From Publishers Weekly
Written when Alcott was between the ages of 10 and 13, these lucid diary entries in essence provide a behind-the-scenes look at her classic novel, Little Women . Quotes from that novel, as well as Ryan's insightful annotations, reinforce the parallel between Alcott's fiction and her childhood years. Born in 1832, Alcott and her three sisters had a regimented upbringing on Fruitlands, the experimental Massachusetts farm begun by their father and a friend. After the farm failed, the family moved into the Concord home that became the model for the setting of Little Women . Here, Alcott "at last got the little room I have wanted so long," in which she continued to sharpen her writing skills. According to Ryan, Alcott's father nurtured in her "what she needed to become a writer: a love and mastery of language and a freedom and power of expression." On the basis of this volume--which contains a sampling of her heartfelt, strikingly sophisticated poetry--Alcott achieved these goals at an impressively young age. Polished, period paintings by Graham ( Roommates ; Lottie's Dream ) present affecting portraits of the girl who so eloquently expresses herself on these pages. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8-Ryan has taken writings from Louisa May Alcott's early diary and combined them with excerpts from Little Women as well as biographical information, resulting in a confusing book that does not give a complete picture of the subject. Samples from her diary, her poetry, and notes she wrote to her mother clearly reflect that Alcott had an unhappy childhood and that, due to her religious upbringing, she was constantly trying to be "good." The book is illustrated with several full-color, full-page paintings, which look like some of the illustrations from the time of Little Women. Readers looking for additional information about Alcott might find this book interesting, especially if they themselves are thinking of becoming writers. However, anyone needing a complete and organized biography will have to look elsewhere.Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.