Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

This book is mentioned often as a great book for kids and a great read aloud. I’ve never read it, so I decided to introduce myself and the kids to it by turning it into our family read aloud.

Published: 1975

Genre: middle grade realistic fantasy/intrusive fantasy

Length: 139 pages

Setting: Treegap, in a Southern state, late 1800s

Summary: Ten-year old Winnie Foster has led a very sheltered life. One day, she decides to go exploring in the woods her family owns near their house in Treegap. In the woods, she comes across Jesse Tuck and learn his secret. He and his family drank from a spring in those woods and haven’t aged or suffered a mortal injury since that time. The Tucks take Winnie back to their house to impress upon her the need to keep their secret. Unfortunately, an unscrupulous man (in a yellow suit) also learns their secret and makes plans to sell the spring water. Mae Tuck attacks the man in the yellow suit and is observed by the sheriff. She’s taken to jail, with plans to hang her for filling the man. Winnie helps the Tucks free Mae and escape.

Final thoughts: This book does make a lovely read aloud. The chapters are short, so it’s easy to read several and still have a natural stopping point when you’re ready to stop reading. The language is also quite beautiful and descriptive. Even though there’s not a whole lot of action, you don’t feel bored because the story moves along quite rapidly.

The story is told from Winnie’s point of view. Even at ten, she already has a good feel for right and wrong, regardless of what the adults tell her. Yes, it is difficult to parent a child like that, but I certainly want to raise children who sill stick to their convictions, and act on them when they need to. (In this case, Winnie snuck out of the house and posed as Mae in the jail to help the Tucks escape.)

The book very definitely paints immortality as a negative thing. Without that potential for death, there is no impetus for life. Even so, Jesse and Winnie make plans for Winnie to drink the spring water when she’s Jesse’s age so they can be together forever. I did wonder throughout the last half of the book whether or not Winnie would follow through with that promise. The Tucks certainly led a lonely life, since they couldn’t sty in one spot too long or make close friends without arousing suspicions. Just being able to tell their secret to Winnie made everyone happier, and then it was ruined by the man in the yellow suit (who never does get a name).

Title comes from: The Tuck family drank spring water that allows them to live forever unchanging, so they are everlasting.

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #9 for the year, and a T in my title Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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