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Natalie Babbitt, 1932–2016


Beloved author and illustrator Natalie Babbitt died this past Monday; she had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She gave the children’s book world immeasurable gifts — her books. In the New York Times obituary, her husband, Samuel Fisher Babbitt, described her as a remarkable woman “who left her mark in the literary world with her stories. ‘She once said that her ambition was just to leave a little scratch on the rock,’ he said. ‘I think she did that with Tuck Everlasting.'”

Indeed. Winnie Foster may have wisely eschewed immortality in Tuck Everlasting, but with that novel, and others such as The Search for Delicious, The Devil’s Storybook, Knee-Knock Rise, The Eyes of the Amaryllis, and more, plus her illustrations for  Valerie Worth’s Small Poems collections, Winnie’s creator has certainly achieved everlasting esteem and appreciation.

Natalie Babbitt was also a great friend of the Horn Book; see below just a sampling of her contributions to the magazine over the years, plus a few reviews and appreciations.


ma00On the Cover: The Man in the Yellow Suit by Natalie Babbitt (Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2000)

Editorial by Roger Sutton: The Mystery in the Yellow Suit (Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2000)

Circling Tuck: An Interview with Natalie Babbitt by Betsy Hearne (Horn Book Magazine, March/April 2000)

Acrostic by Natalie Babbitt for The Horn Book’s 75th anniversary (Horn Book Magazine, September/October 1999)

Drawing on the Child Within by Natalie Babbitt (Horn Book Magazine, May/June 1993)

The Rhinoceros and the Pony by Natalie Babbitt (Horn Book Magazine, November/December 1989)

Metamorphosis by Natalie Babbitt (Horn Book Magazine, September/October 1988)

tuckeverlastingWho Is “The Child”? by Natalie Babbitt (Horn Book Magazine, March/April 1986)

Future Classics: Natalie Babbitt’s Tuck Everlasting, selected by Tim Wynne-Jones

Virginia Haviland’s reviews of The Search for Delicious and Tuck Everlasting

Moving Moments: “One of the best friends the Horn Book has.”

Tuck, then, now, and always




  1. Like so many others who have long revered her work, I am deeply saddened by her passing. I’ve used “Tuck Everlasting” when I taught the middle grades through the 90’s and the fond memories connected with those units are still with me. But I have been told and have read what a truly lovely person she was. R.I.P.

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