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Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott
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Under the Lilacs (1878)

by Louisa May Alcott

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,27699,353 (3.51)37
  1. 00
    Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus by James Otis (BonnieJune54)
    BonnieJune54: Both books involve children working in a 19th century circus.
  2. 00
    The Circus is Coming by Noel Streatfeild (HollyMS)
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» See also 37 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Boys used to dream about running away to join the circus, right? Lots of stories about that. Well, in this one, a boy ran away from the circus, where he had been happy until his father left for "the West", promising to come back to get him as soon as he saved up some money. Of course, he didn't return, and without his protection, young Ben began to suffer ill treatment at the hands of the man who ran the show. So off he struck, with faithful performing dog companion, Sancho (a poodle, yet), sleeping in barns, and generally falling on hard times...until he and the dog were discovered by two little girls whose mother cared for the "big house" on an estate with no master or mistress in residence. Soon enough, along comes the young mistress and her recuperating even younger brother (why is there always such a time gap between siblings in these stories?) to settle in. Lovely frolics and tea parties and poetry recitations ensue, all the while Ben's getting educated and properly clothed, and brother Thorny is grower stronger after his long and mysterious illness (illnesses never had names in the 19th century, did they?) and Betty and Bab have such fun...until Bab fails at minding Sancho and the poor critter gets kidnapped to be taken, we assume, back to the circus, and Ben gets word that his father has died in California... *sigh* There are fine pen and ink drawings illustrating the copy I read, and there's a happy ending as preposterous as it is predictable. I contemplated skimming from time to time, but in the end I managed to read it all. If I were raising young people in the late 1800's, I suppose this is just the sort of book I would have wanted them to read. But honestly, no one in it, with the possible exception of Bab, behaves in a recognizable human manner, and I don't think that's just because I'm reading it so far out of its time. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Feb 22, 2019 |
Forgettable, happily-ever-after. Disappointing effort from Alcott. ( )
  ErinMa | Feb 22, 2019 |
I'm delighted that this title showed up on my book group list. We all enjoyed its old fashioned sweetness. The generosity and kindness of some of the characters is an inspiration. The bad guys are very bad. Not at all like my everyday life. A wonderful escape. ( )
  njcur | Jul 31, 2017 |
This book is intended for children; it features two sisters called Bab and Betty, who are 10 and 9 respectively, and a boy called Ben who is 12 and who has run away from a circus, looking for his father.

It's old-fashioned, of course, and based in America, but the language is simple enough that fluently-reading girls of around 8 or 9 might enjoy it, and perhaps some boys too since Ben is actually the hero of the book. There are a few places where the author makes comments, as tended to happen in previous centuries, and an over-emphasis on formal education and learning poetry or facts by heart, which I might have found annoying a few years ago. But on the whole it's a delightful story, quick to read with a couple of very moving moments that brought tears to my eyes.

Not particularly memorable, but very pleasant reading, and good to re-read every ten years or so. . ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Read during Spring 2004

Sentinmental Victorian children's story but charming enough to make up for the moral lessons. It's clear she shot her best with Little Women but it's nothing near as painful as A Garland for Girls.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Louisa May Alcottprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davis, MargueriteIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ives, RuthIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stephenson, EuniceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Emma, Ida, Carl, and Lina, Over the Sea. This little book is affectionately inscribed.
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The elm-tree avenue was all overgrown, the great gate was never unlocked, and the old house had been shut up for several years.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The ISBN used here, 0448060191, belongs to a different work. It is not Under the Lilacs.
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Book description
Relates the adventures of Ben Brown, his performing poodle Sancho, and the two young girls who feed and care for them after the boy and dog run away from the circus.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316030872, Paperback)

Relates the adventures of Ben Brown, his performing poodle Sancho, and the two young girls who feed and care for them after the boy and dog run away from the circus.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:07 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Relates the adventures of Ben Brown, his performing poodle Sancho, and the two young girls who feed and care for them after the boy and dog run away from the circus.

» see all 10 descriptions

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