Winnie Foster must decide whether to drink from the Tuck family’s spring of immortality in this novel that explores whether eternal life is a blessing or a curse.
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 “Grandpa’s Magic Hat,” two brothers decide whether or not they believe in magic when something mysterious happens in their town.
Read this short story after chapter 7 to have students analyze authors’ craft. In this chapter, Mae and her sons tell Winnie their story of drinking from the spring and realizing they were not aging. Have students discuss the key parts of the Tucks’ mysterious story. Then, have students discuss the characters’ thoughts and actions in “Grandpa’s Magic Hat.” Have students analyze the way the authors of both texts build tension as the characters question what they believe about magic. Ask, “What details help build tension in this chapter and in ‘Grandpa’s Magic Hat?’ How do these details hook readers into the stories?” Students should give examples of specific words and phrases that contribute to the mystery in both texts and make readers want to learn more.
In Sandra Cisneros’s “Eleven,” a girl is forced to wear a sweater that doesn’t belong to her on her birthday.
Read this short story after chapter 8 to have students discuss the themes of youth and aging. In this chapter, the Tucks are excited to spend time with Winnie. Have students discuss Mae’s, Miles’s, and Jesse’s actions in this chapter. Then, have students discuss how Rachel feels about her age in “Eleven.” Have students think about the themes of youth and aging that are present in both texts. Ask, “Why does Winnie think that, despite their old age, the Tucks seem ‘childlike?’ How do the Tucks, especially Jesse, exemplify what Rachel in ‘Eleven’ believes about the way we get older?” Students may explain the different ways the Tucks seem younger than their actual ages in this chapter.
Billy Collins (b. 1941) is an award-winning American poet who writes about everyday occurrences to express the deeper meaning of life. In this poem, the speaker reflects on his youth with longing.
Read this poem after chapter 12 to have students analyze characters’ perspectives. In this chapter, Tuck explains why Winnie has to help keep the magic spring a secret. Have students discuss the meaning of Tuck’s speech about the wheel of life turning. Then, have students discuss the speaker’s perspective about growing up in “On Turning Ten.” Have students compare and contrast Tuck’s and the speaker’s ideas about life and getting older. Ask, “Why does Tuck think living forever is a curse? How is Tuck’s perspective about life similar to and different from the speaker’s perspective in ‘On Turning Ten?’” Students may draw on themes of time and aging as they explain their thinking.
In Ralph Fletcher’s “Funeral,” a group of boys have a funeral for their friend who is moving away.
Read this short story after chapter 24 to have students discuss the theme of friendship. In this chapter, Winnie helps Mae escape from jail and the Tucks leave town. Have students discuss how the relationship between Winnie and the Tucks has developed over the course of the novel. Then, have students discuss what they noticed about Ralph’s relationship with his friends in “Funeral.” Have students analyze the significance of these relationships. Ask, “Why were the Tucks important to Winnie? How is the relationship between Winnie and the Tucks similar to the relationship between Ralph and his friends in ‘Funeral?’” Students may draw on themes of love, friendship, and loyalty.
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “The Clock Man,” a child is questioned about how much he would pay for more time.
Read this poem after finishing Tuck Everlasting to have students analyze characters’ perspectives and the theme of time. Have students consider Tuck’s, Mae’s, Miles’s, and Jesse’s perspectives about their immortality. Then, have students consider how the perspective of the child in “The Clock Man” changes as he gets older. Ask, “Why do each of the Tucks feel the way they do about the time they have? How are each of their perspectives similar to or different from the message of ‘The Clock Man?’” Students should give specific evidence from both texts to support their thinking about the theme.