Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review: Stuart Little by E.B. White

Mr. and Mrs. Little's youngest son Stuart is born surprisingly small, and rather mouse-like. But they love him just the same, and choose to overlook (and never reference) his appearance.

This loosely-woven story tells of Stuarts mishaps (like getting stuck in a rolled up window shade) and adventures (like sailing a toy ship out on the lake.) Eventually he befriends an injured bird, and when she suddenly disappears he sets off to find her. More mishaps and adventures follow, right up until the abrupt ending.

My kids and I read Charlotte's Web together last year, and we all really loved it. When I came across this one by the same author, I couldn't really remember if I had read it as a kid. But I figured we could give it a try, and see if Stuart was on the level with Charlotte. Sadly, he was not.

It kind of seems like people either love this book or hate it. And while I wouldn't necessarily say I hated it (because that's a bit strong of a word) I definitely didn't like it. My kids got a kick out of a couple of the sillier scenes, but they absolutely did not like the ending. (Leaving it up to the reader to speculate about the outcome is okay in an adult or young-adult novel, but not a children's book.)

I didn't freak out too much about the premise, like some people have. Sure, a mouse being born to human parents is weird, but in fantasy fiction anything can happen, so I can get past that. What bothered me more was the lack of a real story line (or even any really compelling elements, for that matter.) Nothing about the book seemed to fit together, or have much of a purpose.

Obviously, I don't recommend this book (even for the younger readers in your life.) If you want an E.B. White classic, go for Charlotte's Web instead.

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