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First edition cover
|Author(s)||E. B. White|
|Cover artist||Garth Williams|
|Publisher||Harper & Brothers|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Followed by||Charlotte's Web|
Stuart Little is a 1945 children's novel by E. B. White, his first book for children, and is widely recognized as a classic in children's literature. Stuart Little was illustrated by the subsequently award-winning artist Garth Williams, also his first work for children. It is a realistic fantasy about a talking mouse, Stuart Little, born to human parents in New York.
In a letter White wrote in response to inquiries from readers, "..many years ago I went to bed one night in a railway sleeping car, and during the night I dreamed about a tiny boy who acted rather like a mouse. That's how the story of Stuart Little got started".
The story is episodic. First we learn of Stuart's birth to a family in New York City and how the family adapts, socially and structurally, to having such a small son. He has an adventure in which he gets caught in a window-blind while exercising, and Snowbell, the family cat, places Stuart's hat and cane outside a mouse hole, panicking the family. He is accidentally released by his brother George. Then two chapters describe Stuart's participation in a boat race in Central Park. A bird named Margalo is adopted by the Little family, and Stuart protects her from their malevolent cat. The bird repays his kindness by saving Stuart when he is trapped in a garbage can and shipped out for disposal at sea.
Margalo flees when she is warned that one of Snowbell's friends intends to eat her, and Stuart strikes out to find her and bring her home. A friendly dentist, who is also the owner of the boat Stuart had raced in Central Park, gives him use of a gasoline-powered model car, and Stuart departs to see the country. He works for a while as a substitute teacher and comes to the town of Ames Crossing, where he meets a girl named Harriet Ames who is no taller than he is. They go on one date, and then Stuart leaves town. As the book ends, he has not yet found Margalo, but feels confident he will do so.
The book was reviewed in the New York Times by Malcolm Cowley, who wrote, "Mr. White has a tendency to write amusing scenes instead of telling a story. To say that Stuart Little is one of the best children's books published this year is very modest praise for a writer of his talent." The book has become a children's classic, and is widely read by children and used by teachers. White received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal in 1970 for Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web
The book was loosely adapted into a 1999 film of the same name, which combined live-action with computer animation. A 2002 sequel to the first film, Stuart Little 2, was truer to the book. A third film, Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild was released direct-to-video in 2006. This film was entirely computer-animated, and its plot was not derived from the book. The voice for Stuart Little was provided by Michael J. Fox.
"The World of Stuart Little," a 1966 episode of NBC's Children's Theater, narrated by Johnny Carson, won a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy. An animated television series, Stuart Little: The Animated Series, was produced for HBO Family and aired for 13 episodes in 2003.
- "Author Essay by E. B. White from HarperCollins Publishers". Harpercollins.com. 2010-03-24. Retrieved 2012-07-14.
- A Guide for Using Stuart Little in the Classroom, Lorraine Kujawa and Virgina Wiseman, Teacher Created Resources 2004, ISBN 978-1-57690-628-6