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

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  19,066 Ratings  ·  377 Reviews
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew was originally serialized in an 1880 edition of Wide Awake, a children's magazine. The publisher of the magazine, Daniel Lothrop, loved the Pepper stories so much that he published a hard-cover edition of the story -- and married the author in 1881. In 1883 the couple moved to historic Concord, Massachusetts, and resided in a house cal ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Aladdin (first published 1881)
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Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 22, 2016 Manybooks rated it liked it  ·  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 it was amazing
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.
May 31, 2016 Obsidian rated it liked it
This book took me forever to finish and I finished it in starts and fits. I was supposed to read this a few months ago for Dead Writers Society genre challenge and never got back to it in time. So I don't count this book towards the genre challenge since I didn't finish it in the month I was supposed to, but dang I want something for finishing this.

"Five Little Peppers" is about Mrs. Pepper and her five children, Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie. The family is not doing very well since Mr.
Dec 07, 2007 Pewterbreath rated it it was ok
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!
Feb 12, 2010 Drebbles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2006
"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
J. Boo
Jul 13, 2015 J. Boo rated it liked it
I remembered this very fondly, but on re-read I discovered that the second part was entirely blocked out of my memory. No recollection of reading it at all. Perhaps I had to return the book to the library before finishing? A dog -- or younger sibling -- chewed the last half into shreds?

The start, with the Peppers in their Little Brown House and doing their best to make ends meet, is excellent. This is the part I recalled. But then prosperity strikes, and the two girls, in particular, are surrou
Oct 18, 2014 Brenda rated it it was amazing
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.
E. Mitchell
Jan 14, 2008 E. Mitchell rated it it was amazing
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.
Erik Graff
Aug 22, 2008 Erik Graff rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lizzy _3
Jun 25, 2007 Lizzy _3 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 10, 2016 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mom
Good book for kids. Seeing the happiness from a family living in poverty. Teaches us to have a good attitude regardless of our circumstances...krb 2/10/16
Aug 25, 2007 Lynne rated it really liked 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 really liked it
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
Jun 07, 2009 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 24, 2015 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely an older book and it shows. With little details like the gas lighter was coming around because dusk had just started, are one of the reasons why I keep reading this book.
Jeanette McCulloh
Mar 10, 2008 Jeanette McCulloh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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.
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
Jun 20, 2009 Ruth rated it it was ok
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
Brenda Gibson
Aug 12, 2016 Brenda Gibson rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books as I was growing up, and I have no idea how many times I read it. It was one of the first books that, as a child, gave me a little understanding of what "hard times" might actually look like. I couldn't imagine needing to save sewing thread to be re-used!
Feb 19, 2016 Alice rated it really liked it
Read this aloud over many months to my granddaughter. It was a childhood favorite of mine and still holds charm. Definitely rather wordy. Styles have changed!
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
Jun 21, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
When I read this charming 19th c. children's more talks in 6th grade, it made a big impression on me. I was riveted by the way the two older siblings, Polly and Ben, helped their mother and three younger siblings survive abject poverty. In fact, when my mother died it gave me a model of how to deal with adversity. I was fourteen and thought that if Polly and Ben could cope, certainly could I because we at least had some money. Ah, the naïveté of optimistic youth!

I would recommend this book highl
Jennifer Tarmann
Feb 17, 2016 Jennifer Tarmann rated it really liked it
So many wonderful messages about happiness and contentment and love--all of them independent of material wealth. Great family read aloud.
Madison Mcguire
Oct 17, 2012 Madison Mcguire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Elizabeth Pruett
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew is a simple children's story which encourages hard work, kindness, and generosity among even the littlest of children. These characteristics are rewarded in an almost rags to riches fashion when the poverty stricken Pepper family is taken in by the wealthy Mr. King.

I had mixed feelings about the story due to the extreme conditions the children find themselves in. The family is just barely surviving, and the widowed mother and two oldest children, 11 year old
Feb 29, 2008 Belinda rated it really liked it
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...
Feb 13, 2016 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ALL AGES
This is a such a sweet book! It was delightful to read. Written in the 1904, it gives a very different look at family life and what it CAN be. They had so little, and loved so much. As others entered their lives they shared that love and it spread - to those who couldn't be touched in any other way.

The other thing that strikes me is how much responsibility young ones had then, and how much we coddle our children now, keeping them children (helpless) for way too long. These children had an innoce
J.L. Day
May 03, 2015 J.L. Day rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to J.L. by: my Aunt Re
Oh my, how I loved this books as a child. They were very dear to me and are firmly entrenched into my memory strong enough to have become parts of my character. There are is a veritable plethora of life examples and lessons to be learned through these works of literature that take us back to a simpler time and place, entirely different family values and senses or morality and ethics; there is much to be learned from these simple books. Most of all, family and love, loyalty and a moral compass mu ...more
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!
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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

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