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Tuck Everlasting Paperback – August 21, 2007
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“Rarely does one find a book with such prose. Flawless in both style and structure, it is rich in imagery and punctuated with light fillips of humor.” ―The Horn Book Magazine
“Beautiful and descriptive language is the strength of Babbitt's fantasy about Winnie and her encounter with the Tuck family, who cause her--and readers--to ponder an important question: What would it be like to live forever?” ―Booklist
“Probably the best work of our best children's novelist.” ―Harper's
“A fearsome and beautifully written book that can't be put down or forgotten.” ―The New Yorker
“Exciting and excellently written.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Natalie Babbitt's great skill is spinning fantasy with the lilt and sense of timeless wisdom of the old fairy tales. . . . It lingers on, haunting your waking hours, making you ponder.” ―The Boston Globe
“With its serious intentions and light touch the story is, like the Tucks, timeless.” ―Chicago Sun-Times
“This book is as shapely, crisp, sweet, and tangy as a summer-ripe pear.” ―Entertainment Weekly
About the Author
Artist and writer Natalie Babbitt (1932–2016) is the award-winning author of the modern classic Tuck Everlasting and many other brilliantly original books for young people. As the mother of three small children, she began her career in 1966 by illustrating The Forty-Ninth Magician, written by her husband, Samuel Babbitt. She soon tried her own hand at writing, publishing two picture books in verse. Her first novel, TheSearch for Delicious, was published in 1969 and established her reputation for creating magical tales with profound meaning. Kneeknock Rise earned Babbitt a Newbery Honor in 1971, and she went on to write―and often illustrate―many more picture books, story collections,and novels. She also illustrated the five volumes in the Small Poems series by Valerie Worth. In 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture, and in 2016 a musical version premiered on Broadway. Born and raised in Ohio, Natalie Babbitt lived her adult life in the Northeast.
Top customer reviews
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The main thought of the book is, "would you want to live forever?" Good question! We follow the main character, Winnie, as she tackles this complicated decision.
At the beginning of the story Winnie is a very sheltered and safe little girl (10 years old). She plays in her carefully groomed front yard, watching things around her (including a thirsty toad). Her world is safe, slow, and somnolent - seemingly napping in the hot, dry sun.
The catalyst for change occurs when a man in a yellow suit (no, not hat, you Curious George fans). He is asking questions and seems unduly curious when they (the man and Winnie) hear a strange, almost elfin tune. The man is excited. The girl (Winnie)is motivated to make a surge forward. She runs into the forest where she discovers a young man (Jesse Tuck) drinking from a fountain hidden under stones at the base of a tree. I know, it sounds like a fairy tale. The story does come across as magical. The question is do you believe? Does Winnie believe?
Winnie is taken (kidnapped) back to the Tuck home. The house is hidden deep in the country, secluded and existing in a time of its own. The Tucks move Winnie from her safe life to a different world. Their home is messy and disorganized in contrast to her own neat home. The Tucks are delighted to meet her and treat her like a treasured family member. This also is in contrast to her own more reserved family.
Throughout her time at the Tucks they tell Winnie their story. Does she believe they will live forever? Will she keep their secret? Does Winnie want eternal life?
Different family members present different perspectives to Winnie. Jesse (stuck at about 17) is full of life and is excited by all the world has to offer. The patriarch of the family (simply called Tuck) takes her out to the lake to explain his viewpoint. He points out to Winnie the way the tides of the pond move, all the bugs, and birds, and etc. He explains how everything is born, grows, is in a constant state of flux, and then dies. His family has stopped changing, maturing, growing.
The man in the yellow suit eventually finds Winnie and the Tucks. His plan is to sell the water to "worthy" customers who can afford his hefty price. The matriarch of the family (Mae) kills the man She cannot allow the secret (to her the disaster, the epidemic) to spread to an unsuspecting public. My daughter reminds me too of what a burden this would be to the earth if no one ever died.
Mae is faced with hanging - something which would surely lead to the exposure of her secret. Winnie helps Mae escape. This is a huge departure for her. It is definitely not something she would have done before the Tucks. She is part of their world,their family now. They love each other. The act is not a legal thing to do but is it a moral thing to do? The Tucks have changed her and Winnie is willing, indeed eager, to help. The consequences are grave. Her family is shamed in front of the whole town. When questioned Winnie can only answer that she did it for love. This her mom understands. Her family forms a fortress around her then, protecting her. Winnie comes to recognize their love for her as well.
Before Jesse leaves Winnie for the last time, he gives her a vial of the Spring water. He asks her to think about drinking it when she turns 17 so they can explore all of eternity together. Will she or won't she?
The final scene is of Tuck and Mae arriving back in the main town many years later. Everything has changed. The reader has the sense that the Tucks are getting more and more stretched - like Bilbo in LOTR. Their anchor to life is back 100 years. The longer their bodies live, the less they themselves seem to be part of the living world. The reader eventually finds out if Winnie drank the water or not. The answer makes the Tucks both sad and happy. The answer also leaves the reader questioning her decision and pondering their own reactions. Overall, a very satisfying book.
At the beginning it starts out as a small mystery for the reader, later on turning into a short story definitely focused on showing the main character’s detailed thoughts.
An interesting story with one main theme -- if you could live forever, would you?
Tuck Everlasting keeps you wondering what the characters are going to do, and if the decisions of the characters are good ones.
A must read, with a GREAT epilogue!
F.Y.I. This review was written by an eleven year old home schooler.
Most recent customer reviews
And I dislike that the stranger didn’t have a reason to have a name
Overall this movel is awful