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Under the Lilacs

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  2,806 ratings  ·  112 reviews
I've drove elephants and camels, ostriches and grizzly bears, and mules, and six yellow ponies all to oncet. May be I could manage cows if I tried hard, answered Ben" who runs away as circus boy. Bab and Betty find him and his dog in the carriage house. Their mother cleans him and sends him to work for the Squire. Hidden lessons about life, death and faith.
Paperback, 296 pages
Published July 20th 2007 by Book Jungle (first published 1878)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tweety
I am shocked that I forgot about this little gem! Of all Louisa May Alcott's books this is the sweetest. I admit that I like Rose in Bloom more, but this one is every bit as good. Of all the characters the dog is the one I remember vividly, the others are just a hazy memory from a hot summer years ago. I cant remember the names of anyone but for some reason I had to give it five. Maybe because I still recall it with fondness? Whatever the case, it is one I should reread for sure!
AngieA
I have decided this is one of my top 5 LMA books. The story is not preachy and the characters are real and down to earth. People are doing their best and it's just good enough. Ben has run away from his life as a circus boy because his father went away and his guardians mistreat him. Bab and Betty find him and his talented dog living in the carriage house. Their mother takes him in, cleans him up and gets him a job helping the Squire, but when Miss Celia reopens the big house, she finds she need ...more
Cindy
I really liked this book. Some of the reviews on Amazon were not good. They said it wasn't Little Women or you can tell it was one of her first books. I say lighten up, a book that starts with a tea party can't be bad. This book takes you back to a time when you were a kid and life was tea parties, play and not many worries. My favorite line "The lilacs nodded over the high wall as if they said, we could tell fine secrets if we chose. Mrs. Moss and Miss Celia are true mothers. They took in a you ...more
Laura
I was a bit disappointed with this work. I had just finished Rose in Bloom and An Old-Fashioned Girl, so I suppose that I was expecting a more mature book. It is a sweet read, however, for young readers who wish to become familiar with classic authors.
The book follows two young sisters, Bab and Betty, and their adventures with their young friend Ben, a circus runaway, his trick-dog, Sancho, and Miss Celia and Thornton, a brother and sister duo who also add spice to their life. With a true ‘sto
...more
Katelyn
I was a little worried that I would be comparing this to Little Women which is my favorite book of all time. Little Women it certainly was not. However, it is a lovely little story that has its own merits. Very similar to Little Women in that it could also be a collection of short stories (each chapter has a situation, a climax and is more or less resolved very shortly with the main plot loosely tying it all together) rather than a novel, it follows Betty, Bab & Ben on many little adventures ...more
Kathy
When I was 10 or so Little Women was my favorite book in the world. And I reread it throughout the decades, and still love it. But it has been awhile. So, picking up Under the Lilacs, which I somehow missed in childhood, I anticipated the delight of another Alcott world immersion. And it is delightful. But reading this ( a runaway boy, a circus, a doggie, two delightful children, a nice and charming lady, gardens)...and thinking about the milieu in which Alcott wrote...I am struck by the levels ...more
Jane G Meyer
A very gentle tale, centered around an unconventional grouping of people that became family. Though idealistic in nature, the body of this book sweeps you back a hundred years to a different time and place. The story is warm, and inspirational, but it also had an unexpected effect of sadness for me. For those times of mud pies, of swimming at the pond, of playing with dolls under oaks and elms all day, is not a reality for my youngest--and I so long for that for him...

Alayne
Sería más bien un 3.75/5
Fue una historia que en momentos me atrapada muchísimos y en otros-sobre todo cercana al final-se me hacía pesada. Creo que tiene que ver más que nada con el hecho de estar de vacaciones y hacer de todo, pero de todas formas me pareció un argumento hermoso, sobre todo el final.
Me gusta cómo escribe Louisa May Alcott, así que seguramente lea otro libro suyo de los que hay en mi casa alguna vez.
Karlyne Landrum
I don't really know why this was one of my favorite books as a child. Was it the circus boy and dog? Or just the pastoral beauty of all those lilacs? I'm not sure if the "moral" just went over my head or if, as small children do, I instinctively just liked the comments on good and evil, consequences and deeds. Whatever it was, I still find it a charming story.
Kathryn
This one can turn into a bit of a morality play at times, but it's still a very sweet little story. For some reason I remembered it as a story about two little girls living next to a mysterious house, when it's really more of a "little lost boy finds a home" story. I liked Alcott's "Little Men" a lot more, but this was an excellent children's book.
Michelle Akers-dicken
What a sweet, colorful little story! I still love Little Women so much more but this was a nice change of pace for me. It painted a picture of an idealistic childhood. One with stories of a circus dog and his boy who ran away from the circus because of severe abuse (although he didn't seem to mind TOO awfully bad that he was abused). Abuse seemed to be widely accepted in the 1870's. If not for the kindness and generosity of a mother and her two daughters, a 20 something lady and her sickly broth ...more
Ferris
Another lovely morality tale by Louisa May Alcott. She clearly was fascinated by the moral, physical, and emotional lives and upbringing of boys and girls as they make the transition from youth to young adulthood. Sweet!
Shannon
For recreational fiction, I love the imagination and charm of Louisa May Alcott's children's books. This one is a precious story starring two little girls and a boy in need who becomes part of the family for a while.
Donna
As I read this book, I consistently wished I had found it when I was much younger and could have appreciated it for what it is. It's obviously directed to a young audience and really doesn't treat characters or themes from a realistic, adult perspective at all. It feels like Alcott created it as a moral tale to teach children important lessons about acceptance, charity, courage, etc., but it is overly transparent and too moralizing for my taste. Furthermore, everything came to a pretty little co ...more
Sally906
Most young boys dream of running away to join a circus but young Ben Brown and his clever poodle, Sancho, have run away from the circus. Ben’s father had left the circus to look for a better job, intending to send for his son once he was settled. Once his father's protection had gone, Ben was beaten by the circus master and so runs away. Babs and Betty Moss are in the garden of Miss Celia’s big house holding a dolls' tea party in the shade of the lilac trees. They catch Sancho red-handed stealin ...more
Cait
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy
I enjoyed this book very much, and hated to have it end. It starts with two little girls preparing for a tea party. There is a 12 year old boy, who ran away from the circus, with the dog his father trained. It deals with the kindness of the people he meets, and also the teasing and mean things some of the boys do and say to him. The boy, Ben, learns to fit into the community. He works, and he goes to school to make a better life.
Terri
Alcott has a great affection for boys which is once again displayed in this book. She really "gets" them. I enjoy how she allows her boy characters to be boys and yet guides and directs them to use their energies to improve and the women in their lives are not present to berate or nag, but to guide and direct with love and affection. Although a great deal has changed since Ms. Alcott wrote, the virtues and values she embodies in her characters transcend the time and setting and continue to be ap ...more
Rhonda
A fine example of classic children's literature.

Under the lilacs harks back to a simple time where virtue and honestly are the by words of life. A homeless runaway finds charity in a small town. His feet are set on the path of life while while benevolent friends surround and support him. This book by Louisa May Alcott will delight readers young and old and remind them that kindness wins the day.
Sue
This book is intended for children; it features two sisters called Bab and Betty, who are 10 and 9 respectively, and a boy called Ben who is 12 and who has run away from a circus, looking for his father.

It's old-fashioned, of course, and based in America, but the language is simple enough that I would expect many girls of around 8 or 9 to enjoy it, and perhaps some boys too since Ben is actually the hero of the book. There are a few places where the author makes comments, as tended to happen in
...more
Rachel
Being a fan of Alcott I was thrilled to find another of her titles. At first I thought this was going to be a story about two of the characters in the book, Bab and Betty. Two little girls, but it is actually about Ben, a boy who runs away from the circus and the scrapes he finds himself getting into (as do other characters). You can't help but love his mischievousness and Bab's pluckiness.

It is a charming story. A bit slow in some places but sometimes, I'm in the mood for quiet and slow. Espec
...more
Heidi
"Under the Lilacs is the story of a young boy, escaped from the circus and in search of his father. He comes upon friends in an unlikely spot and, once he gets a job to save money to continue his search, faces the temptation of “settling” in one place, investing in the relationships of those around him, and choosing the safety of a home over the excitement of life on the road. He makes the right choice (because there is a right and wrong, in Alcott’s stories) and is rewarded in the end in an uni ...more
Gretchen E K
The only LM Alcott book I wasn't crazy about.
Scott Williams
7c7dc546-d527-4136-9f41-f9b218f14a64
Pam
Liked this very much
Carey
Charming...innocent...

The first 2 pages of this book and the descriptive doll birthday celebration completely stole my heart! It was so well crafted and was, by far, my most fav. part of the tale of these 3 children (Bab, Betty, Ben).

It was unfortunate that the entire story didn't have that same creative flair. It did drag in parts for me. However, this was my Grandma Cory's all-time favorite book, and for that reason alone, I'm glad that I read this (even if it did take me a month {ugh}).
It w
...more
Vonze (Yvonne)
Under the Lilacs is a cute story by Louisa May Alcott, involving a circus runaway, his dog, and the family who takes him in.

For me, it started slowly, but picked up around the middle when the dog goes missing. I was slightly disappointed that it lacked the flair for dramatics that I like in Alcott's other work. It's just a straight-forward, cute, old-fashion children's story that's at home on the shelf with stories like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Not Alcott's best in my opinion, but nice, and wo
...more
Hippo Style Lily
The lessons must be pretty well hidden, because I didn't learn anything.
Kristina
May 06, 2010 Kristina is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
So far, Ben got a job as a cattle handler. He also is beginning to read books, especially history books. He now wants to go to school. He meets a women who's horse has a rock in it's hoof and he helps her remove the rock. The women thanks Ben and she said when she returns to town she will bring him a book as payment. I think Ben will finally have a chance to go to school with his two friends. I really liked it when Ben is describing his work with the cattle and how rewarding the job is to him.

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1315
As A. M. Barnard:
Behind a Mask, or a Woman's Power (1866)
The Abbot's Ghost, or Maurice Treherne's Temptation (1867)
A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866 – first published 1995)
First published anonymously:
A Modern Mephistopheles (1877)

Louisa May Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania on November 29, 1832. She and her three sisters, Anna, Elizabeth and May were educated by their father, philosopher/ t
...more
More about Louisa May Alcott...
Little Women (Little Women, #1) Little Men (Little Women, #2) Eight Cousins (Eight Cousins, #1) Jo's Boys (Little Women, #3) Rose in Bloom (Eight Cousins, #2)

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