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Nancy and Plum
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Nancy and Plum

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  368 ratings  ·  73 reviews
"Nancy and Plum" is a children's book written by the world famous author Betty MacDonald, who wrote four popular "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle" children's books, and also the adult books, "The Egg & I", "Anybody Can Do Anything" and "Onion in the Stew".

"Nancy and Plum" was first published in 1952. It is a story Betty told her daughters, Joan and Anne, each night at bedtime, mak

Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 7th 1999 (first published 1952)
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Jun 20, 2007 Latharia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children ages 7 - 10
This is my absolute favorite childhood book. It deals with so many amazing issues, but the best part is having two very different protagonists who both find their own way in the world. Plus the whole bad-guys-get-it-in-the-end is extremely satisfying. :)
One of my very favorite books as a kid. Orphans at a boarding home run by the cruel Mrs. Monday, Nancy and Plum have to dress in worn clothes and eat oatmeal and prunes. They dream of escaping the boarding home and are helped by their teacher and the town librarian when they run away.
Great descriptions of baking potatoes in a fire, sleeping in a haystack, eating apples, and the joys of having a china doll with real hair, many dresses, a fur coat, and little white gloves.
This was my first time reading "Nancy and Plum" since my third grade teacher read it aloud to us after recess each day in 1994. I loved it then, and now I can understand why: there are detailed descriptions of EVERYTHING and the simplistic story lines are filled with adventure and exaggerated characters, most of whom are either good or evil. Perfect fodder for a child's imagination.
Susan P
This is a great story for those conservative parents who don't want their kids to be reading books with sex and drugs and violence. Also for girls who loved Sara Crewe. After their parents are killed, two little girls are sent to live at a horrible boarding school run by the cruel and abusive Miss Monday. How the manage to rescue themselves makes a quick but sweet read.
I found this book at the library and thought I'd give it a's a children's book and I had a lot of fun reading it. I didn't want the story to end and wished there was a part 2 and 3 etc..etc..
Oct 14, 2008 Stacie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: young girls 5+ and their parents
This was one of my all-time favorite childhood books. I received it as a gift and read it over and over, until the binding broke and I had to get a new copy. Then I read that copy over and over until the binding broke... ;) In 4th grade, my teacher gave me the role of reading to the class each day (I enjoyed reading to others even back then!), and I convinced him to let me read Nancy and Plum. It was a big hit with the class.

The author, Betty McDonald, made up this story as she went along, telli
Sunnyvale Librarian
This story by the author of the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books was originally published in 1952. It's been reprinted with new illustrations by Mary GrandPre (of Harry Potter fame) with an introduction by Jeanne Birdsall (author of the Penderwicks series). This is one of those classic stories of poor little orphan girls put in a boarding school by a rich busy Uncle with no knowledge of children. Mrs. Monday feeds them very little, makes them work a lot, and she doesn't give them the letters and present ...more
Oct 05, 2007 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone in search of a good fairy tale
Betty MacDonald is famous for her Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, which are bursting with hilarious sarcasm. Nancy and Plum is a bit of a departure as far as her children's books go. The story of two orphaned sisters looking for a proper home, it's sentimental in the best sense of the word. Don't get me wrong -- the book also elicits several good laughs, but they serve to add some levity to a fairly dark story of childhood deprivation.

Betty's talent for describing nature is at its strongest in Nancy
Nancy and Plum are orphaned and sent by their wealthy Uncle John to a boarding school in the country since he is completely uninterested in bringing up children. The proprietor of the boarding school, Mrs. Monday, is of course a terribly evil woman but pulls the wool right over Uncle John's eyes. She steals the presents he sends his nieces and intercepts any mail going back and forth. Nancy and Plum are cold, hungry, and wear shoes with holes in them. They do endless chores. Still, their spirits ...more
My third-grade teacher read this to my class back in 1972 and it totally captured my imagination. Nancy and Plum are orphans with a wealthy and generous uncle who is duped into sending them them to a boarding home where they will supposedly receive loving care and a proper upbringing. But, as stories about orphans often go, all it not as it seems at the boarding house and Uncle's gifts and letters not only go undelivered, but end up in the hands of the insufferable neice of the evil woman who ru ...more
Jessica at Book Sake
The characters of Nancy and Plum are a bit extravagant, but so is their living situation. The story of children sent to live in a home that isn’t their own, are looked over by a guardian that isn’t quite nice, and are made to go without many basic needs is very familiar. MacDonald tells the tale in such a way that you can easily envision the characters, what their home looks like, feel their happiness over the small things, and have your heart break along with theirs at the sad moments. It’s a f ...more
Linda Orvis
Jan 24, 2011 Linda Orvis rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Betty MacDonald fans, children, grandparents, moms and dads
Recommended to Linda by: Sherri
What a delightful chapter book for kids! My good friend Sherri gave me this book for Christmas because she knows how much I love Betty MacDonald. I've read all her adult books (The Egg & I, The Plague and I, Onions in the Stew, Anybody Can Do Anything), and a couple of her Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, children's books. This is a classic story of two sisters losing their parents and being placed in the cruel Mrs. Monday's boarding house by their uncle. The real charm of this book is the development of ...more
Nancy Brown
A sweet story for girls grades 3 to 5 about two parentless sisters who are sent to live in a boarding house run by a greedy mean lady. Their positive spirits and spunk make for fun adventures in the face of hardship. Based on stories that the author told to her own girls.
Nancy Williams
I read this book over and over as a kid. My cousin Lynn and I would take turns checking it out of the public library. I loved it then and am planning to re-read to see how well it holds up. Based on the quotes and the other reviews, I think I will still love it!
This was one of my favorite books when I was a child--my sister and I checked it out from the library and reread it many times. It's definitely a rescue fantasy and reads a little old-fashioned now, but it reminds me of A Little Princess, although that book is better.
Kristi Radford
This is one of my all time favorite books. It was probably the first chapter book I ever read. I still have my copy, and reread it every few years. I love the sweetness of Nancy and the silliness of Plum.
This is the second time I've re-read this book. I first read it in 1952 when I got it as a Christmas present when I was 11 years old. I loved it then. I love it now.

I loved the way all the major characters were developed, and the relationship between gentle Nancy and sassy Plum (who really did get all the best lines) was delightful.
Clara Her
A good book for childrren. A traditional story that evil will be rewarded with evil.[But reading it is my job.
Pretty standard orphans-at-cruel-school fare, nothing too horrific. The introduction mentioned that originally Nancy and plum represented the author and her sister in a series of adventurous stories she made up as a child. Here all the adventure is removed and a fairly realistic portrayal of rural school is left. I would have a preferred some wilder action, personally, which is I guess why I prefer The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.
I read this book when I was younger and I loved it! One of my favourites!
I first read this book as a child and loved it. One Christmas Eve in the 50's my two next in age sisters and I sat in my bed while I read the entire book to them. This is still one of our favorite memories. Today I was shopping for Christmas gifts in the children's section at Barnes and Noble and found this hardcover edition just sitting there all by itself waiting for me to come find it. I think it was the only copy. I had to buy it. This afternoon I read the entire book. Tomorrow I will give i ...more
Very cute story that I read with my young daughter.
Helena Sorensen
A hit with the kids. Betty MacDonald does it again.
Very cute book good all ages
Although I've read all of Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, I'd never heard of Nancy and Plum. It doesn't have quite the appeal of the Mrs. P books, but was worth reading. The writing sometimes suffers a bit. I noticed a few pages that went "Nancy said..." "Plum said..." "Nancy said..." "Plum said..." etcetera. And maybe some of the situations are a bit over the top, too. Still, kids who like old-fashioned stories will probably feel right at home with Nancy and Plum and their comrades.
7/10 - Nancy and Plum don't have quite as many redeeming qualities as Sara Crewe, but my kids and I still loved this book about two feisty sisters. Full review here:
We didn't read enough of this for me to feel comfortable rating it, but I can say that after two chapters we were bored. The dialogue was terrible; i edited it as I read out loud to the kids (Nancy said, Plum said, Nancy said, Plum said). We picked up The Long Winter (Laura Ingalls Wilder) instead, and I can honestly say that her description of mowing hay was way more interesting than anything we'd read in Nancy and Plum. (Sad, because we LOVE the Mrs. piggle Wiggle books.)
I'm really too old for this book, but it was so cute and I was going through a stage of reading lots of older books. I thought that Nacy and PLum were really sweet and likeable characters, and although I dont think it had much depth, obviously because it's for children, I still enjoyed it. It's one of those books that if I'd read when I was 8, I would have made up a lot of 'Nancy and Plum' themed games for my and my sister to play,tehe:)
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The first book written by Betty MacDonald, The Egg and I , rocketed to the top of the national bestseller list in 1945. Translations followed in more than 30 languages, along with a series of popular movies. In the wake of World War II, the hilarious accounts of MacDonald's adventures as a backwoods farmer's wife in Chimacum Valley were a breath of fresh air for readers around the world. On the n ...more
More about Betty MacDonald...
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #1) Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #4) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #2) Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #3) The Egg and I (Betty MacDonald Memoirs, #1)

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“It was Christmas Eve. Big snowflakes fluttered slowly through the air like white feathers and made all of the Heavenly Valley smooth and white and quiet and beautiful.

Tall fir trees stood up to their knees in snow and their outstretched hands were heaped with it. Those that were bare of leaves wore soft white fur on their scrawny, reaching arms and all the stumps and low bushes had been turned into fat white cupcakes.”
“Nancy grabbed Plum's hand and together they ran around the last curve and then they were leaning against the old stone wall that marked Lookout Hill. Far, far down below them, a river was trying to wriggle its way out of a steep canyon. Over to the right, thick green hills crowded close to each other to share one filmy white cloud. To the left, as far as they could see the land flowed into valleys that shaded from a pale watery green, through lime, emerald, jade, leaf, forest to a dark, dark, bluish-green, almost black. The rivers were like inky lines, the ponds like ink blots.” 0 likes
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