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Tuck Everlasting

April 7, 2008

Tuck EverlastingWhat if you could live forever? This is not the sort of question that ever crossed ten year old Winifred Foster’s mind before she met the Tuck family. All Winnie was looking for when she entered the woods behind her house early one morning was a little adventure. What she found was a family of four who hadn’t aged in over eighty years and a hidden spring by a large tree that holds the promise of eternal life.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit is a slim novel for children between 9 and 12 years old that asks the age old question – if you had the chance to live forever, would you take it? Winnie is an altogether lovely little girl faced with some hefty choices. Is it a good idea to keep the Tuck’s secret, even from her own family? Should she, when she is a bit older, drink from the spring herself?   

I was immediately impressed by Babbitt’s writing style as soon as I had read the first beautiful paragraph:

The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning. The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too much color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder, no relieving rain. These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after.

Tuck Everlasting is described perfectly by The Chicago Sun-Times: “With its serious intentions and light touch, the story is, like the Tucks, timeless.” This book, albeit a short one, is wonderfully inventive and really makes you think about your own mortality and what living is really all about. Published in the early 1970’s, Tuck Everlasting is at times whimsical and sweet, other times serious and sad and altogether a perfect little gem of a book. My only disappointment with the book was that it was entirely too short!

I would highly recommend it and am so glad to have started off my Once Upon a Time Challenge with Tuck Everlasting. I just wish that I actually read it when I was a child, since I am sure that it would have been one of my favorites.

Tuck Everlasting

The movie version of Tuck Everlasting was released in 2002 and so after finishing the book I figured it would be nice to see how it translated to film.

Unfortunately, the movie didn’t capture the same feeling I had while reading the book and I found myself dozing off after a half hour – never a good beginning to a film! I finally decided to call it a night and have not felt the desire to watch the rest of the movie since. Oh well, at least the book was enjoyable!

On another note, I just wanted to point out that the book cover for Tuck Everlasting is so much more attractive than the film poster. The books faded photograph and beautiful typography really evokes a certain mystery, while the movie poster is pure Hollywood fluff. Which do you prefer?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2008 8:48 pm

    I remember having to read this book in the 5th grade (don’t remember if I finished it) and then watching some ’70’s made for TV movie on it. Now, that was cheesy.

    I haven’t seen the new movie, but I agree with you, the new book cover is beautiful, while the movie cover, like all movie covers, has to superimposed the big actor heads.
    Although, I’ve seen some screen captures of the movie, and it looked visually appealing. Then again, maybe it’s because I’ve seen the 70’s version which is not so pretty. All I remember is that Jesse Tuck has this Greg Brady afro thing going on.

  2. April 7, 2008 10:08 pm

    I always like book covers better – usually they’re more muted, more understated. Unless it’s a mass market paperback, in which case bring on the loud colors and the comic sans serif. I actually had no interest in reading this, much as I love to read books on which movies have been based (I like to be able to say, ‘No, but I read the book.’ I know! What a nerd), this had never appealed to me before. It does now, though. Loved that opening paragraph.

  3. April 7, 2008 10:10 pm

    Even now students connect with this book. I didn’t realize that it was first published in the 70’s.

    Of course my students were quite shocked that I had read The Outsiders when I was in junior high. They liked it even though it was SOOOOOO OLD. 😉

  4. April 8, 2008 12:10 am

    I really enjoyed this book too, but my daughter.. not so much.

  5. April 8, 2008 8:07 am

    Raych – I always love to read the book before I see the movie, although sometimes I don’t have the time!

    Donna – what type of teacher are you?

  6. April 8, 2008 8:54 am

    What a nice review! This is one of my favorite books by Natalie Babbitt. She’s such a beautiful writer! And it’s a wonderful book for the classroom…I used it as a novel study with my 6th graders for years, until the movie came out and took away the element of surprise from the book.

  7. Simran permalink
    April 8, 2008 9:37 am

    This books promises to be a great read, especially due to the fact that she discovers a new world and magic potions so to say through a wood behind her house. Such books that talk of fantasy worlds totally impress and intrigue me. Recently, I have been reading the famous fantasy novels of CS Lewis- The Chronicles of Narnia, (which are also entered throught a wardrobe and a wood) and am highly impressed by the author’s imagination as well as the few well-described war sequences in the stories and of course the magical land of Narnia itsellf! Since reading these and Lord of the Rings and of course Harry Potter, I’ve become an ardent fan of books that deal with new utopic worlds.
    In fact, Disney and Walden are coming up with the latest Narnia movie-Prince Caspian, this May 16th. It promises to be awesome by the looks of the trailer. The very hot Ben Barnes is playing the character of Prince Caspian!! I am soo awaiting this release.

  8. April 8, 2008 12:06 pm

    This was one of my favorite books growing up. I must ave read it half a dozen times. Thanks for the review!

  9. April 8, 2008 3:32 pm

    I have yet to read the book though I no doubt will someday. However I loved the movie. I thought is conveyed the negative side of living forever very successfully. I also thought the film had a slight bit of oddity to it that made it interesting. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it, but that is often the way of book to film translations. They seldom measure up.

  10. April 8, 2008 3:52 pm

    I have seen the movie, but haven’t read the book. Thanks to your review, I’ll definitely be checking it out. I remember thinking really hard about what I would choose: immortality at any cost? Or living the details. I’m not sure I’ve figured it out even now.

  11. April 8, 2008 6:42 pm

    I have not read the book, but I thought the movie was very sweet. I have to agree with you, though, I never liked the movie poster that they came up with.

    Thanks for the review, I’ve been wanting to read this one!

  12. April 8, 2008 10:01 pm

    I never read the book as a kid, but I did own it. I enjoyed the movie, but now I think I’ll read the book. Your reviews are always well written, well thought out and informative. Thanks.

  13. April 9, 2008 3:38 am

    I’ve been meaning to read this forever and it’s been bumped up the list thanks to your review, thanks!

  14. April 9, 2008 11:40 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed the book! Too bad they couldn’t make the movie more enjoyable.

    I definitely like the cover of the book much better than the movie poster 🙂

  15. April 9, 2008 5:38 pm

    I LOVE this book. I read it once when I was in middle school and cried near the end. I think I’m going to figure out a way to nominate it for my Books Into Movies reading group for June. It’s about time for a re-read!

    I much prefer the many beautiful book covers to that poster.

  16. April 13, 2008 1:40 am

    Great review! I’m so glad I finally read this too. Better late than never! Of course the book cover is much better than the movie poster. I’m a little curious to see the film, just to compare. I’ll have to see if it’s available here.

  17. July 31, 2009 11:08 am

    My mum bought me this book as part of one of my Christmas pile of books (every Christmas was a guarantee of at least 15 books – heaven for summer holidays!) and Ive loved it for years. And now I read things like its a modern day classic and I totally agree. The movie was more than terrible, and it reminds me of how bad Playing Beatie Bow (the movie) was and I adored that book by Ruth Park. Sometimes I wish Hollywood would leave some things alone

  18. March 30, 2010 3:09 am

    Tuck Everlasting has been my favorite book for a long time! Great post!

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