Little Women is one of my all-time favorite books, so I don’t know why it took me so many years to read its sequel. Though this book doesn’t have quite the depth of story as Little Women–it’s really just a little glimpse for a few months into the school and the Bhaers’ methods and philosophies–the happenings and interactions portrayed were very touching to me. I finished the book with such a strong desire to do much better as a parent and a parent-teacher. This is one of those best of books that are nicely entertaining but also moving and inspiring.
This book has charismatic characters, moral messages, and a strong storyline. We laughed, and we cried. This book appealed to the girls and boys in my family, and it entertained my teenager down to my 7-year-old.
Little Men is the second novel, a sort of part two, by Louisa May Alcott about Jo from Little Women. Jo has married and inherited an estate where she and her husband raise their own children but also taken in several “orphans” to raise and educate. The Jo of Little Women is spunky and outspoken and loves to write. The Jo of Little Men has matured and created a loving, “free but with boundaries” life for those in her charge. I really enjoyed the book’s lessons on love, forgiveness, creative learning, family bonding, hard work, and responsibility. You may not recognize this Jo as the one you knew from Little Women, but it is great to “see” her as a wife and mother with her open heart.
If I could give this book 6 stars I would! I wasn’t sure if my younger boys would stay engaged in this Level 11 book as a read-aloud. But even my 7-year-old begged for it every evening. This is now one of my favorite books of all time! I love the gentle messages of goodness. You could feel the book changing our family’s hearts and making us want to be better!
We read aloud this book as part of our homeschool book club. My children found the antics of the boys to be funny and touching by turn. We had wonderful discussions of how our choices change our character, and how our physical bodies need work to grow and develop as much as our minds and spirits do.
July had come, and haying begun; the little gardens were doing finely and the long summer days were full of pleasant hours. The house stood open from morning till night, and the lads lived out of doors, except at school time. The lessons were short, and there were many holidays, for the Bhaers believed in cultivating healthy bodies by much exercise, and our short summers are best used in out-of-door work. Such a rosy, sunburnt, hearty set as the boys became; such appetites as they had; such sturdy arms and legs, as outgrew jackets and trousers; such laughing and racing all over the place; such antics in house and barn; such adventures in the tramps over hill and dale; and such satisfaction in the hearts of the worthy Bhaers, as they saw their flock prospering in mind and body, I cannot begin to describe.
Miss Jo March, the beloved character from Little Women—now Mrs. Jo Bhaer—fills her home at Plumfield with boys in need of guidance, an education, and, above all, affection. The children are full of mischievous and amusing lards in each chapter. Discover with the Plumfield household how, despite some disastrous events, “love is a flower that grows in any soil [and] works its sweet miracles undaunted by autumn frost or winter snow.”
“With incredibly beautiful, descriptive writing, Alcott tells the endearing story of Plumfield, a home and school for boys, where Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer provide their boys with a very different type of education and a lot of love. Powerful messages in this book include devotion to family, self-control, patience, respect for parents, gentleness, creativity, love of learning, hard work, optimism, proper use of money, and humility. This is a classic that should not be missed.”—Jenny Phillips
The Little Men Honors Book Study is available to accompany this book.
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