Stuart Little by E. B. White

Stuart Little by E.B. White Stuart Little is a classic in children’s literature. E.B. White also wrote  the children’s classics, Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan. Stuart Little is a fun story, following the small, mouse-like Stuart on his adventures just living life as a person that is only a little more than two inches tall. For parents that enjoyed the book, they might enjoy reading the 1945 New York Times review of the book here. This was a fun book to read out loud to my kids around ages 5 and up.

My Mom-Meter gives this particular book an overall Safety Rating of 1 (Safe) for ages 6 and up.

Wikipedia has a good plot summary here.

Here are the potential moral issues parents might wish to talk with their kids about:

  • Stuart has human parents, but he is a little over 2 inches tall and looks like a mouse. All of the animals in the book can talk with humans. There is a girl who is two inches tall and she looks human.
  • Stuart’s bed is made from a ciggerette box. Someone asks Stuart if he is sober (he is). Stuart asks for a “nip of brandy,” but gets hot broth instead. A storekeeper smokes a cigarette and almost offers it to Stuart, but thinks better of it.
  • Stuart carries a pocketknife. The boat that Stuart steers in a race has a “forward gun” on it. He uses it and his pocketknife to get out of a paper bag that had blown over the boat and trapped it. Stuart carries a bow and arrows down to check on Margalo. He shoots an arrow into Snowball’s ear, defending Margalo from attack.
  • Snowball the cat says “Holy Mackerel!” Mr. Little tells his son, George, that he is “behaving in an idiotic fashion.” George says “For the love of Pete.” Stuart says “Darn it!” and “Darn, darn, darn!”
  • A boy is described as “fat” and “sulky.” A child wants to talk about the “fat woman at the circus, and she had hair all over her chin.” Stuart asks if Harriet, the 2 inch tall girl, is fat.
  • There is a reference to a girl having a summer romance.
  • Snowball tells a cat friend about Margalo, and helps his friend plot how to catch and eat Margalo. Potential Discussion Point: Was Snowbell being loyal to his family? If his friend had killed Margalo, would Snowbell have been responsible at all?
  • A pigeon overhears Snowball and his cat friend plotting. He leaves an anonymous note to warn Margalo of the danger. Potential Discussion Point: What would have happened if the pigeon had minded his own business and no one had warned Margalo? 
  • Stuart runs away from home to find Margalo. He does not tell anyone that he is leaving. Potential Discussion Point: Do you think that Stuart made a good decision to run away? How do you think his family felt when they discovered he was gone? What do you think would have happened if he had told them that he needed to go look for Margalo? Is it ever a good idea to run away from home?

From a seven-year-old kid’s perspective: “Kids ages 5-10 will like this book. It has excitement, really good chapters (I mean, a family has a mouse – who would think that?), good illustrations, and it’s cool.”

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  1. Just an FYI: It’s Snowbell not Snowball.

So what do you think?

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