I'm sorry to see that this book has been so poorly received by other reviewers. It is not a family book like Little Women or the Rose Duo, but this is a Louisa May Alcott classic that should not be ignored. If nothing else, the interaction between social classes in America, represented by the mothers of Jack and Jill is endlessly fascinating. Also, this book could appeal to both genders. Both boys and girls will be entranced with the train and mechanical images, and it's unusual to read a child's book and have such fresh descriptions...something perhaps owing to the newness of trains at the time. The three girls, Jill, Molly and Merry, and their plans for self-improvement can be seen in almost every young adult book marketed towards girls. What's refreshing about this one is that they're self-improvement is not for the benefit of their peers or to "get a boy", but rather, Louisa May Alcott has them develop for their own personal growth. In an age when self-help books are on the best seller list, this book shows how it was done before it was a science. In addition, it's novel for it's intrerest in health fads and regiments, new school ideas, and the imporance of an American youth culture. Give this book a chance.