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Little Women (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,296 customer reviews
Book 1 of 5 in the Little Women Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7. An entry in a series whose aim is to give readers a clearer picture of the time and place in which classic stories take place. This version of Little Women is augmented with text and illustrations that explain some of the period social customs, clothes, entertainments, etc. Also included are some bits of information about Louisa May Alcott's life. This approach seems best suited to children already familiar with the story; they may find the historical perspective interesting. First-time readers will most likely be distracted by the margin notes that pull attention from the narrative. While they can be helpful, as when they illustrate an unfamiliar piece of clothing, they are often distracting and can even be confusing in their placement. For instance, a note mentioning the Laurences is placed two pages before those characters are introduced. This format may also discourage readers from independent research?a process that can be rewarding in its own right. One other caveat?as explained in an endnote, Little Women was originally written in two parts, and this volume only contains part one, which ends with Mr. March's return. Readers familiar with the more common two-part version may find this title incomplete; children new to this classic will be better off with any one of the unembellished versions available.?Arwen Marshall, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

How would one describe this latest recording of the classic story from Alcott (Little Men, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/15/96)? The answer must be, clear, competent, and unexciting. Laura Grafton is a precise reader, but her voice lacks expressiveness, and she makes little attempt to vocally differentiate (and/or animate) the characters. The result is an inoffensive and slightly dull rendering. There's nothing wrong; the tapes just won't grab the attention of the casual listener. The producer has made a praiseworthy attempt to reduce costs by having each cassette side carry double text. At $22.95, this tape set is an excellent value. Unfortunately, this double-track format requires a stereo cassette player with a fully functioning balance control. Most portable cassette players and some car stereo systems do not have this feature. Since, at least anecdotally, a large percentage of recreational audiocassette library borrowers are commuters or exercisers, one should consider whether this format would be used by patrons. Libraries purchasing this format might also consider purchasing (and lending) the associated headphone adaptor plugs. Recommended for libraries with limited audiobook budgets and/or appropriate user populations.AI. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ., Ames
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Signet Classics
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reprint edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451532082
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451532084
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,296 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,987 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louisa May Alcott was both an abolitionist and a feminist. She is best known for Little Women (1868), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood years with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts. Alcott, unlike Jo, never married: "... because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man." She was an advocate of women's suffrage and was the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Like the previous reviewer, I was surprised to find that he book I had been occasionally rereading for over 50 years was NOT the original novel. My own copy, much loved and well thumbed, has been with me since I was a ten year old. I bought the Kindle version just to have it in my portable library, since I thought I knew it almost by heart. To my surprise, when I started looking it over, I found that the book was not the same at all. My original copy must have been "modernized" at some point. All of the familiar passages were there, but there was a great deal that I didn't remember reading before. Some of that was a specifically Victorian kind of moralizing, but there was also some expansion of the story.. I'm not sure that I would have appreciated it all when I was younger, but I found it a delight to read now, as an example of a book of its times. Now I'm going to download the rest of the Alcott catalogue and see how it compares to the books I thought were the originals when I read them many years ago. This was still an exemplary book. It will always be one of the classics.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am a 14-year-old girl and just got around to reading Little Women about a year ago. It is a great American classic written by Louisa May Alcott. It is about the four March sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. They live in New England during the Civil War. They are poor, but they try to make the best of it as they grow and learn. We follow them through good times and bad as they, with help from Marmee and Laurie (their next-door neighbor), bear their own unique burdens. Meg's is poverty, Jo's is her temper, Beth's burden is not being able to play on a piano, and Amy's is her unaristocratic nose. (as funny as that sounds) You'll fall in love with Jo's oddities just as much as with Beth's gentil manners. It is a great book that everyone should read!
2 Comments 154 of 166 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I was so, so looking forward to reading "Little Women" to my daughter, so she could be caught up in it as I was at an early age. I particularly chose the "Whole Story" edition because of its broad margins, easy-to-scan pages, and charming illustrations and margin notes that add historical texture to the story.

Imagine my shock to discover that at the end of THIS edition, Jo has not written a book, Amy has not gone off to Europe, Professor Baer has not made an appearance of any kind and....you'll never believe this....Beth is still carrying on a conversation (I'm trying not to spoil the plot of the real thing here).

That's because, apparently, "Little Women" was initially published in two parts ("Little Women" and "Good Wives"), which are generally published as the same book. Whole Story has chosen to stop at the half-way point, so much of the story you remember, loved, cried, and laughed over is just not here.

Imagine getting only the first half of Tom Sawyer...leave him stranded on the island forever!

I feel completely conned. It's a five-star story - make that maybe even a seven-star story - but it's a one-star edition.
10 Comments 302 of 333 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Please don't misunderstand me...I am NOT disparaging the original story of Little Women. The one star rating is for this particular edition of the book. I have loved this book all my life and having worn out my childhood copy, was hoping to get a new one. An UNABRIDGED copy!! This is not the original...words and whole phrases have been changed and added to this copy! If you, like I was, are looking for an original, untouched, UNABRIDGED copy of Little Women then bypass this edition!! I cannot even begin to tell you how disappointed I was!! I will be returning this copy and continue my search for a REAL copy of Little Women that hasn't had words changed, modernized, or "dumbed down"!!
5 Comments 94 of 102 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this perennial favorite to add to my barely-started collection of these tiny Collector's Library books (sadly, B&N discontinued publication of these). I love that it's small and hardcover- perfect for traveling- especially for long hours on the plane or whatnot.
I was a bit disappointed to find that this book contains only part I of Little Women, ending with Chapter 23 ("Aunt March Settles the Question"). It does not have Good Wives (aka part 2 of Little Women). Luckily, I have what I call my "home copy" of the book which has both parts...so I don't feel like I've made a mistake in purchasing this one. But I thought I'd let you know this book only features part I so that you know what to expect!
3 Comments 42 of 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Louisa May Alcott wrote many books, but "Little Women" retains a special place in the heart of American literature. Her warmly realistic stories, sense of comedy and tragedy, and insights into human nature make the romance, humor and sweet stories of "Little Women" come alive.

The four March girls -- practical Meg, rambunctious Jo, sweet Beth and childish artist Amy -- live in genteel poverty with their mother Marmee; their father is away in the Civil War. Despite having little money, the girls keep their spirits up with writing, gardening, homemade plays, and the occasional romp with wealthier pals. Their pal, "poor little rich boy" Laurie, joins in and becomes their adoptive brother, as the girls deal with Meg's first romance, Beth's life-threatening illness, and fears for their father's safety.

The second half of the book opens with Meg's wedding (if not to the man of her dreams, then to the man she loves). Things rapidly go awry after the wedding, when Laurie admits his true feelings to Jo -- only to be rejected. Distraught, he leaves; Amy also leaves on a trip to Europe with a picky old relative. Despite the deterioration of Beth's health, Jo makes her way into a job as a governess, seeking to put her treasured writing into print -- and finds her destiny as well.

There's a clearly autobiographical tone to "Little Women." Not surprising -- the March girls really are like the girls next door. Alcott wrote them with flaws and strengths, and their misadventures -- like Amy's embarrassing problem with her huge lobster -- have the feeling of authenticity. How much of it is real? A passage late in the book portrays Alcott -- in the form of Jo -- "scribbling" down the book itself, and getting it published because it feels so real and true.
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