Do you want to introduce your students to the classic children’s novel Stuart Little by E.B. White? Then we have just the plan for you!
Whether this is a book that your class has never read before or one they are familiar with, it can be an enjoyable and impactful learning experience when planned correctly.
In this article, we will provide you with all of the resources necessary to teach and discuss Stuart Little effectively in any classroom at any grade level – guiding both veteran teachers and rookie teachers alike on how to bring out meaningful discussion, inspire writing projects, and dive into character development activities through literature.
Related: For more, check out our planning overview on Illegal by Eoin Colfer here.
The Storyline of Stuart Little
A young boy named Stuart was born into an ordinary family in New York City, but he was not like any other child. Though he was only two inches tall and looked exactly like a mouse, he spoke, thought and behaved as any sixteen-year-old human would.
His family was concerned about how he could survive in such a big world, but by the age of seven, Stuart had proven to be full of ideas and had even found ways to help out with chores around the home – such as rescuing his mother’s wedding ring from the sink drain.
In winter, they came across a frozen songbird called Margalo, which they nursed back to health. She quickly became friends with Stuart, and together they could stand up against their enemy – the family’s cat Snowbell who wanted to chase or eat them both.
However, one night Margalo vanished without a trace leaving Stuart heartbroken.
He set off on an adventure to find her again, first asking advice from Edward Clydesdale, who suggested she may have flown off to Connecticut.
Armed with Dr Carey’s screw-powered motorcycle, Stuart searched from place to place until eventually coming across Ames Crossing, where he found Harriet Ames – another fifteen-year-old of similar size.
Although Harriet initially seemed interested in him, she quickly lost interest when his pride was hurt at the sight of his souvenir canoe being ruined by local children. With this final rejection, it seemed all hope was lost for Stuart ever finding Margalo again, and so sadly, he continued on his journey alone.
Key Characters from Stuart Little
Stuart Little is the titular character and protagonist of the story. Born to a human family, he is a friendly, courageous, and adventurous mouse. Despite his small size, Stuart is intelligent, resourceful, and has a big heart. He often finds himself in challenging situations but always manages to find a way out.
Mr. and Mrs. Little
Mr. and Mrs. Little are Stuart’s parents. They are kind, loving, and accepting, treating Stuart as if he were their human son. They worry about Stuart’s safety because of his small size but support his adventurous spirit.
George Little is Stuart’s older brother. Initially, he struggles to accept Stuart as a brother due to his size and species. However, over time, he comes to love and respect Stuart. George often acts as a protective older brother.
Snowbell is the Littles’ house cat and presents a significant challenge for Stuart due to his natural instincts to chase mice. Despite his initial antagonism, he eventually becomes an unlikely ally to Stuart.
Margalo is a beautiful bird and Stuart’s best friend who he saves from a dangerous situation. She is gentle, kind-hearted, and deeply appreciates Stuart’s bravery and kindness.
Dr. Carey is a friendly and understanding doctor who helps the Little family understand Stuart’s unique condition and gives advice on how to take care of him.
Harriet Ames is a human girl who Stuart meets during his adventures. She is friendly and open-minded, showing no surprise at Stuart’s appearance and treating him kindly.
Each of these characters contributes significantly to the charm and appeal of “Stuart Little,” making it a beloved classic in children’s literature.
Key Themes from Stuart Little
Adventure is a central theme in Stuart Little. The protagonist, Stuart, embarks on numerous escapades throughout the book, ranging from sailing a boat in a Central Park pond to venturing out into the world to find his friend, Margalo. These adventures highlight Stuart’s courage, resourcefulness, and determination.
The theme of family is prominent in Stuart Little. Despite being a mouse born into a human family, Stuart is loved and cared for by the Littles. They support him through his various adventures and challenges, underlining the importance of familial bonds.
Friendship plays a key role in Stuart Little. His friendship with Margalo, the bird he saves, is a significant part of the story. Their bond is strong enough that Stuart undertakes a journey to find her when she disappears, emphasizing the importance of loyalty in friendships.
Acceptance and Tolerance
The theme of acceptance and tolerance is prevalent in Stuart Little. Stuart’s family and friends accept him for who he is, despite his differences. This theme encourages readers to embrace diversity and be tolerant of others’ uniqueness.
Courage and Perseverance
Stuart Little showcases the themes of courage and perseverance. Despite his small size, Stuart exhibits remarkable bravery and determination. He faces various challenges head-on and never gives up, teaching readers about resilience and the power of determination.
Each of these themes contributes to the richness and depth of “Stuart Little,” making it an enduring classic in children’s literature.
Teaching Opportunities from Stuart Little
Understanding Human Nature
Stuart’s understanding of human behaviour and his ability to think outside the box allows him to come up with creative solutions whenever he is faced with a problem. This will enable students to explore their intelligence and creativity when making decisions.
Throughout the story, Stuart adapts quickly to find his way around obstacles. This teaches students the importance of being agile and open-minded when taking on new tasks and responsibilities.
Stuart shows courage and resilience throughout the entire journey despite all the setbacks he faces along the way. Students can learn how to push through difficult situations to achieve their goals.
Stuart constantly uses his problem-solving skills to find creative solutions for various challenges he encounters during his journey. This teaches students that there is often more than one way to solve a problem and encourages them to use their critical thinking skills when tackling challenging tasks.
Lesson Plan 1
This lesson aims to teach students the importance of being adaptable and open-minded when taking on tasks and responsibilities.
In this lesson, we will explore the theme of adaptability as demonstrated by Stuart throughout his journey in ‘The Fantastic Mr Fox’. We will discuss how Stuart adapted quickly to various situations to overcome obstacles.
Main Teaching Points
- What is adaptability?
- How did Stuart demonstrate adaptability?
- Why is being adaptable important?
- How can students apply the concept of adaptability in their own lives?
- What are some strategies for staying agile and open-minded in different situations?
- How can educators encourage their students to be more adaptive?
At the end of the lesson, give students time to reflect on their learnings from the discussion and ask them to develop an activity or task to help them practice using their newfound skills in adapting quickly to new challenges.
Lesson Plan 2
This lesson aims to teach students how perseverance can lead them towards achieving their goals, despite facing setbacks.
In this lesson, we will explore the theme of perseverance as demonstrated by Stuart throughout his journey in ‘The Fantastic Mr Fox’. We will discuss how Stuart overcame obstacles through resilience, hard work, and dedication to get closer to finding Margalo again.
Main Teaching Points
1. What does it mean to persevere?
2. How did Stuart demonstrate perseverance?
3. Why is being persistent necessary when pursuing a goal or dream?
4. How can students apply this concept in their own lives?
5. What are some strategies for maintaining focus even during challenging times?
6. How can educators help motivate their students to be more resilient while working towards a goal or dream?
At the end of the lesson, give students time to reflect on their learnings from the discussion and ask them what kind of activities they think would help in encouraging perseverance among other peers or friends who may be feeling discouraged about reaching their goals or dreams due to facing difficulties along the way.
Books with Similar Themes to Stuart Little
- Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B White
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
- The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Homeschool Share offers a comprehensive unit study with various activity ideas and resources to help parents and teachers customize their lesson plans for families reading ‘Stuart Little’ by E.B White.
Reading is Fundamental provides supplementary material, such as book discussions, vocabulary lists and activities related to ‘Stuart Little’, that can help readers explore characters and themes.
EdHelper offers an array of worksheets, such as crossword puzzles, colouring pages and word searches, to provide additional fun activities while learning about the novel ‘Stuart Little’ by E.B White.