Read Stuart Little Online

Authors: E. B. White,Garth Williams

Tags: #Classics, #Little; Stuart (Fictitious Character), #Action & Adventure, #Adventure and Adventurers, #Juvenile Fiction, #General, #Mice; Hamsters; Guinea Pigs; Etc, #Voyages and Travels, #Animals, #Mice, #Fiction

Stuart Little

BOOK: Stuart Little
10.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Stuart Little
E. B. White Garth Williams
HarperCollins Publishers (1946)
Classics, Little; Stuart (Fictitious Character), Action Adventure, Adventure and Adventurers, Juvenile Fiction, General, Mice; Hamsters; Guinea Pigs; Etc, Voyages and Travels, Animals, Mice, Fiction Review

How terribly surprised the Little family must have been when their second child turned out to be a small mouse. Apparently familiar with the axiom that "when in New York City, anything can happen," the Littles accept young Stuart into their family unquestioningly--with the exception of Snowbell the cat who is unable to overcome his instinctive dislike for the little mouse. They build him a bed from a matchbox, and supply him with all of the accoutrements a young mouse could need. Mrs. Little even fashions him a suit, because baby clothes would obviously be unsuitable for such a sophisticated mouse. In return, Stuart helps his tall family with errant Ping-Pong balls that roll outside of their reach.

E. B. White takes Stuart on a hero's quest across the American countryside, introducing the mouse--and the reader--to a myriad of delightful characters. Little finds himself embroiled in one adventure after another from the excitement of racing sailboats to the unseen horrors of substitute teaching. This is a story of leaving home for the first time, of growing up, and ultimately of discovering oneself. At times, doesn't everyone feel like the sole mouse in a family--and a world--of extremely tall people?
(Ages 9 to 12)

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Readers will welcome this Spanish edition of a beloved tale, first published in 1945, about a two-inch-tall mouse with a big heart and a love for adventure. The fluid text resonates with the original wit and whimsy that marked White's clever intermingling of fantasy and real life. Miguez's joyous translation maintains the author's rhyming play on words by using appropriate substitutions--for example,
gorrion, dragon,
for the English
, and
. A few Peninsular Spanish pronouns and conjugations (_vuestras, podeis, sabreis)_ won't deter Spanish speakers from the Americas from enjoying Stuart Little's wonderful escapades.
Isabel Schon
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


by E. B. White


Published by:
HarperCollins.Publishers, New York, NY. Further reproduction or distribution in
other than a specialized format is prohibited.


Copyright 1945

by E. B. White

Text copyright renewed

by E. B. White


This is the first children’s
book by the distinguished

author E. B. White. Stuart
Little, the hero, is a mouse in the family of Frederick C. Little and is a
pleasantly debonair little character, with a shy, engaging manner and a
somewhat philosophical turn of mind. He is a great help around the house, and
everybody except Snowbell the cat likes him a great deal. In spite of his small
size, Stuart gets around a good bit in the world, riding a Fifth Avenue bus with
some aplomb, racing (and winning in) a sailboat in Central Park, teaching
school for a day, and so on. His size—just over two inches— does give him some trouble
now and then, like the time he was rolled up in the window shade, or when he got
dumped into a garbage scow. But on the whole his life is a happy one. His great
adventure comes when, at the age of seven, he sets out in the world to seek his
dearest friend, Margalo, a beautiful little bird who stayed for a few days in
the Littles’ Boston fern. It is on this search, after several amusing
experiences, that we leave Stuart, going north in his little car, sure he is heading
in the right direction.

Stuart Little, small in size
only, has the adventurousness, the great purpose, and the indomitable spirit of
a heroic figure, and his story, funny and tender and exciting by turns, will be
read, reread, and loved by young and old.



“These two titles appear to
be headed for literary immortality in our times and are the works for which Mr.
White has been awarded the 1970 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. The continuing and
almost universal response of children to his two fantasies ... is the real
tribute to the real genius of E. B. White. The medal acknowledges and
memorializes this fact.”

--Chairman, 1970 Laura
Ingalls Wilder Award Committee,

Children’s Services

American Library




“Surely there is no other
author whose new book one would reach forwith such sure anticipation. No one
else could bring off, so marvelously well, that extraordinary blend of real wildlife
and nature and the utterly fantastic. And the beautiful details, the sweetness
of relationships—poignant without this time being sad— also make you know that
this is the author of CHARLOTTE’S WEB.”

--Virginia Haviland


glows with the primal ecstasies of space and flight, of night and day, of
nurturing and maturing, of courtship and art.”

--John Updike, The New


E.b. White was born in Mount
Vernon, New York, in 1899, and went to the public schools there. He graduated
from Cornell University in 1921, worked in New York for a year, and then
traveled about. After five or six years trying many sorts of jobs, plus a year or
two of unemployment, he found work with The New Yorker, then in its infancy.
The connection proved a happy one and resulted in a steady output of satirical
sketches, poems, and editorials. Many of these were unsigned, and some were
published over the initials E.b.w. In 1938 he went to the country and wrote
essays every month for Harper’s magazine that were made into the book ONE MAN’S
MEAT. Mr. White found writing difficult and bad for one’s health, but he kept
at it even so. He would have liked, more than anything, to be a poet. The
poets, he thought, are the great ones. He began STUART LITTLE in the hope of
amusing a six-year-old niece of his, but before he had finished it she had grown
up and was reading Hemingway.

Chapter Page

I. In the Drain

II. Home Problems

III. Washing Up

IV. Exercise

V. Rescued

VI. A Fair Breeze .....

VII. The Sailboat Race

VIII. Margalo .......

IX. A Narrow Escape

X. Springtime

XI. The Automobile

XII. The Schoolroom 61

XIII. Ames’ Crossing

XIV. An Evening on the River

XV. Heading North


I. In the Drain

When Mrs. Frederick C.
Little’s second son arrived, everybody noticed that he was not much bigger than
a mouse. The truth of the matter was, the baby looked very much like a mouse in
every way. He was only about two inches high; and he had a mouse’s sharp nose,
a mouse’s tail, a mouse’s whiskers, and the pleasant, shy manner of a mouse.
Before he was many days old he was not only looking like a mouse but acting
like one, too—wearing a gray hat and carrying a small cane. Mr. and Mrs.
Little named him Stuart, and Mr. Little made him a tiny bed out of four
clothespins and a cigarette box.

Unlike most babies, Stuart
could walk as soon as he was born. When he was a week old he could climb lamps
by shinnying up the cord.

Mrs. Little saw right away
that the infant clothes she had provided were unsuitable, and she set to work and
made him a fine little blue worsted suit with patch pockets in which he could
keep his handkerchief, his money, and his keys. Every morning, before Stuart
dressed, Mrs. Little went into his room and weighed him on a small scale which
was really meant for weighing letters. At birth Stuart could have been sent by
first class mail for three cents, but his parents preferred to keep him rather
than send him away; and when, at the age of a month, he had gained only a third
of an ounce, his mother was so worried she sent for the doctor.

The doctor was delighted
with Stuart and said that it was very unusual for an American family to have a mouse.
He took Stuart’s temperature and found that it was 98.6, which is normal for a
mouse. He also examined Stuart’s chest and heart and looked into his ears
solemnly with a flashlight. (not every doctor can look into a mouse’s ear
without laughing.) Everything seemed to be all right, and Mrs. Little was
pleased to get such a good report.

“Feed him up!” said the
doctor cheerfully, as he left.

The home of the Little
family was a pleasant place near a park in New York City. In the mornings the
sun streamed in through the east windows, and all the Littles were up early as
a general rule. Stuart was a great help to his parents, and to his older
brother George, because of his small size and because he could do things that a
mouse can do and was agreeable about doing them. One day when Mrs. Little was
washing out the bathtub after Mr. Little had taken a bath, she lost a ring off
her finger and was horrified to discover that it had fallen down the drain.

“What had I better do?” she
cried, trying to keep the tears back.

“If I were you,” said
George, “I should bend a hairpin in the shape of a fishhook and tie it onto a
piece of string and try to fish the ring out with it.” So Mrs. Little found a
piece of string and a hairpin, and for about a half-hour she fished for the ring;
but it was dark down the drain and the hook always seemed to catch on something
before she could get it down to where the ring was.

“What luck?” inquired Mr.
Little, coming into the bathroom.

“No luck at all,” said Mrs.
Little. “The ring is so far down I can’t fish it up.”

“Why don’t we send Stuart
down after it?” suggested Mr. Little. “How about it, Stuart, would you like to

“Yes, I would,” Stuart
replied, “but I think I’d better get into my old pants. I imagine it’s wet down

“It’s all of that,” said
George, who was a trifle annoyed that his hook idea hadn’t worked. So Stuart
slipped into his old pants and prepared to go down the drain after the ring. He
decided to carry the string along with him, leaving one end in charge of his
father. “When I jerk three times on the string, pull me up,” he said. And while
Mr. Little knelt in the tub, Stuart slid easily down the drain and was lost to
view. In a minute or so, there came three quick jerks on the string, and Mr.
Little carefully hauled it up. There, at the end, was Stuart, with the ring
safely around his neck.

“Oh, my brave little son,”
said Mrs. Little proudly, as she kissed Stuart and thanked him.

“How was it down there?”
asked Mr. Little, who was always curious to know about places he had never been

“It was all right,” said

But the truth was the drain
had made him very slimy, and it was necessary for him to take a bath and sprinkle
himself with a bit of his mother’s violet water before he felt himself again.
Everybody in the family thought he had been awfully good about the whole thing.

II. Home Problems

Stuart was also helpful when
it came to Ping-pong. The Littles liked Ping-pong, but the balls had a way of
rolling under chairs, sofas, and radiators, and this meant that the players were
forever stooping down and reaching under things. Stuart soon learned to chase
balls, and it was a great sight to see him come out from under a hot radiator, pushing
a Ping-pong ball with all his might, the perspiration rolling down his cheeks.
The ball, of course, was almost as high as he was, and he had to throw his
whole weight against it in order to keep it rolling.

The Littles had a grand
piano in their living room, which was all right except that one of the keys was
a sticky key and didn’t work properly. Mrs. Little said she thought it must be
the damp weather, but I don’t see how it could be the damp weather, for the key
had been sticking for about four years, during which time there had been many
bright clear days. But anyway, the key stuck, and was a great inconvenience to
anyone trying to play the piano. It bothered George particularly when he was playing
the “Scarf Dance,” which was rather lively. It was George who had the idea of
stationing Stuart inside the piano to push the key up the second it was played.
This was no easy job for Stuart, as he had to crouch down between the felt
hammers so that he wouldn’t get hit on the head. But Stuart liked it just the
same: it was exciting inside the piano, dodging about, and the noise was quite

Sometimes after a long session
he would emerge quite deaf, as though he had just stepped out of an airplane
after a long journey; and it would be some little time before he really felt
normal again. Mr. and Mrs. Little often discussed Stuart quietly between
themselves when he wasn’t around, for they had never quite recovered from the
shock and surprise of having a mouse in the family. He was so very tiny and he presented
so many problems to his parents. Mr. Little said that, for one thing, there
must be no references to “mice” in their conversation. He made Mrs. Little tear
from the nursery songbook the page about the “Three Blind Mice, See How They

“I don’t want Stuart to get
a lot of notions in his head,” said Mr. Little. “I should feel badly to have my
son grow up fearing that a farmer’s wife was going to cut off his tail with a
carving knife. It is such things that make children dream bad dreams when they
go to bed at night.”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Little, “and
I think we had better start thinking about the poem “’Twas the night before
Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”
I think it might embarrass Stuart to hear mice mentioned in such a belittling

“That’s right,” said her
husband, “but what shall we say when we come to that line in the poem? We’ll
have to say something. We can’t just say “’Twas the night before Christmas
when all through the house not a creature was stirring.” That doesn’t sound complete;
it needs a word to rhyme with house.”

“What about louse?” asked
Mrs. Little.

“Or grouse,” said Mr.

“I suggest souse,” remarked
George, who had been listening to the conversation from across the room.

It was decided that louse
was the best substitute for mouse, and so when Christmas came around Mrs. Little
carefully rubbed out the word mouse from the poem and wrote in the word louse,
and Stuart always thought that the poem went this way:

‘Twas the night before
Christmas when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring,
not even a louse.

The thing that worried Mr.
Little most was the mousehole in the pantry. This hole had been made by some
mice in the days before the Littles came to live in the house, and nothing had
been done about stopping it up. Mr. Little was not at all sure that he
understood Stuart’s real feeling about a mousehole. He didn’t know where the
hole led to, and it made him uneasy to think that Stuart might some day feel
the desire to venture into it.

“After all, he does look a
good deal like a mouse,” said Mr. Little to his wife. “And I’ve never seen a
mouse yet that didn’t like to go into a hole.”

III. Washing Up

Stuart was an early riser:
he was almost always the first person up in the morning. He liked the feeling
of being the first one stirring; he enjoyed the quiet rooms with the books
standing still on the shelves, the pale light coming in through the windows, and
the fresh smell of day. In wintertime it would be quite dark when he climbed
from his bed made out of the cigarette box, and he sometimes shivered with cold
as he stood in his nightgown doing his exercises. (stuart touched his toes ten
times every morning to keep himself in good condition. He had seen his brother
George do it, and George had explained that it kept the stomach muscles firm and
was a fine abdominal thing to do.)

After exercising, Stuart
would slip on his handsome wool wrapper, tie the cord tightly around his waist,
and start for the bathroom, creeping silently through the long dark hall past
his mother’s and father’s room, past the hall closet where the carpet sweeper
was kept, past George’s room, and along by the head of the stairs till he got
to the bathroom.

BOOK: Stuart Little
10.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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