If readers were to choose to read only one of Natalie Babbitt’s books, the author herself would recommend reading her novel, Tuck Everlasting. Although Tuck Everlasting is categorized as a children’s fantasy novel, Natalie Babbitt states that adults seem to enjoy it just as much as children. There have been two Tuck Everlasting films created since the novel was published in 1975. Tuck Everlasting, the film, was released in 1981 and then was remade by Disney in 2002.
About Natalie Babbitt:
Born on July 28, 1932 in Dayton, Ohio, Natalie Babbitt is an American author and illustrator of children’s books. In her younger years, she spent a lot of her time drawing, but she also greatly enjoyed reading fairy tales and myths. She was encouraged to paint and draw from a young age by her mother who was an amateur portrait and landscape painter. She attended school at the Laurel School in Cleveland and then went on to Smith College. While there she maintained a focus on art. She originally wanted to become an illustrator only, with no real intentions of becoming a writer.
After marrying an academic administrator named Samuel Fisher Babbitt, she lived in Tennessee Connecticut, and Washington D.C during the following 10 years. During that time, she had three children. Natalie, along with her husband, chose to work on a book for children together, the book was titled The Forty-Ninth Magician, and was published in 1966. Around that time, the family moved to Clinton, New York where Natalie’s husband took the position of President of Kirkland College. After this, Natalie Babbitt began to write stories on her own. The first stories that she wrote by herself were written in verse. After that, she went on to write in prose and then wrote novels. Natalie Babbitt describes her writing as “wordy” as she enjoys descriptions.
Currently, she resides in Providence, Rhode Island. She is a board member of the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, a national not-for-profit that advocates for literature, libraries and literacy.
About The Book:
Tuck Everlasting, a fantasy novel for children, was published in 1975 and is considered a modern classic. More than 2 million copies have been sold and it has received several awards. Its awards include ALA Notable Book, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List, winner of the Janusz Medal, and winner of Christopher Book for Best Book for Young People. It was also included in 100 Best Books for Children by Anita Silvey.
The story is about a young girl, Winnie Foster, who ventures out into the woods and comes across a teenage boy, Jesse Tuck, who is drinking from a spring of water. She later learns that this boy and his family are immortal as a result of drinking from the spring. She ends up becoming very close with the Tuck family and they teach her about why the balance of life would be thrown off if everyone were able to become immortal. As the story unfolds, there are difficult decisions to be made and serious dilemmas to be resolved.
The story brings up philosophical and spiritual questions related to the concept of eternal life. It conveys the idea that immortality is not as pleasant as it may seem to be on the surface.
In an interview, Natalie Babbitt was asked if there is a lesson to be learned from Tuck Everlasting. She explained that she does not believe there is a lesson. She suggests that instead of teaching something about right and wrong, the novel shows that life presents people with problems and hard decisions.
About The Films:
There have been two films created based on the novel, Tuck Everlasting. The first film was made in 1981. It was directed by Frederick King Keller. It stars Margaret Chamberlain as Winnie Foster and Paul Flessa as Jesse Tuck.
The second film was made by Disney in 2002. It was directed by Jay Russell. It stars Alexis Bledel as Winnie Foster and Jonathan Jackson as Jesse Tuck.