When my son was in Kindergarten I read Stuart Little to him. We both enjoyed the story until the end. My son was convinced that E.B. White must have dropped the rest of the chapter on his way to the publisher. How could the story end that way? What happened to the little bird?
He was so upset with the ending that I suggested he come up with his own version of how the story ends. He was delighted. He sat down and wrote his ending and drew a picture to go with it. When he was done, I glued it into the back of the book.
Now I realize some people will be horrified that I would a) desecrate a hard cover book by gluing additional pages in there and b) allow my child to presume that his ending is better than the one written by the celebrated author of this classic story. But I loved how Drew was so into the story that he was willing to think of an alternate ending. He took it to school and showed his teacher (who was kind enough to read it to the class). It invested him in the book in a very real way.
Drew’s ending is still in our copy of Stuart Little. The other day he pulled it down and re-read E.B. White’s version. “I can see why he did it this way now,” he told me. I was glad to see that time had given him a better understanding of the story. But truth be told, I thought Drew’s rewrite was pretty good too.
He’s still rewriting endings, creating fan fiction and scripting his videos. He’s also writing stories of his own. And hopefully, thanks to the story a mouse and a bird, he’ll grow up believing in the power of his own creativity.