Sunday, July 8, 2012

What Am I Missing?

I just finished reading Stuart Little aloud to my 7-year-old and it left both of us a little perplexed.  First of all, I'm not sure I ever read it in its entirety as a child.  I have memories of the Central Park boat scene, but whether those are from actually reading the book (or part of it) or from some general source of cultural literacy, I'm not sure.  I had no recollection of the search for Margalo or the fact that the books ends (spoiler alert!) without her being found, which my daughter and I found very unsatisfying.  I also found Stuart's character inconsistent.  His can-do attitude during his search for Margalo and his substitute-teaching stint seemed to be directly at odds with his despair when his boating plan with Harriet doesn't work out.  Although the language and writing were enjoyable and the plot sometimes delightfully absurd, in the end I didn't see what all the fuss was about. 

Does anyone who loves it care to enlighten me?


  1. It's definitely a strange book, one that's probably more amusing for its droll wit to adults than satisfying to children.

  2. I totally agree wtih you! I read this a few years ago, because I'd never read it as a kid, and it's such a classic. And I felt the same way. I don't get it.

  3. It's an exceedingly strange book. I don't read it out loud because I think trying to explain it makes it even worse -- you can't just ride over the bizarre bits. I looked back at my comment on the birthday post and for "huge jump in sophistication" you can read "willingness to accept the surreal." I think it's much more a reflection on White's adult life and feelings than a plot. By surreal I don't mean a kid born as a mouse, but Stuart's feelings and decisions, I think.

    Trumpet of the Swan is more kid friendly. This ones just gets in the boxed sets because of Charlotte's Web.