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Copyright 2001

Created by Brian Thornton

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Phone: 705 672-5737

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher
All Rights Reserved

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Tuck Everlasting

Student Study Guide

Natalie Babbitt


Answer all questions in sentence form.


  1. The author describes this time of summer by using the analogy of being at the top of a Ferris wheel.  After reading her description, create some of your own analogies to describe this time of summer.
  2. Who sets out at dawn?
  3. Who was Winnie Foster?
  4. Who appeared at Foster's gate at sunset?
  5. Explain in your own words what the author meant when she described the woods as the centre of the wheel--the hub?
  6. List some synonyms and antonyms for the word everlasting.

Vocabulary: balmy, smeared, quivers, patience, undisturbed

Enrichment: Compare the seasons in both hemispheres.  Are there any differences?  Do you think that weather and seasons affect people's moods?  What is your favourite time of year?  Explain why.

What is a prologue and what purpose does it serve?  Why not simply begin the story with the first chapter?


Chapter One

  1. What dichotomy does the author create through her comparison of cows to people?
  2. What does the iron fence "say"?
  3. Who owned the touch-me-not cottage?
  4. According to the author, why had Winnie never been curious about exploring the woods?
  5. What is located near the giant ash tree?
  6. Although we are not told, suggest reasons why it may have been a disaster if the spring had been discovered by people.

Vocabulary: trod, tangent, ambled, fringes, meadow, blurred, tranquil, bovine, contemplation, infinite, veered, dissolved, oppressive, meager, forlorn, humbly, accessible, isolation, core, axis

Enrichment: This chapter discusses the concept of land ownership.  Describe the author's feelings about it and then express your own feelings concerning land ownership.  Discuss some alternatives to the present form of land ownership.  How did the aboriginal peoples treat the ownership of land?  Outline the problems we might face if the concept of land ownership was suddenly revoked or disallowed by the government.

Design a title page for your notebook.  Create and illustrate a book slip or cover for your novel.  Create and illustrate a bookmark for Tuck Everlasting and use it.


Chapter Two

  1. Why did Mae's husband resent being awakened by his wife?
  2. Why did Mae want to go to the woods?
  3. What did Mae place into her pocket?
  4. What strange thing is revealed at the end of this chapter?

Vocabulary: melancholy, creases, tolerantly, petticoats, bosom, tarnished, rueful, brim

Enrichment: Create a newspaper about the book.  Add a new article for each chapter.  Share the newspaper with a friend.

Design a poster promoting your novel and request permission to post it in the school library.


Chapter Three

  1. Why would Winnie like to have a sibling?
  2. What promise does Winnie make to the toad?

Vocabulary: bristly, stationary, hysterical, gnats, suspended, intrusions, grimace, plucking, heave, cooped, exasperated

Enrichment: Form a small discussion group and come up with solutions as to how a child can handle over-protective parents.  Create some actual scenarios and then act them out with some of your classmates.


Chapter Four

  1. What is Winnie doing as the stranger approaches the Foster gate?
  2. Why does Winnie's grandmother come down the path to the gate?
  3. What suddenly distracts the older woman's attention as she talks to the stranger?
  4. Winnie and her grandmother have different views about what is making the music.  Explain.
  5. Why does the stranger wear an expression of satisfaction at the end of the chapter?

Vocabulary: strolling, intent, retorted, jaunty, self-deprecation, marionette, remnants, melody

Enrichment: Find a jar and go out on a warm evening with an older sibling or parent to catch some fireflies.  Research fireflies and make a short presentation to your classmates explaining why they appear to glow in the dark.


Chapter Five

  1. How was the real world different from stories according to Winnie?
  2. What does Winnie hope to find in the woods?
  3. Why is Winnie surprised when she finally enters the woods?
  4. Describe the boy that Winnie sees sitting up against the back of the tree in the woods.
  5. How old are Winnie and the young man?
  6. What does the young boy tell Winnie when she asks if she can drink from the spring?

Vocabulary: galling, disheartened, venture, consolingly, timidly, interlacing, splotches, self-absorbed, pruned, self-assurance, arching, spurt, irrelevantly, primly, bleak

Enrichment: Have you ever threatened to run away from home?  Do you think you would be afraid?  Explain.  What are some of the real dangers?  Where do you think you would go if you decided to run away from home?


Chapter Six

  1. Describe what is happening as the chapter begins.
  2. Who did the group encounter during their flight into the woods?
  3. What does Winnie plan to tell her grandmother when she returns home to her cottage?
  4. What effect does the music box have on everyone?

Vocabulary: bridle, troupe, burly, moustaches, perversely, goggled, abruptly, comprehend, dismay, implored, distractedly, faltered

Enrichment: Write a short biography about Natalie Babbitt making sure to mention other books she has authored.

Have Winnie keep a diary of events in the story.  Add one entry for every chapter in the story.


Chapter Seven

  1. What convinces Winnie that she is probably the first person to hear the Tuck's story?
  2. When did the Tuck family first suspect that something was terribly wrong?
  3. Why did Miles' wife decide to leave him?
  4. Why had their cat died?
  5. How did Angus Tuck test his theory about the spring?

Vocabulary: populated, gypsies, clearing, source, tension

Enrichment: What is a fountain of youth?  Research the explorer Ponce de Leon and the fountain of youth.  If given the opportunity would you drink the water?  Explain your actions.

If you had to remain one age forever, what age would you choose?  Defend your choice.

What methods do most doctors suggest for slowing down the aging process?  Interview some elderly people to learn their secrets to longevity.


Chapter Eight

  1. Why is Winnie reluctant initially to believe their story?
  2. Why does the author have the Tuck family speaking with such a peculiar dialect?
  3. Why is Winnie feeling so good about her decision to strike out on her own?
  4. Who has overheard the entire story of the spring yet goes unnoticed in the forest?

Vocabulary: scornful, parson, shawl, elated, shimmered, receded

Enrichment: Pretend you are Winnie and write a letter to your parents describing your experience with the Tuck family.

Write an imaginary letter to the author, Natalie Babbitt, telling her what you thought of her book and asking her for advice on how to write.  Have another student in the class, who has researched Natalie Babbitt, answer the letters.


Chapter Nine

  1. What was the oft-repeated question?
  2. What did the two boys do as soon as they arrived home?
  3. What did Angus Tuck mean when he asked his wife, "Does she know?"

Vocabulary: vivid, vanity, brink, hoarding, reservoirs, revived, colander, displaced

Enrichment: Make some puppets and scenery and then portray a scene from the book.

Conduct a mini debate in your own classroom as to whether or not the spring is a good or bad thing.


Chapter Ten

  1. What was the obvious difference that Winnie first noticed between her house and that of the Tuck's?
  2. How does the author make the inanimate chairs appear almost human to us?
  3. Why according to Mae, is it difficult for her and her sons to stay in one place too long?
  4. Mae isn't certain whether or not the effects of the spring water on her family are a blessing or a curse.  What do you think?  Explain.

Vocabulary: pitiless, scoured, submission, fortress, indomitable, eddies, camphor, mirage, disarray, revolutionary, loft, cluttered, emerging

Enrichment: Write a short story of your own creation using Natalie Babbitt's techniques to make inanimate objects come to life.

Describe how you might react if someone in your community didn't appear to age.  What would you think if you had never read this story?


Chapter Eleven

  1. What did Winnie find strange about the Tuck family's dining habits?
  2. What did Mae want Winnie to promise before she took her home?
  3. Why had Winnie begun to think of the man in the yellow suit as a savior.

Vocabulary: parlor, wobble, surge, supremely, savior, decisively

Enrichment: Devise various methods that the Tucks might employ to keep people from drinking the spring water.

Write an imaginary letter to Ms. Manners expressing concerns about the Tuck's dining habits.  Have one of your classmates write a response to your questions and concerns.


Chapter Twelve

  1. The author paints vivid descriptions of the sunset by comparing it to other things or objects.  Give a couple of examples.
  2. Why is this a good time for fishing?
  3. Explain how Tuck uses the stuck rowboat to explain his family's situation.
  4. What does Angus Tuck claim he would do if he had the opportunity?
  5. What concerns does Tuck express to Winnie at the end of his talk?
  6. Why did Miles call for his father to come back?

Vocabulary: silty, dimpled, skittering, caroled, silhouettes, stern (boat), willy-nilly, blurted, rigid, anguish, hunched,lapped

Enrichment: Write a short scene from the section in chapter twelve where Tuck explains the situation to Winnie.  Perform the scene in front of your classmates.


Chapter Thirteen

  1. What happened to Tuck's horse?
  2. Why had the Foster family not gone to bed despite the late hour?
  3. What does the man tell Winnie's grandmother?
  4. Who might the man in the yellow suit be?

Enrichment: List any clues the author gives that can reveal the time period of this novel.


Chapter Fourteen

  1. Why did Winnie experience difficulty sleeping?
  2. Explain how Winnie could be exhausted by the conversation in the rowboat.
  3. Why is Winnie having doubts as to whether or not the Tucks are actually criminals?
  4. What does Jesse suggest that Winnie Foster do and how does she react?

Vocabulary: exhausted, flapjack, lingered, rumpled, adored, earnestly

Enrichment: Take a survey in your class to see how many students would want to drink from the spring.  Conduct a second survey to see at what age students would choose to drink from the spring.  Place your results on a graph and display on a bulletin board.


Chapter Fifteen

  1. Describe the opening scene in this chapter.
  2. What does the stranger demand in return for providing the Fosters with the location of their missing daughter Winnie?
  3. How do you think you would have reacted to the stranger's demands if you were the Fosters?

Vocabulary: barbarian, crinkling, illiterates, constable, ordeal

Enrichment: Form a small group to discuss the stranger's tactics in dealing with the Foster family.  Make sure to touch on the ethics of this situation.


Chapter Sixteen

  1. How does the stranger justify his delay in reporting the crime to the constable?
  2. Why does the constable express surprise when he learns that the Fosters have agreed to sell their land to the stranger?
  3. How did the man in the yellow suit respond when the constable asked him what he intended to do with his newly acquired piece of property?

Vocabulary: wheezed, roust, courteous, cahoots, foothills, slumped, gallows, cantering, flanks, gander

Enrichment: As scientists (geneticists) continue to learn more about genes and what they do in the human body, they hope to exploit this knowledge to cure gene-related diseases including diabetes, heart disease and different forms of cancer.  Pretend you have been appointed to a government committee to oversee decisions about genetic research and cures.  With other committee members (classmates) draw up a list of guidelines that you believe scientists should follow while conducting their research.

What are genetically modified foods?  Conduct your own research at local foodmarkets and stores finding out if any of them sell genetically modified (GM) foods.  Make sure you talk to the produce manager.  Ask a geneticist about the dangers of genetically modified foods.

Conduct a debate on the pros and cons of either genetically modified foods or genetic cures.


Chapter Seventeen

  1. What does Miles invite Winnie to do?
  2. Why was Winnie convinced that the Tucks would honor their promise to return her to her family?
  3. Why didn't Miles take his own son and daughter to the spring to drink?
  4. How does Miles respond to Winnie's reflection that it would be nice if nothing ever had to die.
  5. What is the clincher that convinced Winnie that the Tucks were right about wanting to keep the spring a secret?

Vocabulary: grated, peril, teeming, searing, persisted, blotter, barbed

Enrichment: How has Winnie become more mature as a result of her short stay with the Tuck family?  Explain.


Chapter Eighteen

  1. Why is Tuck concerned about taking Winnie home?
  2. What wish does Winnie make for the first time since her capture?
  3. Who does Winnie think may be the nicest family member of all?
  4. How does the knock on the door create suspense?

Vocabulary: fondly, strewn, surveyed, poised, fleeting, alien

Enrichment: Place the Tuck family on trial for kidnapping.  Select both a prosecuting and defense attorney.  The teacher may act as the judge.  Appoint twelve jury members who will have to deliberate at the end of the trial to decide the fate of the Tuck family.  Both the prosecuting attorney and the defence attorney should file pretrial reports outlining what strategy they will use in the case.


Chapter Nineteen

  1. Why was Winnie suspicious of the man in the yellow suit?
  2. What connection is there between the Tuck family and the man in the yellow suit?
  3. What tune did the man in the yellow suit hear near the Foster cottage that convinced him that he had finally stumbled onto the "family that didn't grow older"?
  4. What caused Mae's face to drain of all color?
  5. What did the man in the yellow suit claim he would do with the spring?
  6. Describe the scene at the end of the chapter.

Vocabulary: tarnation, mantel, hearth, soothing, devote, metaphysics, tension, grimly, petulance, rave, ghastly, stock

Enrichment: Pretend you are selling the spring water from the Tuck woods.  What would you tell people about your product and how would you convince them of its authenticity?

If Winnie had the use of a cellphone to call her parents, what might she say?  Write a one-sided telephone conversation from Winnie's perspective as she calls home.  Would she reveal the Tuck secret?

Why does Natalie Babbitt never give the man in the yellow suit a name?  Discuss.


Chapter Twenty

  1. What reason did Mae give for hitting the man?
  2. Why might Tuck be envious of the man lying on the ground?
  3. What did the constable warn would happen if the man succumbed to his injuries?
  4. What serious dilemma will occur if Mae Tuck is either placed in jail or hanged?

Vocabulary: sprawled, resentfully, unflinchingly, entranced, envious, rump, coarse

Enrichment: Choose one of the characters in the book and do a character sketch.  Make sure to include physical, emotional and personal characteristics of the individual in your description.


Chapter Twenty-One

  1. Why did Winnie like her rocking chair despite the fact she had outgrown it?
  2. What defence did the Fosters offer for Winnie when they learn that she went to the Tuck house of her own volition?
  3. What did the Fosters sense shortly after they had put Winnie to bed?
  4. Despite their horror at recent events, what secret hope does Winnie's family foster?
  5. Why does Winnie accept that the man in the yellow suit must die?

Vocabulary: babbling, murmurs, reliably, insistent, acrid

Enrichment: Pretend you are Winnie and retell the story from your point of view.  From Winnie's point of view what things can you tell the reader that they wouldn't have found in the novel?  You may wish to work on this project with a friend.  Present your findings to the rest of the class.


Chapter Twenty-Two

  1. What affect did the warm metal bars of the fence have on Winnie's thoughts?
  2. How does the grandmother react when Winnie tells her that she would like to give the toad a drink of water?
  3. Who was Winnie surprised to see on the other side of the fence?
  4. Outline Miles' plan?
  5. Why does Jesse give to Winnie?
  6. How does Winnie offer to help or in her own words, make a difference?

Vocabulary: exertion, perspiration, gingerly, parched, mingled, paled, anxious

Enrichment: Why do you think people enjoy reading fantasy even though they realize it isn't actually true?  Research the fantasy genre including fairy tales and discuss why it may be so popular with young people.


Chapter Twenty-Three

  1. What does Winnie do with Jesse's present?
  2. Why is Winnie so restless?
  3. What is Winnie beginning to think is the real truth about the Tuck family?
  4. Why did Winnie jerk awake sometime later in the night?

Vocabulary: ponderous, remorseless, plaintive, lapse, gentility, prostrate, gratitude, poised, notch

Enrichment: Peruse your local newspaper to see if it contains book reviews.  Submit your own book review to the local newspaper but have your teacher edit it first.

The author describes the sweet smell of rain.  Conduct some research about the sense of smell.  More specifically investigate if it is possible to smell rain.

What are Roman numerals?  Write the numbers from one to twelve in Roman numerals.  Next examine a clock or watch which has Roman numerals on its face.  Can you explain the unusual or odd thing that you notice?


Chapter Twenty-Four

  1. What realization did Winnie come to as she left the house?
  2. Who was waiting for her at the gate?
  3. What object, shaped like an upside down L, was located at the back of the jailhouse?
  4. Locate the origin of the lines: "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage".
  5. Why does Miles pour oil onto the nails?
  6. What is the significance of Jesse's one word, remember?

Vocabulary: accusations, detached, gloom, prying, ebbed, protruding, flailing, exultant

Enrichment: Write a poem about one of the characters or even one about a woods with a magical spring.  Put the poetry to music and sing it to the class with some of your classmates.

Create a collage that you feel is representative of the story.  Include characters and concepts from the novel.


Chapter Twenty-Five

  1. Explain what happened soon after Winnie made herself comfortable on the cot?
  2. How did the constable react when he discovered what had happened?
  3. Why did Winnie pour the bottle of water over the toad?

Vocabulary: arc, pod, host, departure, grateful, perversely, constricted, apprehension, comical, accomplice, custody, wistful, staunchly, prissy, gait, revulsion, loped

Enrichment: Give a book talk about Tuck Everlasting to some of your classmates or students in another class.  Don't reveal too many details from the book.



  1. What evidence is there that a great deal of time has passed since the Tuck family made their last visit?
  2. What happened to the Foster home?
  3. How does Tuck react to the inscription on the tombstone?

Vocabulary: blacktopped, accustomed, lounged, proper, catholic, linoleum, wrought-iron, imposing

Enrichment: What is an epilogue?  What purpose does it serve?

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Copyright 2001

Created by:
Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved