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Book Review: Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge ::: JUNE 2017

Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag by Louisa May Alcott (5 star review)

Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag
Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag, #1

written by Louisa May Alcott

104 pages // published in 1872 // classic short story collection


The books go from personal accounts (for example, how she described all her favorite boys and especially gave insight into how she created the character Laurie), to children's fantasies, or beautiful accounts with lovely characters that contain profound lessons in life and good will.

If you are a fan of Little Women, then you will love this book! If not, you will still love this book, so filled with good lessons to teach our children, in an amazingly entertaining manner. Here is the list of short stories:

Volume #1:
My Boys
Tessa’s Surprises
The Children’s Joke
Madam Cluck and Her Family
A Curious Call
Tilly’s Christmas
My Little Gentleman
Back Windows
Little Marie of Lehon
My May-Day Among Curious Birds and Beasts
Our Little Newsboy
Patty’s Patchwork

My Review

5 Star Rating

For fans of Little Women and Louisa May Alcott, or if you just love short, sweet stories, this is for you. Here's a few descriptions of some of my favorite stories found in Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag.

I enjoyed “My May-Day Among Curious Birds and Beasts” in which the narrator sweetly tells of the sights of a visit to the Zoological Gardens in London. It is obviously based on Louisa's own travels. I think it would make for a delightful read-aloud to children, since there are lots of interesting animals that make an appearance in the story.

One story that is just so comical, just so demure, and a bit too fun, is “The Children's Joke”. My, my. What a laugh, what a riot. Two children get to play the part of the parents all day long, while the parents must be subjected to play the part of children. Each side learns big truths about the other, and that sometimes life is less stressful when you just do the best you can in the life you're given.

I actually was reading this short story collection Aunt Jo's Scrap Bag while I simultaneously was reading a biography on Miss Alcott, entitled Invincible Louisa, and it was perfect timing! I kept seeing so many parallels between Louisa's own life and the stories she was writing. Most of her stories pulled in so many details of what was happening with her and the rest of the Alcott family in real life. It was fantastic to see the similarities!

In the story “My Boys” Louisa writes of several boys who left an impressionable mark on her life. In it, we see she is starting to sketch out the character of beloved Laurie, though in this early story he is named Laddie. (I actually learned more of the history behind Laurie's character in Invincible Louisa, wherein the reader gets to meet the actual boy who both Laddie and Laurie are based on. (Pretty cool stuff can be found in history and literature, eh?)

Although not exactly a favorite, “Madam Cluck and Her Family” stands out to me, as it was a strange and grave sort of story. It's starts with this delightfully misleading line: “There never was a prouder mamma than Madam Cluck when she led forth her family of eight downy little chicks.” The story progresses as each of the chicks dies off in some unfortunate way. A comically grim and rather surprising plot choice, coming from Miss Alcott.

Overall, a delightful batch of stories that I greatly enjoyed!

Book #1 finished for the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge.

Available on Amazon in paperback and e-book (free!) format.

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