What a bizarre read.
Understand, this is a fantasy book. Suspend disbelief at the parents’, community’s, and strangers’ responses to Stuart Little, a mouse who stands two feet tall, who sleeps in a cigarette box and lives with his family in New York City. He delights in sailing boats in the park, landing in misadventures with the house cat, Snowball, and beautiful bird, Margalo. For children, this may be an imaginative treat. It’s a short classic story with charm, little thought, and strange events.
This book left me mystified. I found the narrative disjointed, as the story randomly bumbles along, describing Stuart’s misadventures with becoming lost in the house, sailing straight and true, nearly being killed by garbage truck, not-so invisible miniature cars, one little person named Harriet, and a random journey to find the misssing Margalo. This lacks the emotional impact of E.B. White’s classic, Charlotte’s Web, a favorite of mine. Though, I liked Stuart Little and his silliness as a sailor, teacher, and nutty little mouse.
Like Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little included original black and white line drawings from Garth Williams, who also illustrated the Laura Ingall Wilder’s Little House series. These delightful illustrations complimented the story and highlighted various dilemmas of the little mouse, like getting ready in the morning, leaving home, and traveling to find a missing friend. These illustrations were one of my favorite things about the tiny book.
I thought this book was going somewhere–not sure where, but somewhere–and then it ends. It simply ends. If you’re looking for conclusion, you won’t find that here. You never know what becomes of Stuart’s journey, Margalo, or even little questions about Harriet’s being or how humans can birth mice…
In the end, this little literary experience of Stuart Little earns little lemons, due to its lack of cohesion, answers, and conclusion. Two out of five lemons for its charm and interesting characters and events, but it would have benefited from a tight ending and more congruity between scenes.