Ruth's Reviews > Five Little Peppers and How They Grew

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney
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Jun 20, 09

Read in June, 2009, read count: 2

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 century literature for children.

In any case, Louisa May Alcott is a much better writer than Margaret Sidney. The Pepper children are just too perfectly good to be true, and none of the characters is particularly well-drawn. That said, it gives a realistic description of Polly as a "parentified child" who feels that her main purpose in life is to help her mother support the family. She is only persuaded to pursue her own education when she is convinced that her mother will be more distressed by her failure to do so than by the loss of her practical and emotional support.

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