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Nancy and Plum (1952)

by Betty MacDonald

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1798128,849 (4.02)15
Two orphaned sisters are sent to live at a boarding home run by the cruel and greedy Mrs. Monday, where they dream about someday having enough to eat and being able to experience a real Christmas.
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» See also 15 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
A sweet take on the trope of orphans abandoned to a wicked headmistress. I liked how many good adults did try to help the children, and how plausible the obstacles were. And I liked the personalities of the girls - they were quite different from one another but both brave, kind, and smart in their own way. I was a bit frustrated that the situation of all the other boarders was not better developed, but I'm sure a child wouldn't fret about them - they were just 'supporting cast' after all.

I'm only giving it three stars because of how much I, personally, enjoyed it. I wouldn't be surprised if it's a five star read for you. Also, this edition has photos of the author's family, which is nice. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Better than I remember from childhood because I can now appreciate the lovely descriptive language more than the heart-strings story. ( )
  2wonderY | Mar 16, 2014 |
An old fashioned story. These children were a little more believable than the people of Roald Dahl. Still not very real. I was happy that all turned out well in the end, but the villains didn't seem to get their comeuppance and the children left at the orphanage seemed to me to still be stuck in an untenable position. Not Betty MacDonald's best. I do love Mrs Piggle Wiggle. I'll have to reread the Egg and I. I liked it a lot as a kid. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
When their parents die and they are left in the guardianship of a bachelor uncle, sisters Nancy and Plum are sent to board with the penny-pinching Mrs. Monday and her disagreeable niece Marybelle. Like all of the neglected children left in Mrs. Monday's care, Nancy and Plum are underfed, dressed in little more than rags, and treated harshly while Mrs. Monday lavishes toys, good food, and nice clothes on Marybelle. Nancy and Plum survive by imagining a better life for themselves -- and by a tiny bit of help from outsiders like their teacher, the town librarian, and Mrs. Monday's cowed handyman Old Tom. When life at Mrs. Monday's becomes unbearable, Nancy and Plum run away. They soon discover that they cannot make it in the world on their own . . . but will they be able to find the help they need to end up in a better situation?

I was left vaguely dissatisfied with this story. I imagine that, had I read it as a child, I would have loved it. The characters are stock figures: the plucky heroines, the evil villain, the kind teacher, the quiet old handyman. Morals are dropped in with a rather heavy hand, and the story ends in a predictably happy fashion. Children who enjoy this sort of story will eat this book up, but I found it just a bit flat ( )
  foggidawn | Sep 21, 2013 |
Two orphaned sisters are sent to live at a boarding home run by the cruel and greedy Mrs. Monday, where they dream about someday having enough to eat and being able to experience a real Christmas.
  prkcs | Dec 16, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Betty MacDonaldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birdsall, JeanneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
GrandPré, MaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hopkins, HildegardeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Annie and Joan
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It was Christmas Eve. Big snowflakes fluttered slowly through the air like white feathers and made all of Heavenly Valley smooth and whire and quiet and beautiful. Tall fir trees stood up to their knees in the snow and their outstretched hands were heaped with it. Tree that were bare of leaves wore soft white fur on their scrawny, reaching arms and all the stumps and low bushes had been turned into fat white cupcakes. Mrs. Monday's big, brick Boarding House for Children wore drifts on its window sills, thick frosting on its steep slate roofs, big white tam o'shanters on its cold chimneys and by the light of the lanterns on either side of the big iron gates you could see that each of the gateposts wore a round snow hat. Even the sharp spikes of the high iron fence had been blunted by the snow.
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Two orphaned sisters are sent to live at a boarding home run by the cruel and greedy Mrs. Monday, where they dream about someday having enough to eat and being able to experience a real Christmas.

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