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Classic Starts®: Little Women

Classic Starts®: Little Women

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Classic Starts®: Little Women

4/5 (5,518 peringkat)
113 pages
1 hour
Dec 7, 2010


Following Sterling's spectacularly successful launch of its children's classic novels (240,000 books in print to date),comes a dazzling new series: Classic Starts. The stories are abridged; the quality is complete. Classic Starts treats the world's beloved tales (and children) with the respect they deserve--all at an incomparable price.

Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, set during the Civil War, has always captivated even the most reluctant readers. Little girls, especially, love following the adventures of the four March sisters--Meg, Beth, Amy, and most of all, the tomboy Jo--as they experience the joys and disappointments, tragedies and triumphs, of growing up. This simpler version captures all the charm and warmth of the original.
Dec 7, 2010

Tentang penulis

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) is the author of the beloved Little Women, which was based on her own experiences growing up in New England with her parents and three sisters. More than a century after her death, Louisa May Alcott's stories continue to delight readers of all ages.

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Classic Starts® - Louisa May Alcott

Little Women

Retold from the Louisa May Alcott

original by Deanna McFadden

Illustrated by Lucy Corvino

STERLING and the distinctive Sterling logo are registered trademarks of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

McFadden, Deanna.

   Little women / abridged by Deanna McFadden; illustrated by Lucy Corvino; retold from the Louisa May Alcott original.

       p. cm.—(Classic starts)

    Summary: An abridged version of the novel chronicling the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in mid-nineteenth-century New England.

   ISBN 1-4027-1236-7

   [1. Sisters—Fiction. 2. Family life—New England—Fiction. 3. New England— History—19th century—Fiction.] I. Corvino, Lucy, ill. II. Alcott, Louisa May, 1832– 1888. Little women. III. Title. IV. Series.

PZ7.M4784548Li 2004




10 12 14 16 18 20 19 17 15 13 11


Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

387 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016

Copyright © 2005 by Deanna McFadden

Illustrations copyright © 2005 by Lucy Corvino

Distributed in Canada by Sterling Publishing

Canadian Manda Group, 165 Dufferin Street

Toronto, Ontario, Canada M6K 3H6

Distributed in the United Kingdom by GMC Distribution Services,

Castle Place, 166 High Street, Lewes, East Sussex, England BN7 1XU

Distributed in Australia by Capricorn Link (Australia) Pty. Ltd.

P.O. Box 704, Windsor, NSW 2756, Australia

Classic Starts is a trademark of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Printed in China

All Rights Reserved

Design by Renato Stanisic

Sterling ISBN 978-1-4027-1236-4

For information about custom editions, special sales, premium and corporate purchases, please contact Sterling Special Sales Department at 800-805-5489 or specialsales@sterlingpublishing.com.



Playing Pilgrims


A Merry Christmas


The Laurence Boy




Being Neighborly


Amy’s Valley of Humiliation


Jo Meets Her Match


Meg Goes to Vanity Fair




Camp Laurence


Castles in the Air




A Telegram


Hope and Faith


Dark Days




Pleasant Prospects

What Do You Think?


Classic Starts™ Library


Playing Pilgrims

While the snow fell quietly outside their New England home, the four March sisters stayed warm by the fire in their cozy living room.

Christmas won’t be the same without presents, grumbled fifteen-year-old Jo, lying on the rug.

Her older sister Meg sighed as she looked at her old dress. It’s not much fun being poor.

It’s not fair that some girls have lots of pretty things, and other girls don’t have any at all, sniffed Amy, who at twelve was the youngest.

But we’ve got a mother and a father who love us very much, and we’ve always got each other, thirteen-year-old Beth said happily from her corner. Her words seemed to cheer up the others.

Father’s been gone for a long time, and we don’t know when he’ll be coming back, said Jo.

Meg insisted, This is going to be a hard winter for everyone. We shouldn’t be buying presents while so many men are suffering during the war. We should make sacrifices! But even as she said these kind words, Meg still longed for pretty things at Christmas.

Jo said, We’ve only got a dollar each and that’s not going to help the army much. She was the bookworm in the family and wanted to buy anew novel. Beth longed for music, and Amy dreamed of coloring pencils to help her draw.

Jo continued, Mother wouldn’t mind if we spent our dollars on ourselves and had a little fun. We work hard.

The chimes announced that it was six o’clock. Beth put a pair of her mother’s slippers near the fire to warm. Jo noticed how old and worn they were. She said, We should get Marmee a new pair!

When Beth said she was going to buy the slippers with her dollar, Jo insisted she should be the one to buy them because their father had told her to take special care of their mother while he was away. Meg thought that she should since she was the oldest.

Beth said, I’ve got an idea! Let’s all buy something for Marmee, and not for ourselves.

All the girls thought this was a wonderful idea. Meg said she would buy Marmee some gloves.

Jo exclaimed, Satin slippers! The best I can get.

Beth chimed in, Lovely hemmed handkerchiefs.

Amy thought for a minute as she pulled one of her blond curls. I’ll get Marmee a little bottle of perfume. This way I’ll still have something for myself.

Jo was excited. I can’t wait to surprise her! She turned to her sisters. We’ll go shopping tomorrow. And remember,we’ve got to rehearse our Christmas play. Jo started marching around the living room. In a few minutes, the girls were laughing so hard they almost didn’t hear their mother come in from the cold.

Glad to see you girls are having so much fun,Marmee said. Did you all have a good day?

As Marmee took off her wet clothes, put on her warm slippers, and sat down in front of the fire, the girls flew into action. Jo stoked the fire, Meg got dinner ready, Beth helped Meg, and Amy told everyone what to do and how to do it.

When all five of them were sitting down at the dining-room table, Marmee said, I’ve got a treat for you girls after supper.

The smiles quickly spread. Jo threw her napkin in the air, crying, It’s a letter. Three cheers for Father!

Marmee nodded. Yes, it’s a letter from your father. He’s well and thinks the winter won’t actually be that bad. He sends his love for Christmas, and a special message that I’ll save until after dinner.

The girls hurried their meal. They couldn’t wait to hear the letter. They missed their father terribly.

After dinner, the four girls cuddled with their mother near the fire. Marmee read, "Tell my girls I think of the mall the time. Even though it’ll be a long while before I see them, I know they’ll act properly

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5518 peringkat / 168 Ulasan
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  • (5/5)
    Another book that fell apart on me after so many reads. I loved Jo for years, ached for Beth, wanted to kill Amy and Meg I didn't really ponder accept as a really great peripheral character. I cried each and every time I read the story, as if I could make Jo change her mind and marry the boy next door....I still think she should have.
  • (5/5)
    Summary: This story is about the March family who are all very close to each other. The parents have three daughters; Meg, Beth, and Amy which the book centers around. Throughout the story they realize how much they truly care about each other.Critical Response: This story is very accurate in the types of struggles, hardships, and joys a family would have faced during this time period.Classroom Connections: When reading this story it is a good idea to focus on how important family is. Students can share things they can do to draw closer to their family. Students can write down things they do at home with their families. Students can draw a picture of their family and include any important information about the family on the picture.
  • (5/5)
    Goes without saying.
  • (5/5)
    The book that made me want to be a writer.
  • (5/5)
    I have loved Little Women since I was a child but I never read the book, only watched the movie. As I read the book I had many preconceived notions and prejudices which were quickly put to rest by Mrs. Alcott's easy and understandable style. For instance, until today I always thought it a bit mean spirited when Teddy decided to marry but after reading the book I understood their love and why it was okay. There are just somethings that are much harder to convey on film.
  • (3/5)
    I found that this novel was overly moralistic and sickly sweet for my tastes but well written nevertheless. I can see the attraction for its target audience. Just not for me.
  • (4/5)
    In this story the March family is separated by war and their family is left in poverty. The story follows the lives of the four families sisters; Meg, Beth, Jo, and Amy. Each one of the sisters have very unique personalitites, Jo being the most courageous and Beth being the most silent.
  • (5/5)
    This is my all-time favorite book. I love the March sisters, and find something in common with all of them. I especially relate to Jo and her love of books. I remember one of her greatest pleasures was to curl up with a book and a crunchy apple. As a girl, I followed her lead, and secluded myself high in the backyard apple tree for hours with my books. I loved how the sisters each had a personal journal that they keep notes on their "journey" like Christian in "Pilgrim's Progress." It was after reading this book, that I read of the trials Christian faced while making his way to Zion. The saddest part for me was when Beth died. I remember when my mother read this to me as a young girl, and I cried myself to sleep one night. I haven't read this book in quite awhile, but I know I'll read it again. There were so many memorable scenes!
  • (5/5)
    While their father is away fighting in the Civil War, the March sisters (beautiful, girly-girl Meg, outspoken Jo, shy Beth, and spoiled Amy) live in a poor but loving home with their saintly mother. Laurie, the poor little rich boy who lives next door becomes like a brother to the girls. Lively and realistic, the characters are never too perfect; they each have their flaws and we love them all the more for it. Don't let the length scare you away. This one is an enduring classic for a reason. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
  • (5/5)
    Little Women is the story of the March Sisters. The oldest Meg, the tomboy Jo, fragile Beth, and a little princess Amy. The story begins with the girls father away at war. Their mother is left to care for the little girls alone with the occasional uplifting letter from their father. Meg ends up marrying for love and going on to have a beautiful family. Jo spends all her time writing and taking care of her ailing sister Beth. Amy is able to travel to Europe where she spends years becoming a perfect society girl. Little Women is a great book for little women. Every reader can find themselves, or a little bit of themselves, in at least one character in the book. The story starts out slow but you easily find yourself swept up in the March story. Throughout the classic there are little reminders on life, how to love or how to act properly. It's story is very simple and classic. A great read-aloud to share with a class or your daughter.
  • (5/5)
    Although this family are't rich, they help many poor people.When I read the point of this story, I was very impressed.I think that they are very kind person.They have each personality. So this is interesting.I resemble Amy in youngest child in this book.She is selfishness,isn't obedient. But she likes her sisters.
  • (5/5)
    I’ve been reading on this book for some time; truth be told, I actually started reading this book about forty-five years ago! I set it down then, never realizing it would take this long to get back to it. Little Women is the story of four girls and their mom and dad during the Civil War. Their dad has gone off to minister to soldiers in the war and the girls and their mom are quite poor. Optimism is a key concept among the Marches, however, so you do not hear bellyaching or whining in this household. The girls find ways to entertain themselves with nary a Nintendo or tv. They continually renew their vow to keep a happy face and try harder to be good. Genuinely inspiring people in this book.
  • (5/5)
    I loved this book. I had tried reading it back in high school and didn't get past the first or second chapter. This time around, I couldn't put it down. I cried when Beth died even though I knew from watching the movie that she dies.

    It's clear why this is such a classic novel. I only wish that I had read it sooner.
  • (5/5)
    I love this book. Some of the ideas in the second part, Good Wives, are in my opinion outdated and frustrating (I did start to feel angry at points), but apart from that the book is so spirited and optimistic and funny and even naive in places, it's such a pleasure to read.
  • (3/5)
    The utopian gushing at the end really put me off. Besides everything ending perfectly and the family's happiness paling all the real world's happiness, this was a fairly good book. Except the last few chapters, the book set up many good moral lessons without being afraid of showing the blemishes, false starts, and missteps that plague regular life. Although all the moral lessons are eventually tied up with a nice bow, the fact of its being a children's book excuses this unrealistic aspect. Besides this, the characters had a pleasant depth, the story a studied rhythm. Overall, an enjoyable read marred by the rustic paragon of "happily ever after" endings.
  • (5/5)
    I claim this book among my favorites, though I hadn't read it in at least 15 years. While going through a low period, I picked up my disintegrating copy and rediscovered how lovely this book is. Critics complain that it is sentimental, and it is. They say it's dated, and it is. Dickens' novels are both of these things as well, but no one insinuates you shouldn't read them because of it.

    This book is still a charming character study, full of good truths about life and good instructions about living life. It emphasizes "character" and the choices we have in developing ours, all while presenting some of the most solid characters in 19th century literature. How can you not love that?
  • (5/5)
    Along with thousands of others, I believe this is the world's best book for young girls. Some now think it's much too syrupy, but it remains a great story of four sisters, trying hard to learn to be the "Little Women" of the title. Moving, funny, and a glimpse of a vanished world.
  • (4/5)
    I took off a star because Beth should so not have died. It was like Bambi's mom. grrrr....
  • (3/5)
    The morality of Little Women is very 19th century; charity toward the immigrant Hummels seems to consist of largely giving away prepared food that one dislikes and not calling or paying for a doctor when children are gravely ill. Meg is advised to be content with her poverty, which involves a new house upon marriage and a servant. Amy and Laurie resolve to spend their fortune on people on the verge of falling out of their class, not those who are trying to make their way into it.Jo is the most lively character; she has an animating power beyond the simple "thou shalt not" stories. Her path through life, and late marriage, is a good counterpoint to an Edith Wharton heroine, stuck like a fly in societal sticky paper.
  • (5/5)
    Every woman should read this book at least once every ten years.
  • (5/5)
    This is the classic story of the March girls (Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy) and their loved ones. Often preachy and always proper, this story transcends time (originally written 1868-9; Civil War-era) and place (a New England town). While the story transcends its original setting, its somewhat antiquated language does not. However, this does not detract from the purity and innocence of the story. The omniscient narrator switches between third and, occasionally, first person in order to provide background and insight into the minds of each of the characters. There are obvious cultural markers of the time and place, including various religious references. However, all are easy to follow and delightful to read. There is a reason why so many generations of (mostly) women have loved this novel.Highly recommended for middle and high school libraries.
  • (5/5)
    One of my all-time favourite!! :)
  • (2/5)
    I know a lot of people who just rave over this book, but it was really a struggle for me to even get through it. The characters had no depth, the book was preachy, and the ideals it was preaching for the proper behavior of women were bile-inducing. I know, I know, it was written a long time ago, in a world with different ideals, etc. And yes, I know Alcott was a social reformer and a feminist. But my respect for her and what she did can't make me like this book any more...sorry.

    I have to kind of agree with Jo's publisher, even though this statement was made as something we were supposed to disagree with in the course of the book...

    "People want to be amused, not preached at, you know..."
  • (1/5)
    I know that I cannot exactly consider myself a "fan" of romances, but this book took me to the extremes of boredom. Not only because it is a romance completely free of conflict, but because the story is just... BORING, with completely bland characters, who have absolutely no differential elements in their personalities. The only thing that allows you to know who's who is by their age, eyes and hair color and maturity level (and I'm not exactly sure about the last one).

    And speaking of boring story, it is about four sisters. Their father is fighting in the Civil War and in order to make life less gloomy, they try all sort of stuff to make like seem less tedious. And that's where the boredom begins, because the entire book's purpose seem to be giving life lessons for little children. I'm not saying that they should spend the whole time crying over the absence of a dear family member, but their father is pretty much of an excuse for them to find all kinds of "fun stuff", like outdoor entertainment, balls (interesting thing that they were poor, but still went to every single balls in town) and housekeeping.

    When you think the story is going to improve with their lovely neighbor's apparition, the story gets even more... stupid. Laurie adds up an initial conflict with a great potential to make the plot slightly more appealing, but ends up adding even more sugar to the already sugarish story that this book has.

    Also, there is a point that the story gets so tedious that Louisa Alcott herself gets bored and starts to put some stories that don't make any sense and add NOTHING useful to the book. Like the part where they write that "newspaper". Or the picnic chapter.

    I definitely hated that book. There are so many better options other than this book.
  • (4/5)
    For Christmas, I ordered an mp3 player (Library of Classics) that was pre-loaded with 100 works of classic literature in an audio format. Each work is in the public domain and is read by amateurs, so the quality of the presentation is hit or miss. After sampling about a dozen more well-known offerings, I was left to try a number of works with which I was unfamiliar, and this novel, which I knew to be written for a somewhat different target audience.Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is definitely a classic. Many generations of young girls have enjoyed the story of the March family, with its four, distinctly different young ladies, growing up in New England during the years of the American Civil War. While I was a little slow to get into the story, I must confess to finding myself enjoying the work by the time the girls reached an age to leave the family nest. I can certainly recommend the book to any young reader and even to a broader audience than I had once thought.
  • (5/5)
    Morality served pleasingly.
  • (4/5)
    The March family is an interesting bunch. Each sister represents her own personality, the beautiful and kind Meg, the tomboyish Jo, the fragile and creative Beth and the romantic and dramatic Meg. Every girl can find a personality they like. Jo is independent and smart and doesn’t take anything from one! Follow Jo as she experiences love, challenges and discrimination in her quest to become a writer.
  • (4/5)
    An endearing and heart-warming tale about growing up. A true classic that transcends time.
  • (5/5)
    The four March sisters—warm and fashionable Meg, literary and tomboyish Jo, frail and angelic Beth, and lovely but vain Amy—live in Civil War New England. With their father off to war, they grow and learn to be better women under the ever-patient guide of their mother’s hand. Lessons in humility, romance, friendship, loss, and joy occur to the March sisters in a variety of scenarios which have been pleasingly narrated for us by the character-writer Alcott. Never dull, and full of important morals and fun, it is no wonder that LITTLE WOMEN remains a beloved classic over a century after it was first published.
  • (3/5)
    Little Women is a favorite American classic for many, but for this reader, I enjoyed the story so much more when I was a 10-year old girl. As I reread this story, I found myself rolling my eyes at the sweet goodness that is the March sisters. The allegories, the constant efforts to improve themselves and ever-apologetic stance about their faults (faults, I would argue, that made them interesting to read about) left me an impatient reader. Certainly, Jo March was more the exception than the rule, and I am guessing that is why many modern readers enjoy this story. Jo is an independent spirit – smart, big-mouthed, creative and sure of herself, especially as she becomes a young woman. She settles for nothing, including marrying a man she loves instead of marrying a man she was obligated to love. She supports herself through her writings and is a devoted daughter and sister – all in all, an interesting character to read.Little Women, for all my restlessness, is definitely a portrait of its time. In that aspect, I admire and respect its representation of the time in which the sisters lived. I am looking forward to March by Geraldine Brooks, which is a modern rendition of this story from the dad’s point of view. I am very curious to see how the sisters are portrayed by Brooks.Overall, I was entertained and enjoyed the second half of the book much better than the first. However, I almost regret rereading it. I think Little Women would have been better in my memory as a precious coming-of age-tale, perfect for the 10-year old dreamer that was me.