Friday, March 03, 2017

Stuart Little

Stuart Little. E.B. White. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1945. 131 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When Mrs. Frederick C. Little's second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than a mouse.

Premise/plot: Stuart Little acts more like a mouse than a son--for better or worse--in E.B. White's first novel. In the first few chapters he proves himself mostly of use around the house: getting things out of the drain, unsticking piano keys, etc. But for most of the book he is emotionally disconnected from his parents and his brother, George. At first this is running around New York City on his own and having adventures that a 'normal' child could never have. But as the novel progresses,he leaves home without thinking twice about it, with no regrets, with no plans to return. He leaves in search of a bird that has flown away after receiving a warning note that her life was in danger. Stuart knows nothing of the note just that his new friend is gone. Little visits a doctor and borrows a toy car that apparently has a real engine and runs on real gas. The doctor apparently sees him not as a child of a couple he knows well, but an adult mouse. The book ends with him no closer to finding his friend.

My thoughts: I should have listened to my mother. She told me that it was disappointing and strange, and that it had no real ending. I agree. This animal fantasy was odd start to finish. I would have preferred either a story of a small mouse-child that acted like a child, loved his parents, loved his brother, went to school, etc. OR a story of a mouse that acted like a little man: dressed in clothes, drove a car, had a job, etc.

The chapter where the school superintendent was so desperate for a substitute teacher that he hires a mouse off the street was peculiar and strangely entertaining.

Law is much more solemn than advice (93)
Summertime is important. It's like a shaft of sunlight. Or a note in music...or the way the back of a baby's neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy... Never forget your summertimes, my dears. (98)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

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