Friday, February 18, 2011

Classroom Book Review: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Pages: 139
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: 1975
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Imagine coming upon a fountain of youth in a forest. To live forever--isn't that everyone's ideal? For the Tuck family, eternal life is a reality, but their reaction to their fate is surprising. Award winner Natalie Babbitt (Knee-Knock Rise, The Search for Delicious) outdoes herself in this sensitive, moving adventure in which 10-year-old Winnie Foster is kidnapped, finds herself helping a murderer out of jail, and is eventually offered the ultimate gift--but doesn't know whether to accept it. Babbitt asks profound questions about the meaning of life and death, and leaves the reader with a greater appreciation for the perfect cycle of nature. Intense and powerful, exciting and poignant, Tuck Everlasting will last forever--in the reader's imagination."

The Tuck family encounters a spring in the woods when traveling.  They all drink from the spring and as the years go by, they realize some strange things; for example, they never age, never get hurt, or even sick. They realize that on that fateful day in the woods, they encountered  a "fountain of youth" unknowingly and in order to conceal their secret, they must travel the countryside, never staying at one place for too long.  Winnie Foster, a young girl from a wealthy family, wants her freedom desperately and ends up befriending the Tuck family.  Eventually, she learns their secret and like in any good book, there's also a villain and he wants to steal the Tuck's secret. Natalie Babbitt's classic, Tuck Everlasting, is a must read for all children and is an excellent addition to any classroom library.

Babbitt's writing style is beautiful.  There are passages that describe the weather and  it's almost like you are there experiencing the balmy and oppressive heat of summer with Winnie as well.  Her style includes a lot of figurative language that is so artistic; it's great if you are teaching similes, metaphors, etc.  

The characters are endearing, heartwarming and truly memorable.  There is a love connection in this book and it's not overdone; in fact, it progresses gracefully, much like Babbitt's writing style.  Also, there is a villain that readers love to hate, so even my male students could enjoy this book and the suspenseful action.

The most important aspect of this book is the fact that it includes serious themes and raises important questions, such as, the implication of living forever, change and its importance, doing the right thing even though its an unpopular choice and the importance of love.  The question of immortality became a heated discussion in my classroom, especially after the whole Twilight craze as the Cullen family and the Tuck family has some similarities, minus the whole vampire thing.  In sum, the themes of Tuck Everlasting raise important questions and discussions; this book definitely had my 6th graders thinking.

There are a ton of resources for teachers when teaching this book and there is even a recent movie (with Alexis Bledel) that the students love and is the perfect tie in.  Web English Teacher, my go-to-teaching website, includes some great links.  Scholastic also has some quality resources as well as Pro-Teacher, and the Glencoe Study Guide.  If you are looking for a book that will lead to a worthwhile discussion, whether it be for your classroom or for yourself, I highly recommend Tuck Everlasting.  It should not be missed!

*Watch the movie trailer


  1. I have loved this cover since I first saw it. Great review. I'm so glad to hear it's good.

  2. Great review. At first when I read the description I thought that they would be vampires or pixies, but they just drink from the water. I really like the sound of it.

  3. OMG! I absolutely LOVE this book! It's definitely one of my favorites!!

  4. I loved this book. Surprisingly the Disney movie version of it is also not bad.

  5. I read Tuck Everlasting a long, long time ago and loved it.

  6. This was one of the few books I had to read in school that I loved!

  7. I think we all agree that this is one of the books we read for school that we didn't mind reading! :) Thanks for checking out my review!

    Nina- I hope you can read it soon! I think you'd like it. Keep in mind that it is for younger tweens. :)


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