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Five Little Peppers And How They Grew (Five Little Peppers #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  16,434 ratings  ·  319 reviews
This juvenile classic, first published in 1881, tells the story of the widowed Mrs. Pepper and her five children: Ben, Polly, David, Joel, and Phronsie. Fondly remembered as a story that reveals the true value of family, it is the first in a series of books about the residents of the Little Brown House.
cloth, 427 pages
Published 1909 by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books (Boston) (first published 1881)
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Feb 01, 2015 Gundula rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys vintage girls' fiction
The first of a series, Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (first published in 1881) tells the story of the Pepper family (five siblings and their widowed mother), their joys, their struggles, their love for one another.

Rather episodic in nature, and definitely of its time (there are elements of religious preachiness, strict gender roles and definite social stratification present), the chapters, while generally readable and enjoyable, are also at times rather far fetched, with some obvious coi
Aug 21, 2007 Julia rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy Alcott's books
Shelves: children-ya, classics
I have an old "antique" (well, just really, really used) edition of this book that my grandmother handed down to me when I was a kid which I suspect added to the feeling that it took me back in time. I loved it. If you liked Alcott's An Old Fashioned Girl, you will like this. If you think those old novels for children about families overcoming hardship and learning to appreciate one another despite lack of material goods, etc., etc. are painfully cheesy you will not like this.
Dec 07, 2007 Pewterbreath rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who thinks shirley temple wasn't sweet enough
When I was little I was known as the kid who read. People in our town would give me books just because I was the kid who read. (I've read since I was three). This was one such book--a neighbor woman gave the book to me. I never liked it very much because it's like a honey, chocolate, and jam sandwich. Hooo-boy!
This was my favorite book as a kid. I found it in one of my old boxes the other day and realized that I haven't thought about it for years. It was amazing... I think.. haha.
"The Five Little Peppers" are Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie. Their father died when Phronsie was a baby and Mrs. Pepper struggles to earn enough money to support the family. Despite their poverty, they are a loving family, full of spirit and adventure. Ben and Polly do what they can to support the family, but a bout with measles threatens the well being of the entire Pepper clan, especially Joel and Polly. The family has other adventures and befriend Jasper King during one of them. This ...more
Erik Graff
Aug 22, 2008 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fundamentalist children
Recommended to Erik by: Lajla Stousland
Shelves: literature
There being no library in the nearest town, my early reading during summers with Mother and my paternal grandmother in the latter's cottage near Lake Michigan was severely limited by what was on hand, mostly books belonging to "Nanny", my grandmother. Fortunately, she was quite a reader.

Mikey Spillance novels not being of much interest yet, I picked up her old copy of the first Little Peppers novel because it was clearly a children's book. Indeed, the edition had been published when she was just
This is a real classic. The story of the Little Peppers was one of the first books I read as a child and made such an imprint on me. The story became alive at that age. I wish there were more stories like that written today.
Lizzy _3
I didn't think that I would like this book. I just read it because I needed to read something that was in my level for school and this was the first book I could find. It was really kind of cute though. I was surprised. The name sounds dumb but it's actually a fun play on words because although it suggests it, this book has nothing whatsoever to do with vegetables. It's actually about five little kids and their last name is Pepper. It was cute and I enjoyed it.
Another wonderful story from my childhood that has remained in my memory all these years. I also shared this one with Makayla. It is the story of hardship, love, & perserverence after the 5 Little Peppers lose their father. In late 1800 America it was very hard on their mother to keep this close-knit family together but she managed to.
Jan 27, 2008 Maureen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a relaxing and simple book to enjoy
The five little Peppers are the sweetest, most responsible and helpful children in the world who are always happy even though they are very poor. The perfection of the Pepper children gets a little corny, but the stories about them are cute and fun to read, and there is a surprising plot twist at the end!
Jan C
I remember reading this book with my mother - and it was her copy!

So I think that is why I gave it four stars - it brings good memories of growing up.

I no longer know what the story was about - but I think they were very poor.
Laurel Hicks
I've loved this sweet story since childhood. The children are very real, mostly, and the adults supportive and thoughtful.
Kate McMurry
Review of the Project Gutenberg Free eBook Edition of this nineteenth-century children's classic

I was delighted to discover I could instantly download to my Kindle what I presume is the Project Gutenberg free version of this nineteenth century children's classic. The formatting is not the most presentable I've ever seen in an ebook, due to missing tabs and hard returns to set off the paragraphs from each other. Fortunately, though, there are few typos, so the this version of the book is readable
I read this because the Gilbreth children in Cheaper by the Dozen liked it, but I was disappointed. It seems like a lot of the plot and characters are ripped off from Louisa May Alcott's books Little Women and An Old Fashioned Girl, down to the oldest girl being named Polly! I checked, and both of these were published before the Five Little Peppers. Margaret Sidney even lived in the same area as Louisa May Alcott: Concord. Or maybe it's just that all of these books use common themes of 19th cent ...more
My mom has raved about this book for years and couldn't believe that I hadn't read it. So when I saw it on CD at the library I decided to get it over with. The kids (the 8 to 14 crowd) and I actually enjoyed it but at the same time we kind of make fun of it by quoting the children in the sickly sweet voices that the reader uses. ("Polly, please tell us a story. Oh, do, Polly, do!" or "I must make a gingerbread boy for my poor sick man!") It has been compared to the Anne of Green Gables books but ...more
As a little girl I loved this. I think I liked the descriptions of how they made do, and how they loved each other. My family was thrifty but not poor, and healthy & harmonious, but my brothers and I were not at all fond of each other, so this was a nice fairy tale.

Now, I don't like it. See my friend Gundula's review for the reasons why not.
I first read this book decades ago when I was a little girl. It was old-fashioned then, but I loved the stories about the five close-knit children and their Mother. I went on to read all of the books I could find in the library.

The chronological reading order for the books is:
How they Grew
And their Friends
Grown Up

Little Brown House, Joel and Davie take place during the time of the first book; At School and Ben are set after the children move but before Abroad, making them co
Madison Mcguire
This book is so sweet! I don't know how many times I've read it, but it never gets old. Every time I read it, it makes me laugh so hard I cry, but it's also very touching. What a happy world it would be if we all treated misfortune the way this family did! Not complaining or seeking pity, but always working hard to overcome our troubles and remembering what really matters.
After finishing Cheaper By The Dozen I decided to read this since it is mentioned in the above book. Just as I was convinced that it was a very tiresome story I couldn't put it down. It went from being very victimist (could that be a word?) to fun. Now I just have to buy the other 12 or so books...
First in another great orphan series - Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie actually have a mother, who is bravely bringing them up on virtually nothing. If only their deceased father's family hadn't turned their backs on the young Pepper family!
May 04, 2008 Janel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Janel by: Grandma Haas
My grandmother gave me a copy of this when I was a girl, and it wasn't a complete edition. When I read the complete book to my children, I wondered why all children's literature isn't this sweet. We love it!
Lisa Vegan
I read this whole series and really enjoyed it; I still have 5 or 6 of the books I had when I was a kid. I haven’t perused them lately, but I’m not convinced they’d hold up for today’s young readers.
Jeanette McCulloh
A sweet tale of a poor family who worked together and sacrificed for each other. I enjoyed this book when I read it as a child. The first and second books were the best in the series.
Diane Mueller
This was my all time favorite book when I was a child. I must of read it four or five times. I just wanted to be part of the Pepper family.
I found this on audio at our library and thought it might be a nice way to pass driving time with my children. I'll admit, listening to it mostly made me want to drive into oncoming traffic. The prevalence of exaggerated exclamations and lack of action were droll. And I kept thinking in regards to Phronsie Pepper, "Would someone please keep an eye on that child?" But if they had been more vigilante, there would have been no plot advancement whatsoever, and we'd never have gotten out of the littl ...more
I loved this book growing up and re-reading at an adult my mind has not changed. It's great
Kathi Olsen
A slice of my childhood reads that I really used to enjoy. Still think it's good.
Enjoyed this series for the children
Oct 24, 2008 Letty rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who appreciate cheesy, old fashioned stories
Recommended to Letty by: Nebraskans
I often refer to a book I have called "Our Books, Our Wings" which lists favorite books of Nebraskans. The Five Little Peppers was mentioned by so many people as one of their favorite childhood books that my curiousity was piqued. The introduction kind of compared it to "Little Women" and I guess I could see the resemblance, though with much younger children, and much greater poverty (they didn't have a cook/maid--that's poverty???). The main focus of the book is on the child Polly, who is only ...more
Erin Leiter
I just finished reading this to Megan for her bedtime reading. We really enjoyed it. It opened up lots of discussion about things in the book that were unfamiliar to her. While reading about Polly having to sew a button on her shoe, I was able to share a story about my grandmother and button-down shoes. What a wonderful way to pass along some of my family stories!

If I have any complaints about it, it would be that the Pepper children are just too perfect and sweet. We truly enjoyed one chapter
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Pen name of Harriet Mulford Stone Lothrop.

The Pepper family would soon become beloved by readers all over America. Young people avidly followed the adventures of Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie. While faced with many plausible trials and obstacles they remain eternally optimistic in the face of adversity, and reflect the real life issues of so many of their readers. Their universally appeali
More about Margaret Sidney...

Other Books in the Series

Five Little Peppers (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • Five Little Peppers Midway (Five Little Peppers, #2)
  • Five Little Peppers Grown Up
  • Phronsie Pepper
  • The Stories Polly Pepper Told to the Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House (1899)
  • The Adventures of Joel Pepper
  • Five Little Peppers Abroad
  • Five Little Peppers at School
  • Five Little Peppers and Their Friends
  • Ben Pepper
  • Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House
Five Little Peppers Midway (Five Little Peppers, #2) Five Little Peppers Grown Up Five Little Peppers Abroad Five Little Peppers at School Five Little Peppers and Their Friends

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