Chapter Books for Preschoolers: Stuart Little

I’ve had lots of questions about when to start reading chapter books and what chapter books to start with, so I thought I’d keep a running log of the chapter books I’ve read with L&L:

#4 Stuart Little by E. B. White

We read Stuart Little after we finished reading The Mouse and the Motorcycle, and while we waited for Runaway Ralph (the sequel to TM&TM) to arrive from Amazon.  I figured it was a good book to follow TM&TM since it continued with the mouse theme and also with vehicles, which Luke loves.  Stuart Little sails a boat, drives a car, and uses a canoe in the story. 🙂 

Luke liked Stuart Little about equally as much as he liked Ralph from TM&TM.  I have to admit I had never read it before.  I remember seeing the movie a long time ago, but the book is VERY different than the movie!  Basically, it’s about a little mouse-boy born to human parents and all about his adventures.  

Luke’s favorite character in Stuart Little was Margalo, the little bird friend of Stuart’s.  That made the ending of the book a little difficult for him to understand.  SPOILER ALERT: Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want me to ruin the ending for you!  In the last half of the book, Stuart is on an adventure trying to find Margalo, who flew away one day.  The story ends with Stuart hopeful that he’s on the right path and that he will one day find her.  It’s a positive ending, but the fact remains that he DOESN’T actually find her.  We spent a good amount of time talking about what we thought happened after the ending.  Luke will still sometimes ask me where Margalo is, so be prepared for some discussion!

Additional Notes:

  • The reading level of this book is more advanced than The Mouse and The Motorcycle.  That said, Luke didn’t seem to understand any less of it, but perhaps we did discuss what was happening more.  
  • Because Stuart Little was written in 1945, some of the terminology is a bit dated.  I used the words the book used (great for vocabulary building!), but always explained any more modern terms that existed.
  • My paperback copy of the book has 131 pages and 15 chapters.  We typically read 2-3 chapters at a time, although we read the last 5 chapters in one day.
  • There are 2 movies based on Stuart Little–Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2–but I am sad to say that I don’t think they have much in common with the book at all.  I bought both movies so that we could watch them and discuss the differences between the book and the movies.  From what I can understand, there are some curse words used in the movie and a cat-mouse chase scene that may be perceived as scary, so use your best judgement and preview first if you have concerns.
  • E. B. White also wrote Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan.  (Charlotte’s Web is a chapter book that we plan to read soon, so expect a post about it before too long!)  If you don’t already own any of the E. B. White books, you can buy all 3 in a single set.  These are books that your child will probably reread on their own in the future, so definitely worth buying in my opinion. 🙂

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

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