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Children's LiteratureHow could a mouse be born into a human family? Critics and librarians in 1945 fretted that children would never accept a notion so unbelievable or a story without a neat ending. They need not have worried; New Yorker writer E. B. White's first children's book, Stuart Little, was a huge success. Since he is so tiny (only two inches tall), Stuart suffers many mishaps (such as getting rolled up in a window shade or being dumped onto a garbage scow), but he experiences triumphs, too, like sailing a model schooner safely through a storm on Central Park's boat pond. The little mouse's romantic nature sends him on a journey north in his tiny motor car to seek the beautiful bird Margalo; his more assertive side allows him to cope with a classroom of children on an unlikely assignment as a substitute in a rural school. After several more adventures and a conversation with a friendly and rather poetic telephone repairman, Stuart decides to keep on going. "As he peered ahead into the great land that stretched before him, the way seemed long. But the sky was bright, and he somehow felt that he was headed in the right direction." Garth Williams's perfect pen-and-ink drawings, scattered throughout, rival Ernest Shepard's at their best. In 1970 White received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for this book and Charlotte's Web. Although at the end, the heroic little mouse disappears down the road leading north, it's unlikely that Stuart Little will ever disappear from print. 1945, HarperCollins, Ages 7 to 12.
—Barbara L. Talcroft