Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Can we read it again, Momma?

(Warning: Spoiler ahead) Big boy and I finished Stuart Little last night. I'm almost ashamed to admit that despite being a children's librarian and erstwhile instructor in children's literature, I've never read it before. I brought it home because we watched most of Stuart Little 2 on t.v. the other night. My budding knight errant was entranced by the adventures of this tiny hero with the can-do attitude. I checked out the video so he could watch the whole thing and brought the book home as well. Traveling in children's literature circles as I do (at least virtually), I'd heard much criticism of the movies; particularly that they strayed far from the book. Which, of course, they have, but I found much in Stuart Little 2 to appreciate. As a mother, I was glad to see consequences for lying and to see the attitude that even if you are small, you still have much to contribute. Besides, "Little hi, little low--little hey, little ho!" is so much fun to say and a worthy addition to our family lexicon. I've also heard about the controversy that the book created when it was first published. I must say that I found it to be a better book than Charlotte's Web (which is a fine, fine piece of literature). I know some feel that Stuart Little is book for older children, but my big boy, at 4 1/2, was captivated by the adventuresome plot. I will be interested to see what other ideas bubble to the surface of his thinking later.

Stuart Little is a pleasure to read aloud. White's writing has long been praised for being uniquely American, folksy, and graceful. I find all that to be true. I can only apologize for not doing it justice as I seem to be half-asleep when bedtime storytime comes. Of course, being a Bryn Mawr graduate, I do have a soft spot for E.B. White, who in turn had a soft spot for the Bryn Mawr woman in his life.

I was worried that my dreamy boy would be crushed when Stuart does not actually find Margalo at the end of the story. Instead of crying or asking "why?" my sweet boy just turned to me and said, "Can we read it again? All of it?" So we immediately turned back to the beginning and reread the first chapter before lights out.

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