Stuart Little, a child who is two inches tall and looks exactly like a mouse, lives with his otherwise ordinary family in New York City. When his best friend Margalo disappears, Stuart goes on a great adventure to find her.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In Thornton W. Burgess’ fable “Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World,” a narrator describes several animals’ search for the best thing in the world.
Read this short story after chapter seven, “The Sailboat Race,” to have students think about character traits. In this chapter, Stuart is thrilled to participate in a boat race. Have students discuss what they have learned about Stuart so far. Then, have students discuss Johnny Chuck’s traits in “Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World.” Have students compare the two main characters. Ask, “What kind of character is Stuart? What kind of character is Johnny Chuck? How are their characteristics similar?” Students may give examples of the characters’ fun-loving, joyful attitudes about life.
In this excerpt from Ogden Nash’s poem “Adventures of Isabel,” Isabel meets a hungry bear.
Read this poem after chapter eight, “Margalo,” to have students further analyze character traits. In this chapter, Stuart saves his friend Margalo from the family cat, Snowbell. Have students discuss how Stuart feels when he gets up from bed and prepares his bow and arrow. Then, have students discuss how Isabel feels as she faces down the bear in “Excerpt from ‘Adventures of Isabel.’” Have students compare the two characters’ actions. Ask, “How did Stuart overcome his fear in this chapter? How are his actions similar to Isabel’s in ‘Adventures of Isabel?’ What do Stuart’s and Isabel’s actions tell you about them?” Students should share ideas about the characters’ bravery in the face of great danger.
In “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” a very naughty Peter Rabbit doesn’t listen to his mother when she warns her children not to go in Mr. McGregor’s garden.
Read this fable after chapter eleven, “The Automobile,” to have students analyze authors’ craft. In this chapter, Dr. Carey loans Stuart a tiny car for his journey, but the car crashes when it turns invisible. Have students identify the funny and surprising details in this chapter of Stuart Little and in “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” Then, have students discuss why authors use humor in their stories. Ask, “What details do the authors include in this chapter of Stuart Little and in ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ that make readers laugh? Why do the authors use humor in their stories?” Students may explain that humor hooks readers, it helps them create a mental movie, and it tells them more about characters.
In the informational text, “How Pixar Tells a Story,” Rachel Slivnick discusses why so many people enjoy Pixar films.
Read this informational text after finishing Stuart Little to have students further analyze authors’ craft. Have students discuss the elements of Stuart Little that make it a great story. Then, have students discuss the elements that make great stories as explained in “How Pixar Tells a Story.” Have students compare Stuart Little to the framework presented in “How Pixar Tells a Story.” Ask, “What storytelling rules from ‘How Pixar Tells a Story’ does Stuart Little follow and how? How do these rules help writers create great stories?” Students may give examples of the challenges Stuart faces, the creative elements of the story, and the universal feelings the author explores.