27 Aug 2011 No Comments
“Mommy, would you drink the water?”
My daughter has asked this question, in her most thoughtful little voice, at least half a dozen times since we listened to the audio book of “Tuck Everlasting” on a five hour drive during our summer vacation.
The “water” to which she is referring is the literal fountain of youth found in the woods of 10-year-old Winnie Foster’s nineteenth century family farm.
“No, I don’t think I would,” I say. “Would you?” Her answer is almost never the same.
The road that led to Treegap had been trod out long before by a herd of cows who were, to say the least, relaxed.
Thus begins Natalie Babbitt’s 1975 classic novel about a little girl who discovers the Tuck family.
Doomed to—or blessed with—eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.
The novel has twice been adapted into a film, most recently in 2002 by Disney. As a family, we listened to the audio version on a car trip and everyone — including my skeptical husband — immediately got sucked into the story.
A somewhat bittersweet ending makes for some excellent philosophical and ethical fodder for you to discuss with the kiddos — Why did Winnie make the choice she did? How come the Tucks seem to feel a sense of doom? And, of course, as the book cover asks –
What if you could live forever?