3.5 stars rounded up to 4. It should be noted that I read a Large Print version of the book (surprisingly the only one my library has).
It's been so, so many years since I read Little Women. To be honest, I had to read up on Wikipedia to refresh my memory on who all the characters were, and what happened in that book, before beginning this sequel. Jo married Professor Bhaer, and together they run a school in the mansion left to Jo in her great-aunt's will. The little men of the title are the twelve boys in the school, and there are even a couple "Little women" to keep them company. Some of the values in the book are a bit outdated: the girls are being taught cooking and cleaning while the boys are being taught math and science; most of the household's menial tasks are handled by servants. And the lessons learned by the children (and, supposedly, the reader) can be a bit simplistic and naive at times. But Alcott's characters are fun and entertaining, especially the young Rob and Teddy, and the "wild" Nan. And there were several scenes in the book that had me laughing (and crying) out loud.
It's really great to continue reading the story of Jo and Professor Bhaer in this book. Even though it focuses on the boys they teach and take care of, it's easy to see their characters shine through. The boys (and girls) get in a lot of trouble, but ultimately try and fix their mistakes and learn to be moral people. One thing that the afterword noted which I found interesting is that there is no villain in this book, even though it is a children's book (the writer compared it to Harry Potter, LOTR and others where there is a prominent villain). Alcott shows that the evil is inside of people when they choose to act on it, rather than on good. Jo and Professor Bhaer teach this to the children and try to show them that acting good is always better in the end. It's a good moral book for children, teenagers, and adults alike.
A very good book. Not to be missed.
Such a sweet and timeless book. The lessons and setting are a wonderful, relaxing experience.
After reading Louisa M. Alcott's biography in the 'Childhood of Famous Americans' series I couldn't resist reading this, no matter how much I usually hate reading old-fashioned stories. This is the best book I've ever read, old-fashioned or not, I loved it.
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