Growing up I watched the film adaptations for all the books mentioned below, they were a definitive part of my childhood. So I was excited to read the stories that they were inspired by, and what can I say except that overall I was left rather disappointed. E.B. White had quite an odd story style, it would jump about quite a bit (especially in Stuart Little). I also wonder what set off his love for talking animals. I have recently learned that the reason Stuart Little is quite rushed is because for some reason he felt like he was about to die and had to finish. But then went on to live for many years after. That being said, if I were about to die. I would not want to compromise my work in such a manner as he did with Stuart. I’m glad I read them, but once was probably enough. The Trumpet of the Swan and Charlotte’s Web I will probably read to my future children. But as for Stuart, I might just stick to the film.
Stuart Little by E.B. White
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This book was not what I was expecting at all.
At first it had a lot of the same scenes playing out that those who have seen the film, would be familiar with. But it was all just off. The tone, the pacing, the writing. Nothing quite felt like it hit the mark. It all just fell short.
Stuart, he was just too overconfident, and his attitude was grating (especially the date with the Ames girl). Also how about the fact that Mrs. Little somehow “giving birth” to a mouse is never questioned or evaluated. Especially since they show that Miss Ames was just a two inch young girl. They just should have been some consistency, make her a mouse, explain this strange phenomenon that literally no one seems to question. At all. Which is more than slightly disconcerting.
Also most of the book didn’t feel like it actually had much of a plot. It just bounced from Stuart adventure, to the next Stuart adventure. That is until Margalo is introduced, things get a little more cohesive there, until she completely disappears so Stuart decides to go off after her. We never find out if he left his family a note explaining where he had gone, considering how worked up they got when they thought he had disappeared down a mousehole, him just running away would have sent them into complete despair.
So he goes off on his adventure to find Margalo, and once again a lot of the cohesiveness fades and we once again jump from unlikely adventure to unlikely adventure. From getting a working miniature car, that somehow has a button to turn it invisible? That is only mentioned once. To being a substitute teacher for a day. It just all felt like a mess really, very rushed and haphazard. Nothing was more rushed than the ending. The book just ends, without any resolution. We never find out it he finds Margalo, if he ever returns to his family, or if they know where he’s gone. Nothing. It just stops with him driving off towards the north. The whole thing was completely underwhelming. If kids want to know the story of Stuart Little, just watch the film, because its leagues better than the book, and that is not something I say very often, or ever.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was perfect. Before reading this now, I’ve only ever seen the animated film. So I was curious to see how similar they were. I was pleased to find out that the film was 100% true to the book. This is such a sweet novel about Wilbur the pig and his journey through life, making friends with the barn animals and Charlotte the spider, as he tries to stay alive and stop from being turned into Christmas dinner. I would definitely recommend parents read this to children its an easy read and they will find the antics quite amusing.
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was the final book I needed to read to complete the E.B. White collection my sister and I received a couple Christmas’ ago.
Just like with the previous two E.B. White stories, I grew up watching a film adaptation of the Trumpet of the Swan, although it has been well over a decade since I have seen it. So my brain was a little blurry of the details of Louis’s life as a mute trumpeter swan.
I will definitely say that I enjoyed this much more than I did Stuart Little, though it wasn’t as heartwarming as Charlotte’s Web which I guess retains its title as Mr White’s best children’s tale.
The story meandered quite a bit, and was incredibly slow at times, I think that it might be too information heavy at times for small children (whom the book was written for) to follow exactly what is happening in the story.
I definitely don’t recall Louis’s father making such long-winded speeches every single time he opens his mouth (then again it has been an incredibly long time since I watched the film adaptation). So after a bit his character became very tiresome.
I’m not sure about the whole romance between Louis and his love interest, just seemed odd that she still couldn’t actually talk to him. Yes, I know he makes music with the trumpet but it never states that she hears exactly what he is saying, more that she picks up on the general feeling the music portrays. Which just seems like quite an odd relationship.
And an issue I had with Stuart Little popped up again, that humans just accepted this bird who could read, write and play the trumpet, like it was nothing out of the ordinary. I mean they gawked a little which upped his popularity but it didn’t cause too much of a fuss. Which I find quite unrealistic and immensely odd.
Overall, I enjoyed this as a lite read, I just don’t think E.B. White is someone I can read often.
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