Tuck Everlasting

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the novel. For the first film inspired by it, see Tuck Everlasting (1981 film). For the 2002 Disney film, see Tuck Everlasting (2002 film)
Tuck Everlasting
Tuck Everlasting25.png
Cover to the 25th anniversary edition
Author Natalie Babbitt
Country United States
Language English
Subject Immortality,
Genre Children's book, Fantasy, Romance comedy
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 139 pages

Tuck Everlasting is a fantasy children's novel by Natalie Babbitt. It was published in 1975. The book explores the concept of immortality and the reasons why it might not be as desirable as it appears to be. It has sold over two million copies and has been called a classic of modern children's literature. It has been published as an unabridged audio book three individual times: by Listening Library/Random House in 1988 and narrated by Peter Thomas, by Recorded Books in 1993 and narrated by Barbara Caruso, and by Audio Bookshelf in 2001 and narrated by Melissa Hughes.

Plot summary[edit]

10-year-old Winnie Foster is tired of her family and is thinking of running away. One day, while in the woods, she meets a boy about the age of 17 drinking from a spring. The boy tells her that his name is Jesse, and he refuses to let Winnie drink the water. After this, she is kidnapped by Jesse's family, the Tucks. The Tucks tell her that the spring Jesse drank from gives eternal life to the drinker. Since their entire family drank from the spring, they are all immortal. A man eavesdrops on this conversation and goes to the Fosters with an offer to trade Winnie's location for the Fosters' woods, which contain the magical spring. They agree, and a constable goes with the man to retrieve Winnie. When the man arrives at the Tucks' house and tells them his plans for the spring, Mae, Jesse's mother, takes her husband's gun and swings it like a club at the man, killing him. The constable takes Mae to jail, and they learn that she is to be hanged. The Tucks and Winnie are frightened because if Mae is hanged, their secret about eternal life will be revealed. They soon come up with a plan for Winnie to take Mae's place in the jail cell while Mae leaves town with her family. Jesse gives Winnie a bottle of the spring water, but she chooses not to drink it. At the end of the story, Mae and Angus return to town after many years away and discover that Winnie died a couple of years previously after living a normal lifespan.

Awards and recognition[edit]

The novel was selected as an ALA Notable Book as well as being included on the Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List. It has received numerous awards since its publication including the Janusz Korczak Medal and the 1976 Christopher Award for best book for young people. It was included in Anita Silvey's 2005 book The 100 Best Books For Children. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1] It was one of the "Top 100 Chapter Books" of all time in a 2004 poll by School Library Journal.[2]


The novel has twice been adapted to film. The first was released in 1981 and distributed by One Pass Media. The second was by Disney in 2002. It was directed by Jay Russell and starred Alexis Bledel as Winnie Foster, Jonathan Jackson as Jesse Tuck, William Hurt and Sissy Spacek as Jesse's parents, and Ben Kingsley as the Man in the Yellow Suit. It received mixed, but generally favorable reviews and currently holds a 61% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. The New York Post praised it as 'handsomely crafted and well-acted'.[3] It grossed a little over $19 million at the domestic box office and did not receive a wide-release in foreign territories.

Tuck Everlasting has been adapted into a musical for Broadway. It was originally scheduled to play a pre-Broadway run in Boston's Colonial Theatre in June 2013, but plans were later abandoned due to a lack of theatre availability in New York to make the transfer. It is currently scheduled to run in January 2015 at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. [4]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Bird, Elizabeth. "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". 
  3. ^ Lou Lumineck. "New York Post film review". Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  4. ^ Diamond Grant. "Tuck Everlasting Takes Pre-Broadway Run in Atlanta". Retrieved 2014-03-04.