by Natalie Babbitt. (Farrar, 1975. ISBN 0374378487. Order Info.) Novel. 180 pages. Grades 4 -8.
This thought-provoking, delightful book has got to be one of the all time great fantasies for children. The writing is superb. The plot engrossing and the images and themes can last in the reader's mind for a very long time. When Winnie, a rather bored and overly protected child, becomes friends with the Tuck family, her life is changed forever. The Tucks, mother and father and two sons, have inadvertently drunk from a well which freezes them in time and gives them everlasting life. They will never change, never grow old, never die. They know that the world must never be let in on their secret, for it would change life on earth for the worse. Then Mae Tuck kills a man. If they try to execute Mae for the crime, their secret immortality will come out. If they merely keep her in prison, they'll see that she doesn't age. The dilemma for Winnie, Mae and Mae's family is extreme. And then there's Winnie herself. Should she drink from the well now? when she grows up? ever?
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