Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1975. 978-0-374-37848-6
Synopsis: Ten-year-old Winnie Foster has always been a good girl and done what she is told. But she is tired of living her life inside the fence of her family’s cottage in the middle of their wood and decides to go out into the wood to explore. In the wood, she meets Jesse Tuck at the base of a tree whose roots grow over a spring that grants its drinker the ability to live forever. The Tucks share this secret with Winnie, telling her that she must never tell anyone about the spring or about them. But unknown to Winnie and the Tucks, there is someone else who also knows their secret, someone who will do anything to expose the Tucks and take the spring for themselves.
Why I picked it up: I don’t remember why I initially picked it up way back in elementary school, but it was likely because I needed something for silent reading or I saw it in the Scholastic catalog.
Why I finished it: The book is both funny and sad, touching on a base desire of all people to live forever. What most people see as a blessing the Tucks see as a curse, since even serious injury appears not to relieve them of their eternal life. One might be able to find a religious element within the story if they really wanted to, but to me the story isn’t necessarily supposed to reflect any. The story starts out with three seemingly unrelated elements (and tells the reader this much) before beginning to weave them together in a narrative that at its heart is about love, companionship, and the desire to be free – Winnie desiring to be free of the life inside her fence, the Tucks desiring to be free of their everlasting existence. I have read the book before, but was surprised at the quickness of the read, despite the first couple of chapters taking their time before it began to pick up. The characters are likable and the ending somewhat predictable, but what the reader gains from the story is much more valuable than it would first appear.
Other related materials: Tuck Everlasting (1981) (movie); Tuck Everlasting (2002) (movie); Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson; Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech; The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt; Kneeknock Rise by Natalie Babbitt; Holes by Louis Sachar; The Danger Box by Blue Balliett; Sixth Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me by Lisa Papademetriou; Hoot by Carl Hiaasen; From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler