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

(Five Little Peppers #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  23,597 ratings  ·  560 reviews
Times are tough around the little brown house! The widowed Mrs. Pepper has to sew all day long just to earn enough to pay the rent and to feed the five growing Peppers. But she faces poverty and trouble with a stout heart, a smiling face, and the help of her jolly brood: blue-eyed Ben, the eldest and the man of the house at the age of 11; pretty Polly, so eager to cook for ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 2006 by Aladdin (first published 1881)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  23,597 ratings  ·  560 reviews

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Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys vintage girls' fiction
The first of a series, Margaret Sidney's 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 at least mildly enjoyable, are also at times rather ...more
Let's just say that I loved this book so much that I own three copies of it! An old one that matches the rest of the Five Little Peppers series, a 50's era one with color illustrations, and this pocket edition. (Of course, small books have their own charm, but when I found this edition I really didn't have to try hard to find an excuse to buy it also.) ...more
Aug 21, 2007 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. ...more
J. Boo
Jul 13, 2015 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 of the family are surround
I hadn't read this book in years. I had even forgotten some of the order of the story. I read it several times when I was a kid. I liked what a good sister Polly was to her younger siblings. This book will always have a special place in my heart. ...more
May 31, 2016 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 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! ...more
Feb 12, 2010 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
Kaitlyn S.
Finished at last! I loved going through this with my youngest sister and rediscovering the world of the Peppers through her eyes. Definitely a classic everyone should read!
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
A sweet, wholesome story of five children meeting poverty with cheerfulness and creativity. Probably a bit saccharine to modern eyes, but I loved it as a child and still do.
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, young-adult
There are some children's books I reread and still love. Books like this on the other hand, make me wonder how I thought it was interesting as a child. ...more
Erik Graff
Aug 22, 2008 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
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great old-fashioned story of a widow and her five children growing up poor, but making the best of life anyway. One day, the youngest, a girl of about three or four, is enticed away by an organ grinder who is miffed that he is only offered black bread and water for his entertainment. The child is rescued by a boy named Jasper and his dog, who then become fast friends with the Pepper family. In the end, Jasper's friendship brings lots of love and joy and good fortune into the Pepper's lives. The ...more
Oct 18, 2014 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.
Diane Mueller
Apr 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 11, 2018 added it
This is one of my favorite books from childhood and, in a fit of readerly nostalgia, I decided to re-read it for the first time in decades.

You can't go home again.

I could see why I loved this book as a child but, oh does it have some issues. There are two single-parent households with no explanation as to what happened to the missing parents. Characters drop into the story with no introduction, just all of a sudden "Bob" is there and you're wondering who the hell "Bob" is. My largest issue with
May 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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! ...more
Lisa  (not getting friends updates) 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.
Elle Mitchell
Jan 14, 2008 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. ...more
Laurel Hicks
I've loved this sweet story since childhood. The children are very real, mostly, and the adults supportive and thoughtful. ...more
Lisa Brantly
Sep 15, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF - 40 pages in,,, dnf - not even for a Reading Challenge (Children's Classic you've never read).

I'll read Kidnapped instead.
Bambi Moore
Apr 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyed this much more when I read it 15+ years ago. The vocabulary is certainly great. But overall it’s just too sweet to be believable.
Jun 20, 2009 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
Aug 25, 2007 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 09, 2008 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!
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! ...more
Jan C
Jun 07, 2009 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.
Jeanette McCulloh
Mar 07, 2008 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.
Jul 14, 2012 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.
Jan 11, 2016 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
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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

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 (Five little Peppers, #3)
  • Phronsie Pepper (Five Little Peppers, #4)
  • The Stories Polly Pepper Told to the Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House (Five Little Peppers, #5))
  • The Adventures of Joel Pepper (Five Little Peppers, #6)
  • Five Little Peppers Abroad (Five Little Peppers, #7)
  • 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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