Sunday, September 04, 2011

Very interesting… thoughts on Stuart Little

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We finished reading Stuart Little tonight, and what a weird kids’ chapter book it is. 

I hadn’t realized how close we were to the ending, because the plot wasn’t really going anywhere or winding down – and then, all of a sudden yesterday, we were one chapter away from the end, and it STILL wasn’t going anywhere.

Well, I hate to ruin the ending for you, but… well, it never did.

And I thought, how are the kids going to take this?  Even the seemingly neverending Little House books always come to some kind of resolution at the end of each book, and yet this weird little story about a crazy jovial mouse, well, it doesn’t.  He just keeps on journeying.

So I asked the kids, “do you think he’ll ever find Margalo?”  Naomi most definitely said he wouldn’t.  “Because he’s on the ground and a bird is high up.”  Most logical indeed. 

But a couple of minutes later, out of the blue (I was just about to start reading something else), she said, “I think the writer did it that way because we can write it OURSELVES in our minds.”  Nice. 

Sometimes, it’s so tempting to LEAD kids to the conclusions we want them to arrive at.  And then you force yourself to sit back and just watch their gears grinding through it instead. 

Charlotte Mason called this “Masterly Inactivity,” and I am very, very bad at it.  I like lessons to be neat and self-contained, with no loose ends.

Stuart Little is basically a tangle of loose ends.  And yet, she reached an amazingly satisfying literary conclusion, all because I didn’t interfere, for a change.

imageI have no clue how they made this thing into one movie, let alone a series of THREE movies.  There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is one little mouse that Hollywood has forever ruined in the minds of little children forever.

By the way, in a series of “math everywhere” moments, I have been teaching her Roman Numerals from the chapter headings, and she is now reasonably familiar with I, V, and X.

Guess this means it’s time to update our Big List of Chapter Books.  Check it out for inspiration… and a year’s worth of read-aloud perspiration.  As much as I love Charlotte Mason and homeschooling, reading aloud, plowing through chapter books one painfully slow chapter at a time, STILL doesn’t come easy.

2 comments:

  1. Your post caught my eye (flicking through google reader (-:) since dd has just finished Stuart Little and was some what put out at the 'hanging' ending ... (lol, it's the E.B.W book we've decided not to like).

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  2. What a delightful insight! And I am encouraged to stay out the way!

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