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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the sparkling nature descriptions in Tuck Everlasting are great introductions to lyrical prose. The main character uses her ingenuity to rescue a friend from a risky situation. Kids who stick with the novel through the (intentionally) sleepy opening are rewarded with a humorous and moving story, as well as unforgettable descriptions of the natural world.
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What's the story?
The Tucks have discovered the Fountain of Youth -- but is it a blessing or a curse? Ten-year-old Winnie must consider this question even as she is kidnapped, witnesses a murder, and assists in a jailbreak. Along the way, the reader is treated to a richly imagined setting that's every bit as memorable as the story.
Is it any good?
This is such a timeless story that kids who miss the context clues might be surprised to discover at the end of the book that it's set in the 1880s. In many ways, the story is a fairy tale, with a magical spring, a kidnapped heroine, an enchanted handsome prince, and even a bittersweet ending. Natalie Babbitt's eloquent descriptions of woods, ponds, and animals elevate the novel from mere story to a lyrical meditation on the natural order. The dog days of summer, when the earth cracks and lighting flashes without thunder, are described with exquisite clarity; cows, fish, and even one of the most memorable toads in children's literature are given personality and respect.
This is a wonderful book to read with children who have experienced the death of an older relative. Children will be eager to discuss Winnie's life-or-death decision.
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