Five Sickly Peppers

Cover of Five Little Peppers and How They Grew58. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

This is one of those classic books I’d vaguely heard of but never seen until I came across it in a BookMooch inventory and decided to try it. I don’t think I’m going to be going to any great lengths to read the 11 sequels…

First published in 1880 as a magazine serial, it falls, in my opinion, into the same genre of quasi-realist, quasi-fairytale stories as many tales from the era, especially those aimed at children, and is full of stock characters such as the always good and well-meaning children (who barely get into scrapes at all here), the saintly mother, and the curmudgeonly rich old man ready to have  his heart melted by a beautiful young child to whom he can be a beneficent grandfather.

There’s an afterword by Betsy Byars in this edition, and it was obviously a childhood favourite of hers, that she still remembers fondly, so perhaps I’ve just come to this too old and too cynical, but I wasn’t that impressed.

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