Saturday, June 25, 2011

The first book review of the summer... Stuart Little

The reading project I dove into upon finishing the school year was actually the Hunger Games trilogy. I have MUCH to say about that; that post will have to wait. Actually, I think that is going to take me more than one post.

I'll start myself off with something easier: Stuart Little. This was my daughters' most recent bedtime story. And while I'm at it, can I just say how much I love carrying on this tradition? My dad read me a chapter each night when I was a kid (the Bobbsey Twins books were our favorites), and I love that I'm giving my girls this memory.

This was my first reading of the classic story by E.B. White.

One night, a few chapters in, the beauty of the writing itself really struck me. The flow of the language is just remarkable. The way he chose words and fit them together - I was stunned. It's subtle, and it's truly art.

To say this story is fantastical and imaginative is an understatement. The author presents the absurd in such a frank way, and that's precisely what had us giggling. Stuart is the second child of a man and woman, and he is a mouse. He is a human, but he is a mouse. The first half of the book details various disjointed stories about Stuart figuring out a way to turn on a faucet, or getting trapped in a window shade, or sailing a toy boat on a lake in the park. The second half of the book is centered around his quest to find the bird that had stayed with his family in the winter (it seems that he loves her). The author treats this as a series of little vignettes as well, rather than a narrative, so it is rather jarring when the book simply ends with no resolution to his journey.

I haven't seen the Stuart Little movie, but I can't imagine how this book would translate to the screen; they must have written a completely different storyline.

My favorite part of the book was when Stuart taught school for a day. This was a great example of the wit, whimsy and style of the book as a whole. "Charming" is the word that springs primarily to mind. The girls and I discussed how inspired we were that the author gave his imagination free reign. They both said they like to write stories, and hope to still have that much imagination when they are adults.

All in all, I found this book endearing, although I was suprised that it was a collection of scenes rather than a story. We read Trumpet of the Swan as a bedtime story, and we have read Charlotte's Web on our own, and those books both have beginnings and endings. All three of us were inspired by the author's skill and imagination, so much so that the girls actually vocalized a desire to be able to write like that.

A role model of a book!

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