ways to explain how people's behavior has change over the years. A young child has already likely experienced many different behaviors in the children around them from daycare, preschool, or even playgroups. What better way to have an opportunity to prepare your child for the many different views he or she will encounter.

But the message of Stuart Little is a powerful one that can be so useful to a child. Here is a 2-inch tall "person" who "looks like" a mouse, yet he is part of a human family. He has the most amazing obstacles in his life, yet he overcomes them with enthusiasm and joy. The use of actual sailing vocabulary is a wonderful choice by the author. What a great opportunity to expose our children to other language and to show them that specialized language exists for all fields of study, even hobbies. Doesn't even Winnie the Pooh have its own specialized vocabulary (smackrel, blustery day, etc.)?

Stuart doesn't always make the right choices. This provides another great opportunity for discussion, regardless of the child's age. I am a parent who doesn't want to reinforce some of the stereotypes of our past that get in the way of people connecting, whether they be gender inequities or other issues. But it is important that my child get a framework for understanding how the way people have acted toward one another. In the last chapter of the book, Stuart meets a very self-assured girl who, by the way, he asks out on a date is an outdated, but respectful and wonderful way. He winds up being unable to continue connecting with her after his carefully imagined plans don't go as he dreamed. He is upset because things didn't go his way and couldn't get past his disappointment. What a great thing to discuss with a child.

We also have to give our children credit for their intellectual abilities and imagination. I was quite surprised how my boy listens intently through the archaic language and vocabulary and finds the story.

Stuart Little is a great book for that next step for the young child who has only had picture books read to him or her so far. It is a good beginning book for parents to learn how to introduce their child to the varied, challenging, sometimes confusing world out there in a very non-threatening, interesting way. Don't underestimate this book.
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The most common complaint about Sutart Little is the ending, or lack of ending. I disagree. The story is one of growing up, and sadness, and yearning for something just out of reach. The brilliant E.B. White denies us a happy-Disney ending, avoids "closure". The story is just like life; it is a journey, not a package. The loose ends don't need to be cleared up with a sequel. Stuart has grown up and struck off on his own, the end. When I first read this story as a young boy, it gave me my first taste of melancholy. This should be the first "profound" book that a child reads, for it leaves you feeling sad, but hopeful.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Stuart Little is about a mouse who was born to a normal human family. Stuart must overcome large obstacles as a small being. One day Margalo, a bird, entered Stuart's life. They became instant friends. One day the family cat, Snowbell, and an alley cat came up with a plan to kill Margalo. Another bird overheard the plan and sent a note to Margalo. Margalo left and almost falls in love, but nothing cound keep Stuart from searching for Margalo. Stuart Little is a wonderful novel that appeals to children because of its curious blend of fantasy and reality. Children can relate to some of the obstacles Stuart encounters because of his size. This story helps children to learn to use determination in order to overcome obstacles they might face in life.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I fell in love with White's "Stuart Little" in the 4th grade, when my teacher read this gem of a book out loud to us. Even today, as an adult, the clever, jaunty Stuart Little is a favorite of mine. The book is about the adventures of Stuart, a small mouse who was born to human parents. From driving a model car given him by his dentist friend to his run-ins with the family cat, Stuart's innocent hi-jinx and fun-loving nature will keep kids and adults laughing. "Stuart Little" is a lively getaway from our sometimes violent and tumultuous world.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
"When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second child arrived . . . the baby looked much like a mouse in every way." (pg.1) In fact, her second child is a mouse; however, the family treats him like a member of the family. They never even say the m-word (mouse), as to not hurt Stuart's feelings. Throughout the book, Stuart encounters numerous exciting adventures, unknown to his protective family. Children love the idea that even though Stuart is 2inches-tall he still overcomes many obstacles. Stuart Little's emotions and adventures he experiences in this book are very similar to what children face every day; for example, going to the dentist, first love, being homesick, and bullies. One underlying theme I found within the book was accepting children for their differences and not sheltering them from lifes' experiences.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps my favorite children's book. Stuart's adventures and his zest for life make him one of children's literature's most memorable characters. I thought that "Stuart Little" was E.B. White's best book, far better than "Charlotte's Web."
My favorite parts of the book include the epic sailboat raise between the WASP and the LILLIAN B. WOMWATH in Central Park, with Stuart heroically helming the WASP to victory, especially Stuart's interview with the dentist who owns the WASP. "Do you drink?" "I do my work," said Stuart dryly.
Another great tale within the story is his date with the tiny girl, that he plans so mightily for only to have it be a disaster. . .his philosophical talk with the telephone repairman along the road. . .I felt that the ending of the book was just right, Stuart motoring off in his little car, looking for Margalo, not knowing where to find her but sensing that somehow he was going in the right direction. Like all great children's literature, "Stuart Little" I think also strikes a deep chord with adults. The book meant a lot to me, having read it as a child, when I read it for the first time to my own son.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2010
Initially, I found this book charming. Stuart's home life and the problems he encountered were amusing. I found it particularly funny when he got into a dispute with the cat about the abilities of his stomach muscles. And when he tried to prove his strength, he ended up rolled into the window shade. I could easily relate to Stuart's character at this point because I have often put myself into an embarrassing situation by trying to prove my point to someone.

I appreciated the developing relationship between Stuart and Margalo. However, by the time I finished the book, I decided that Stuart was pround and arrogant and his character annoyed me. Perhaps I read too much into his search for Margalo, but I was upset when he halted it in order to pursue Miss Harriet. I felt like he was cheating on Margalo. If I had been Harriet, I would have found the letter Stuart wrote offensive. He solicited her without ever having met her and attempted to convince her to hide his efforts to woo her from her parents, not a good start to a relationship in my opinion. I was embarrassed by the tantrum he threw when his canoe was destroyed and by the way he quickly gave up on fixing it. His character seemed unstable and did not develop through the book.

The ending was disappointing, cutting off abruptly while Stuart was still in the middle of his search for Margalo, but I'm not sure if E.B. White ever actually finished the book. If you want to read a book by E.B. White, I would recommend Charlotte's Web, which is fantastic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
Stuart Little
E.B. White
Stuart Little represents how people should get treated in life, equally. Stuart is a tiny mouse and an actual family adopts him. He starts out really scared because they are so much bigger than him and he has no idea what they are going to do with him. The Little family gave him a chance to live the life of a real person and Stuart had some wild adventures along the way. Sure there are some disadvantages of being a mouse, but he made every second worth while. Stuart is like an actual son to them because they loved him in every aspect of life. I loved this book because it showed how everyone should be treated in life. If everyone were treated equal throughout the world, I would be in heaven. I gave it a 5 star because it kept me in the reading mood. I don�t really like to read that much, but Stuart Little made me give reading a second chance. Stuart Little is one of the most amazing books because it shows you how lucky you truly are to be living like a human being.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
The fact that the hero of the story is a mouse does not make this a good book for young children. The language is difficult and the humor is rather understated, i.e. "The doctor was delighted with Stuart, and said that it was very unusual for an American family to have a mouse." At its heart, Stuart Little is a comedy of manners, and the fantasy takes a back seat to the witty dialogue and neat prose. Children will enjoy it at ten and love it in adulthood.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
"Stuart Little" is a very, very good book and he is the cutest mouse. My favorite part of the book was when he got stuck in the refrigerator and when he got into the trash can. And I liked when the man at the dentist's office talked silly. And when Snowbell said, "The little chippy flew the coop!"
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