Tuck Everlasting

Tuck Everlasting Study Guide

Tuck Everlasting is a classic tale about a family that does not age and is immune to injury and illness, and one girl who chooses to fiercely protect their secret.

Natalie Babbitt's inspiration for writing this book came from an experience with her young daughter. During an interview with NPR, Babbitt said, "One day she had trouble sleeping, woke up crying from a nap. And we looked into it together, as well as you can with a 4-year-old, and she was very scared with the idea of dying. And it seemed to me that that was the kind of thing you could be scared of for the rest of your life. And so I wanted to make sure that she would understand what it was more. And it seemed to me that I could write a story about how it's something that everybody has to do and it's not a bad thing" (NPR, All Things Considered). And so the premise of Tuck Everlasting was born.

The book is also remarkable for its simple, beautiful prose style. Scholar Catherine M. Lynch remarks, "The language in which the story is presented is in a large part responsible for the delicate balances it maintains between reality and fantasy and between fantasy and morbidity" (Lynch, p. 110).

Since its publication in 1975, Tuck Everlasting has been one of the classics of children's literature. It has sold more than 5 million copies and has won numerous awards, including the Janusz Korczak Medal and the Christopher Award. It is often utilized in lessons plans for elementary and middle school classes, and been selected as one of the "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children" by the National Education Association.

Though generations of children have enjoyed the book, Babbitt recalled that some of the letters she received from young readers: "Some of them thought it was too slow in the beginning... I got a wonderful letter from a couple of boys in Boston who thought I should add stuff in the beginning so it wouldn't be so boring... They wanted me to put motorcycle racing into the story... I've never been on a motorcycle" (NPR, All Things Considered).

Tuck Everlasting has been made into two films, one released in 1981 and distributed by One Pass Media, and the other released by Disney in 2002, starring Alexis Bledel as Winnie. The 2002 release received mixed reviews.

Tuck Everlasting has also been made into a Broadway musical in 2016, and was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Costume Design of A Musical.