I am so excited about today's post! When I heard that there was going to be a tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting, I jumped on board. Tuck Everlasting is my all time favorite book from childhood. It is the one book that still resonates with me thirty years after first reading it. It was the book that started my life long love affair with beautiful writing. It is a tale that still haunts me, and I wonder sometimes what happened to the lovable Tucks. I am forever grateful to my fifth grade teacher who introduced me to this magical book when he read it aloud and took care to show us the beauty in the first paragraph. Truly, it is one of the most remarkable openings to a book. It starts like this:
“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.”
Excerpt From: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt.
Isn't that amazing? As a wide eyed ten year old, I loved it, but now as an adult, I love it even more......
For the tour, Natalie Babbitt asked everyone to answer the question, " What would you do if you could live forever?"
Would I want to live forever? After reading Tuck Everlasting and countless other books that feature characters who are immortal, my instinct is to say no, I would prefer to bide my time and move on. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have to watch everyone around you age and die, while you remained the same. Never being able to put down roots and find a permanent place to call home. It would be a lonely life indeed. Yet, if I did live forever, I would want to do something to make the world better. Considering all that I would see and know, I would try and do that by preserving history as best I could. Writing down and making as an accurate account of history seems like a small thing, but there is power in words, and I think in order for humans to evolve and become better we need to stop repeating the past. So I would do my best to travel the world and mark down accurate accounts of all that I see and encounter, hoping that one day my words might make the difference.........
What would you do if you could live forever?
Here is my review:
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can.
When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem.
Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.
Paperback, 139 pages
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (January 20, 2015) (first published 1974)
Five Stars: A book that should be treasured and read time and time again.
Winnie Foster is tired of being cooped up and pampered. She is the only child of the Fosters who live in the "touch me not" cottage at the edge of the small woods. At ten, Winnie wants to see the world. Winnie promises the toad sitting by her gate that tomorrow she will run away to the woods. The next day, Winnie makes good on her promise. As she traverses the small wood, she wonders why she has never bothered to explore them before. Suddenly, a small movement catches her eye. Winnie peers around a large tree and sees a handsome teenager drinking from a small spring. Winnie decides she wants a drink, but Jessie Tuck insists she not drink from that spring. Suddenly, Winnie is tossed on the back of a horse and kidnapped by the Tuck family. They have an unbelievable story to tell her about that small spring. Will Winne protect their secret?
What I Loved:
- Tuck Everlasting is the book that took hold of me and rooted in my soul when I read it. I was ten years old when I first met Winnie and the Tucks. Over thirty years later, this small little book and its wonderful characters are still speaking to me. I adore this book! It is one that will always remain on my shelf. It is the book that stirred something inside of me and made me fall in love with gorgeous writing and simple story telling. This is a timeless book that should be read and loved by everyone.
- The writing is absolutely lovely. It is filled with rich descriptions, beautiful metaphors and similes. It is the book that made me fall in love with gorgeous writing.
- The characters are unforgettable. Just like Winnie, I quickly fell in love with the simplistic and kind Tucks. This wonderful little family who are either blessed or cursed to live forever got inside my head. At first, you think it would be wonderful to live forever, but when you hear the melancholy story of the Tucks, you pause and reconsider. There is something so endearing about the kind, sad Angus Tuck. Mae is sweet and motherly, the salt of the earth. Miles with his heartbreak makes me sad, and I truly hope that he finds a way to do something great. Jesse is the boy who stole my heart. I fell in love with this fun,spirited boy. Winnie at ten, is a girl who is wise beyond her years, and I admired her courage. I could go on and on, but I won't. Just read the book.
- The story is simple and yet complex. Beautiful story telling that makes you think and ponder. I am still mulling over the book after all these years. I catch myself often during that first week of August wondering about the Tucks. It is the type of story that gets into your head, your heart and burrows into your soul and it never lets go. In my heart, I hope the Tucks are out there and that they have found their peace.
And The Not So Much:
- My only complaint is that the book is sweet and short and I crave more. I want to know what happened to Winnie after the fall out. How did her life turn out? Did she ever try to find the Tucks? Why and how did she decide on the water? I wish that there had been more on her.
- I also was sad that in the final pages that there wasn't any mention of Miles and Jesse. How had they fared over all those years? What were they doing?
Tuck Everlasting is the book from my childhood that still speaks to me all these years later. It is a magical, beautiful and haunting story about a girl who encounters a family with a big secret, a family either blessed or cursed with immortality. Leaving you to wonder what would you do if you could live forever? I urge you if you have not read this lovely little book to pick it up and do so. I have it forever on my shelf and I look forward to the day that I can read it to my children.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
If you have yet to read this book, the special 40th anniversary edition releases on January 20th. It includes an interview with author Natalie Babbitt. Since this book was first published back in 1974, it has never been out of print and it has sold 3.5 million copies in the U.S. alone.
About the author:
NATALIE BABBITT is the award-winning author of Tuck Everlasting, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, Knee-Knock Rise, and many other brilliantly original books for young people. She began her career in 1966 as the illustrator of The Forty-Ninth Magician, a collaboration with her husband. When her husband became a college president and no longer had time to collaborate, Babbitt tried her hand at writing. Her first novel, The Search for Delicious, established her gift for writing magical tales with profound meaning. Knee-Knock Rise earned her a Newbery Honor, and in 2002, Tuck Everlasting was adapted into a major motion picture. Natalie Babbitt lives in Connecticut, and is a grandmother of three.
I hope that you take time to read and cherish this book as I have. It was just as good going back and reading it as an adult as the first time I read it, if not better.
A huge thanks to the folks over at Macmillian Publishing for putting on this tour and for allowing me to be a part of it.
Now go read the book!