In the Bookcase


Book Review: The Brownie and the Princess and Other Stories

Louisa May Alcott Reading Challenge

The Brownie and the Princess and Other Stories by Louisa May Alcott (5 star review)

The Brownie and the Princess and Other Stories

written by Louisa May Alcott

256 pages // published in 2004 in this collection // vintage children's fiction


A poor farmer's daughter changes the life of a spoiled princess . . .
A fearless young girl saves her town from British soldiers . . .

Two elderly sisters come up with a plan to help a sickly child . . .

A country girl shows her city cousin that simple can be best . . .

From the author of the beloved classic little women come ten short stories to delight and charm. Throughout her life, Louisa May Alcott published many stories in children's magazines, and now ten of the best of these tales have been collected here. Filled with characters who have all the warmth, liveliness, and appeal of Jo March and her sisters, these stories will open up a whole new world for Alcott fans, and remain every bit as captivating as when they were first written, over a century ago.

My Review

5 Star Rating

The Brownie and the Princess
This whole story collection starts out with an absolutely charming fairy tale, one that most little girls will adore. Betty is a little girl who lives in the countryside, and she adores all things that have to do with nature and her beloved animal friends. I simply adore the sentence that states that she “had fine frolics with them, for they knew and loved her dearly”. Awww!! I love the sentiment, as I too wish to be friends with my backyard wildlife. When the princess of the kingdom comes to visit Betty, both girls are each pleasantly surprised by the other, and a new friendship is soon blossoming...

Tabby's Tablecloth
An excellent specimen of Louisa trying her hand at a historical story (not a tale that happens in the “modern” times she was living in, nor even in a fantasy kingdom like the 1st story). Instead, Louisa has chosen an actual year, decades before she herself was born. This story is about a plucky Massachusetts girl in 1775, when the British army was marching through town, and the Revolutionary War was just on the brink of breaking out. An excellent story for any student who may be learning about that time period.

A Hole in the Wall
Herein we find a lame boy and his own “secret garden” to discover on the other side of the wall. This epistle provides laughter, healing in the heart, and perhaps will bring a tear to your eye. My heart went out to little Johnny, but he is such an innocent boy, full of hope and imagination... what's not to love about his story?

This is a delightful tale, in which two spinsters take it upon themselves to finally do something about the young students across the street who have to eat from the scroungy bakery next door. This whole story is like a fun romp, combining the antics of two little old ladies, and a houseful of boys with hungry appetites. Very cute, overall.

Baa! Baa!
Here's my favorite story in the whole collection! Two sisters start out intending to pick berries to sell at the train station as a business venture. But when they see a train full of poor, dehydrated sheep roll in – their kind little hearts take over. There's a sweet cast of characters in this story – as other people take notice of the girls, and one kindness is rewarded for another, and another. I just loved reading this one!

The Silver Party
On Thanksgiving Day, young Tony is at home with a cold, while the rest of his family goes to church and enjoys the holiday celebrations. One may wonder if his health issues bring on hallucinations... because before you know it, the silverware is strutting across the table, talking, dancing, and all sorts of other human-ized type of actions. He may even learn some manners from these aforethought “dumb” objects.

How They Camped Out
Adventurous and sweet. A whole slew of kids are caught in a snowstorm on their way back from a sleighing party. They are able to make it into an empty, dusty house for shelter, and there's nothing to do but make the best of the situation. While waiting for help to come, they busy themselves with making a fire and scavenging for any edible bits in the house... It's a rather cozy survival story.

The Hare and the Tortoise
A moral lesson, based on the summary of one of Aesop's legendary fables. A modernized story (well, for Louisa's time) about a couple of brothers – the older boy who gets to parade around town atop his high bicycle, and the younger boy who yearns for his very own, since his stubborn brother won't share. Someone learns a lesson or two.

Jerseys, or the Girls' Ghost
Yep. I liked this story a lot too. Miss Orne promotes healthy habits to her six students, such as rousing exercise, and better diets, which are things that Louisa (probably) truly believed in. I would like to imagine that when Louisa taught in her early years, that maybe she was something like Miss Orne herself – that she was a good-natured teacher who wanted the absolute best for her students. And you know what? This story also kept reminding of the literary heroine Anne Shirley.

The Cooking Class
The comedic episodes of 6 girls who meet weekly to perfect, criticize, and enjoy their culinary skills (which may or may not exist). Plus, throw in some occasional boyish pranks in the mix, and you've really got some hilarious scenes cooking. It certainly set me to laughing a few times.

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Overall? This is a beautiful story book, that every little girl should have on her shelf as she grows up. Also, these just make excellent little stories that a young child could read aloud to a parent. (Or of course, as a bedtime story that the parent can read aloud.)

My 5th book is complete for the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge.

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If you'd like to learn more about the Louisa May Alcott reading challenge, or to sign-up, just visit this link to start at the beginning.


  1. I am definitely going to have to add this to my TBR list. This sounds like a great collection, and I'm a huge fan of fairy tales. Thanks again for hosting this challenge!

    1. Joel, I think you'd definitely like this collection from Louisa. It's filled with some fun stories.

      Thank YOU for taking part in the challenge this month!

  2. I know so little about her writing beyond her famous books series. Cute that there are tales like this for young girls.