I recently got back into puzzles. Yes, this is also a very random way to start a blog post, but I blame Target. While Christmas shopping, they had puzzles on sale (it was of a tiger) and for reasons I still don’t know, I thought “that sounds fun, I’m going to buy myself a Christmas gift.” It’s been at least two decades since I’ve done a puzzle, but I enjoyed it and found it relaxing, so I bought myself another one. This time featuring covers of famous children’s books. After I finished that one, I did what any book nerd would deem necessary – decided read all the books featured in the puzzle throughout the coming months (It’s gonna be such a struggle when I have to re-read The Hobbit and the two books from The Chronicles of Narnia).
Thus bringing me to a little mouse named Stuart Little. I have a small collection of children’s books and since I already owned this one, it’s the one I started with.
While not Charlotte’s Web nor E.B.’s best work, I think it’s still a fun read for children. It’s a random collection of Stuart’s adventures, with only a few tied together. It ends without some answers, but there are plenty of takeaways. I thought the end quote was quite fitting for life.
We always don’t know what the outcome will be (in Stuart’s case, if he will find his best friend, Margalo), but that shouldn’t stop us from moving forward:
“Stuart rose from the ditch, climbed into his car, and started up the road that led toward the north. The sun was just coming over the hills on his right. 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 he was headed in the right direction.”
Just like a life of faith. Sometimes it’s enough to know you’re headed in the right direction, even if you don’t know the final destination.
Stuart also teaches us how fulfilling life can be when we live it to the fullest, whether that’s seeking adventures in our own backyard or taking some steps a bit further away. He was always up for trying something different or something new.
We also see his love for home. Never is his family and home far from his thoughts, wherever he finds himself and of course there’s friendship. True friendship is one that loves at all times. We see that in his final quest to find his best friend Margalo.
If you haven’t read a children’s book in a while, I invite you to. There’s always something to be gleaned and as my friend C.S. Lewis once wrote: “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
Finally, if nothing else, how about these life rules? While “substitute teaching” Stuart asks the class what is important:
“A shaft of sunlight at the end of a dark afternoon, a note in music, and the way the back of a baby’s neck smells if its mother keeps it tidy,” answered Henry.
“Correct,” said Stuart. “Those are the important things. You forget one thing though. Mary Bendix, what did Henry Rackmeyer forget?”
“He forgot ice cream with chocolate sauce on it,” said Mary quickly.
“Exactly,” said Stuart. “Ice cream is important.”
I’m good with that.