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Posts Tagged ‘young adult’

49-1My first introduction to Tuck Everlasting came from the movie (starring Alexis Bledel as Winnie). I think it was actucally through the movie that I heard of the book. After reading the book, I’m surprised the movie didn’t take as many liberties with the story as I originally thought it might.

I think I would have enjoyed this story more if I hadn’t seen the movie, but in some ways the movie also heightened the novel since I had a visual of characters and landscape, in particular the creepy man in the yellow suit (played by Ben Kingsley), and the sound of the music box! (Even if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to see their favorite classics ruined by a movie, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The movie is very beautiful.)

In Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbit threads the dream of immortality into the life of Winnie Foster, a prim and proper Victorian girl being trained for her upper class role, as she meets the Tuck family. She comes across the youngest Tuck, Jesse, in her father’s woods bent over a tree drinking from a spring, but when she wants a drink Jesse tells her she can’t and a struggle ensues. Winnie ends up being kidnapped by the Tucks in order to preserve the secret of the spring, and their own, whoever drinks from it will live forever.4

Babbit deals with a heavy topic. Living forever, or being forever young, seems like an ideal situation, but through the Tuck’s Winnie learns that there’s more to the allure than meets the eye. Life’s a cycle and death is supposed to be a part of it. There’s a finality needed in life that immortality doesn’t bring. The reality of endless life in this world, ultimately, fills empty for the Tuck’s. Even if they can live forever, travel to exotic places, and have adventures they can never settle down, start a family, put down roots–as Miles sadly experienced.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Tuck Everlasting and would recommend it. It’s very well written, childlike, and reminds me of a dream.

The Novel & the Movie

tuck-everlasting-1

There are some differences between the novel and the movie, which are to be expected. The plot doesn’t change, but a few minor (or not so minor) details do. For one, Winnie is 10 going on 11 in the novel and between 15-17 in the film, which sets her up for a romance with Jesse (whose 17). At first, I was disappointed that the movie changed the age to add the romance aspect, however as I read on they didn’t add the romance but embellished it. In the book, Winnie is quite enamored with Jesse from the beginning,

Sitting relaxed with his back against the trunk was a boy, almost a man. And he seemed so glorious to Winnie that she lost her heart at once. (25)

Jesse even asks Winnie to drink from the spring when she’s 17,

…and then you could go away with me! We could get married, even. That’d be pretty good, wouldn’t it! We could have a grand old time, go all around the world, see everything.” (72)

In the film, Jesse and Winnie’s romance is elaborated and quite sensational–if you’re a hopeless romantic you’ll love it.

The only other difference I can think of is how Mae is rescued, but overall no changes to change the plot and theme of the novel. I enjoyed both the book and film. Who knows…maybe you will too!

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Since I was a little girl, I have loved the idea of mermaids whether it was watching them in a movie (can we say Splash or The Little Mermaid?), Jacket.aspxhaving mermaid hair, or playing mermaids with friends in the pool. Needless to say, I would have loved The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (and series) when I was in upper elementary and middle school.

It was a fun, captivating read–it is about a 7th grade girl who finds out she’s half-mermaid. I mean, c’mon, that’s pretty cool.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It’s a fun story, but the ending resolution came awfully quick. After painting Neptune, the king of the merpeople, as a hard, heartless man–I mean, merman he was very quick to have a change of heart. Too quick, in my opinion.

Other than that it was fun. I’d read the other books in the series just to see what happens to the Windsnap family.

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childrensclassics

One book I hope to become a future children’s classic is Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy. I read this last fall in the last days before my son was born and since he was 10 days late I got to read a few books. (Thanks, Joey.) princessacademyl

I don’t know what all the young(er) ones out there thought of this book, but I loved it. Maybe it’s the idea that a princess will come from this small, obscure village in the furthermost part of a kingdom or that the heroine is the protected and slightly small Miri whom, nearly, everyone overlooks.  Or it’s the idea of common girls attending an academy (because doesn’t that make it sound more prestigious) where they’ll be taught to be princesses.

But maybe, just maybe I love the story because of its unlikely hero who faces her circumstances with strength and courage, and where others back down Miri only pushes further.

Of course, there’s rivalry among girls at the school, a hint of romance, and a group of bandits who threaten all their lives. But among all these things there’s also a love of learning and exploration as the girls from Mount Eskel are opened up to a whole new world. I loved it.

That’s just my pick for a future classic, what do you think? I’d love to hear yours…

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the-tale-of-despereaux I was really excited to read The Tale of Despereaux. It’s a Newberry Medal book and now a movie, so I thought for sure it would become a new favorite.

I read it in about 2 1/2 days. I liked how the chapters were short. It’s a cute story, but to be honest I felt it was lacking…and a bit boring.

I thought it would be an irresistible tale, but it was sad and depressing. I mean Despereaux is born and his family immediately doesn’t like him and casts him off. His mother more interested in her make-up.

His father condemns him to death in the dungeon as part of the Mouse Council and his own brother leads him to the dungeon where the rats are to kill and eat him. Why the sentence of death? He talked to the princess.

The queen dies after seeing a rat in her soup. The rat, Rscouro, gets a disgusted look from the princess and then sets out a plan for revenge.

Miggery Sow is a little girl whose mother dies and then her father sells her to a man, whom she must call Uncle, for a hen, a red tablecloth, and some cigarettes. Her “uncle” then hits her against her ears after nearly every response, giving the poor girl cauliflower ears and loss of hearing.

It wasn’t just the depressing events that was disappointing, but the build-up for the story didn’t go anywhere. Despereaux saved the day, but then everything kind of just ended. For me it was like, “This is it?”

Needless to say, I was disappointed.

I did like how DiCamillo spoke to the reader regularly and explained certain things. What was interesting was how she referred to the themes of light and dark as part of the characters and themes in this book. To a certain extent I liked that, but at times it seemed empty and other times forced. As if the author was reaching for something and didn’t quite catch it.

I really wanted to love this book. I thought it’d be amazing, but…didn’t happen. Some people say to those who don’t like it “Oh, it’s for children. You should think of it like that,” but remember what C. S. Lewis said, “Any story worth reading at ten should be worth reading at fifty.”

Read the reviews on Amazon (both high and low stars), some people loved it and others not so much.You be the judge.

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The Penderwicks was one of the young adult books I have been wanting to read. I  picked this one up at the library a few weeks back and it sat in pendermy stack for awhile before I picked it up. Amidst reading a few nonfiction books, I had been itching for some fiction. It was a quick read for the weekend.

I love the title of this book:

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

With a title like that how can it not be a good book?

It’s a summer story of four sisters on vacation with their widowed father and adventures they have at their summer cottage and the boy next door. What is great about this story is that each of the sisters has her own story (and adventures) throughout the novel, which gives something for different ages to enjoy.

This would be a great story to read aloud with your children during the summer.

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