Five Little Peppers Midway

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Pen name of Harriet Mulford Stone Lothrop.The Pepper family would soon become beloved by readers all over America Young people avidly followed the adventures of Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie, and Phronsie While faced with many plausible trials and obstacles they remain eternally optimistic in the face of adversity, and reflect the real life issues of so many of their readers Their universally appeali

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  • Hardcover
  • 250 pages
  • Five Little Peppers Midway
  • Margaret Sidney
  • English
  • 13 February 2019
  • 9780899665504

10 thoughts on “Five Little Peppers Midway

  1. says:

    Review of the Project Gutenberg Free eBook Edition of this nineteenth century children s classic,This is Book 2 in the Five Little Peppers series of nineteenth century children s books Book 1 is Five Little Peppers and How They Grew.I was delighted to discover I could instantly download to my Kindle what I presume is the Project Gutenberg free version of this children s classic The formatting is not the most presentable I ve ever seen in an ebook, mostly due to missing tabs and hard returns that are crucial for distinguishing paragraphs from each other Fortunately, though, there are few typos, so the this version of the book is readable enough that I donated my paper copy to the library as I am gradually moving almost entirely to ebooks since I got my Kindle a year and a half ago.This book contains adventures of the Pepper family of five children and their widowed mother, whom they call Mamsie We are told it is five years after Book 1, however, given the fact that Phronsie is only eight, in reality it is like four years later Mrs Pepper has been working in these intervening years as housekeeper to rich Mr King, whom we met in Book 1 He has adopted the Peppers informally and the five Pepper children call him Grandpapa The Peppers have been living in the King family s Boston mansion in wealth and splendor, but the high life has not spoiled them.Polly has been taking piano lessons, and because she practices constantly and is passionate about her music, she has become quite proficient Even though this is an era in which upperclass women did not work, presumably because Polly was not born upperclass, and her mother works at a job, Polly s goal is to have a job when she grows up, too She very much wants to be a piano teacher.In spite of her humble beginnings and life goals, Polly has plenty of society girlfriends Many of them are arrogant and condescending to the rest of the world, but they are good to Polly because they adore her Mainly because she is creative in many ways She is great at coming up with stories, plays, making costumes, and generally keeping everyone no matter the age or background fully entertained In addition, she is a born peacemaker and is generally accepted as the leader of any group of peers she is part of, and often even of adults, who frequently come to her for assistance Mamsie has trained all her children to work hard and do their duty with good cheer, but Polly and Ben have been the most fertile ground for her teachings Polly passes on these teachings to anyone who comes into her sphere.Though the story reads like an historical novel to modern readers, it was actually a contemporary novel when it was written in 1890 There are horse drawn carriages instead of cars, gaslight instead of electric lamps, no running water, no refrigeration, and no central heating.The Peppers frequently recall fondly their little brown house, which still belongs to them and is maintained by Mr King, who hires Badgertown locals to care for it During this book, Grandpapa takes all the Peppers, Jasper, his daughter Marian and her three boys, Percy, Van and Dick who is a year older than Phronsie to visit the little brown house it is never spelled out, but I assume Badgertown is in Connecticut There are many other adventures as well, including burglars, a snooty visiting relative of Mr King s who sneers at the Peppers, and Phronsie, the adored pet of the whole family still, getting lost again as she did in Book 1, but in a different manner Mostly, though, this is a book that provides the reader with quiet enjoyment of the ambiance of the nineteenth century and the warmth of the Pepper family.As the title of the book states, all five Pepper siblings appear in this story Ben Ebenezer is very likely 16 since Phronsie is eight Ben, like Polly, doesn t want to be beholden to generous Mr King, who would gladly send Ben to boarding school as he does the younger boys Instead of going to school, though, Ben is already working at a job at some kind of business firm It is unclear, because no backstory about the intervening years since Book 1 is provided, if poor Ben at least had a tutor The owner predicts to Ben that he will advance into a comfortable, lifetime position though not, the man says rather condescendingly, in management because Ben is a steady plodder, not an innovator or leader He is instead hard working and reliable, just as he was as a child In addition, Ben remains utterly loyal to and affectionate toward his family, especially Polly.Polly Mary is now presumably 15 years old since Phronsie is eight and she is seven years older than her sister However, since Polly has her fifteenth birthday during Five Little Peppers Abroad, she is apparently 14 going on 15 in this book Polly and Ben have much less need to act as second parents to their younger siblings than they did when living in poverty during the events of Five Little Peppers and How They Grew Polly doesn t have to cook and clean and babysit any She studies with a tutor, practices her piano, and spends pleasant time with her friends and family She is less the major player of this book than she was in the first book The story s focus is spread over the whole family.Joel would be 13 based on the ages of the other children He has the same passionate, impulsive, choleric disposition he did as a child, which means it continues to be difficult for him to maintain the uncomplaining, sacrificial attitude Mamsie has worked hard to instill in her children That approach to life comes with no effort to Ben and David, very little effort for Phronsie, moderate effort for Polly, and huge effort for Joel, who wants what he wants this instant Joel continues to loudly express his disappointment if he doesn t get his needs met In short, he s a normal, boisterous boy in a family where the norm is to be a docile gentleman Fortunately for excitement in the story, Joel s passion puts the house in an uproar from time to time, in no small part because his two housemates Percy and Van who are around 14 and 12 respectively delight in tormenting him Fortunately for Mamsie s hopes for Joel, he has a warm heart and, as in Book 1 when he was a young boy, he continues to be readily brought into line with a judicious application of maternal or sisterly guilt As stated above, he and Davie as well as Percy and Van go to boarding school and come home for visits during school breaks.Davie David is now presumably 11 years old He continues to have a mild disposition and remains in Joel s shadow as a person and as a character in this book.Phronsie Sophronia was four at the time of the last book and, as stated above, is described as being only eight in this book Though she is indulged by everyone as both the adored baby of the family and because she is an angelically beautiful, blond child, she still has a remarkably unspoiled disposition, and her generosity and kindness instantly inspires worship in every man, woman, child, dog and crotchety old lady who meets her.Jappy Jasper King is now presumably 17 a year older than Ben He is not at a university, though he is presented in Book 1 and this book as intelligent and well read and we learn in the next book that he speaks multiple languages During this book, Jasper doesn t have a job yet, and he is not longer under a tutor He and his father, old Mr King, mostly hang around the mansion living a life of leisure It is never fully spelled out in this book, but my presumption is that Mr King, who is a very arrogant, demanding man, doesn t want Jasper to go away from home, not to boarding school as the other boys do and which was common for the upperclass then and often these days, too , or to university, which Jasper is certainly old enough to attend Davie is only 17 in Five Little Peppers Grown Up and he attends university with Joel As a matter of fact, I am quite amazed, given how possessive Mr King is of Jasper, that the old man actually allows Jasper to get a job in Connecticut as an adult of 22 in Five Little Peppers Grown Up However, in that book Mr King does continue to demand absolute obedience at all times from Jasper something that Polly encourages Jasper to go along with as his filial duty.Speaking of Mr King, his source of wealth isn t mentioned in this book any than in Book 1, but we learn in Five Little Peppers Grown Up that he inherited his wealth and has never worked a day in his life It may strike a modern reader as odd that Mr King is referred to constantly in Book 1 and this book as old It certainly made me curious enough about his age to try and calculate what it might be In Book 1, Jasper s sister and only sibling is obviously much older than he is, since her oldest child is 10 Assuming she didn t get married any younger than 18, she would be around 29 to 31 in Book 1, and at that time Jasper is 13 Mr King is unlikely to have had her earlier than age 20, and likely he would have been at least 23 or 24 This means that in Book 1 he is between 49 and 55 He is presented as having ill health in Book 1, but since he completely perks up after Phronsie comes into his life, it is obvious he is merely suffering from the boredom of a non productive life He certainly remains quite lively and physically strong, without a hint of ill health, in this book and all of the first four books of this series see list below , even though chronologically at least 15 years pass and he would be as much as 68 years old at the time of Five Little Peppers Grown Up.It is possible that the author refers to him as old in Books 1 and 2 when he is still in his late 40 s or early 50 s is because to young people the age of the five little Peppers, anyone over 25 might seem old Or the author might possibly have seen Mr King as old herself even at that age since the average life expectancy at the turn of the twentieth century was little than 40, and often people in their 50 s in nineteenth century novels are labeled by the authors as old Prince, Jasper s dog from Book 1, is missing in action here, oddly enough, but the bird, Cherry, that Jasper gave Polly in Book 1 appears several times.Margaret Sidney was the pseudonym of successful, American children s author, Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop, who was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1844 and died in 1924, eight years after writing the last Pepper book She began her writing career in 1878 at age thirty four by publishing stories about Polly and Phronsie Pepper in a Boston children s magazine She married the magazine s editor, Daniel Lothrop, who began a publishing company and published Harriett s Five Little Peppers series, starting in 1881 Here is a list of the twelve Pepper books by date written, which were produced over the course of thirty five years Five Little Peppers and How They Grew 1881 Five Little Peppers Midway 1890 Five Little Peppers Grown Up 1892 Five Little Peppers Phronsie Pepper 1897 Five Little Peppers The Stories Polly Pepper Told 1899 Five Little Peppers The Adventures of Joel Pepper 1900 Five Little Peppers Abroad 1902 Five Little Peppers At School 1903 Five Little Peppers and Their Friends 1904 Five Little Peppers Ben Pepper 1905 Five Little Peppers in the Little Brown House 1907 Five Little Peppers Our Davie Pepper 1916 Margaret Sidney originally had no plans to write Pepper books after the fourth book, Phronsie Pepper , was published in 1897 She stated this firmly in her introduction to that book However, over time the pleas of avid fans from all over the world caused her to give in and write eight Pepper books The events in the last eight books take place before the events of the third book in the original series of four books If you would like to read the six main Pepper books in chronological order, rather than by publication date, this is the ideal sequence Five Little Peppers and How They Grew Five Little Peppers Midway Five Little Peppers Abroad Five Little Peppers and Their Friends Five Little Peppers Grown Up Five Little Peppers Phronsie Pepper If you read all the Pepper books, you will discover that the author did not take great care as to continuity in the later books, perhaps because so many years passed between writing these books.The Pepper books are products of a much slower paced era, and I personally find it relaxing to experience that approach to children s fiction while being warmly enfolded into the loving Pepper family.This book, and all the Pepper books, are strictly G rated, and the values they show not tell through preaching are very useful ones for any child to be exposed to, including loyalty, civility, kindness, consideration, keeping commitments, not betraying confidences, accepting difficult circumstances without complaint and forging through them, being organized, thinking before acting, and not taking one s anger out on others.I highly recommend this book for all ages.

  2. says:

    This book starts with a nauseatingly racist exchange that serves no purpose but to demonstrate a little white girl s supposedly Christlike or maybe precisely, Fauntleroy esque qualities while simultaneously demeaning people of African descent So far this sequel also lacks the little charming foibles of the first and fourth books Though the fourth also had a brief but alarming racist incident Margaret Sidney can t seem to incorporate black people into her books in a non racist manner Prejudice and paternalism, Ms Sidney, are neither wholesome nor child friendly It is evidence, though, that we have made a little progress in the world, since publishers writers for children generally wouldn t put that gunk in their books today Further evidence is that we have The Bluest Eye to break our hearts Burnett s Little Lord Fauntleroy came out in serialization in 1885, then as a book the next year Five Little Peppers Midway was first published 1890 Just saying.

  3. says:

    The Peppers books I re read the first last year only kind of hold up for me as an adult Their grinding poverty is so apparent to me now, wasn t as a kid Also I now can t stand Joel, he is always screaming or fighting As others have said, everything is a Big Deal drama with the Pepper kids, with lots of exclamation points and, the rich patron aspects don t have total verisimilitude Still, these hold up better than some 100 year old children s books.

  4. says:

    I had never read this book before and did so only only out of curiosity I m sorry that I did It has two truly racist scenes one involving Phronsie and the King s black cook, and the other involving a black dollmaker who makes Phronsie a black rag doll judging by the description, the doll is a sort of toy called a golliwog, and is therefore a caricature of black people In both cases, the black people are ridiculously sentimental toward the little blonde girl seriously, this was a trope in Victorian lit despite being scolded for Phronsie s mistakes while cooking or being mocked for their kindness Phronsie is also patronizing toward the cook, telling him that she doesn t mind that he s black I really wanted him to say in a dry voice, I ll always be black whether you mind or not, but that would involve calling one of the Peppers out on their bullshit, and that never happens in this book This book starts to show one of Sidney s key problems Writers Cannot Do Math Although five years have supposedly elapsed since the end of the last book, when Polly was eleven, you would never know it Ben is supposed to be seventeen, Polly sixteen, Joel thirteen, Davie twelve, and Phronsie ninebut Sidney is apparently incapable of remembering that the children have gotten older Throughout the book, the kids talk as if they just moved into Mr King s house a few months before Phronsie is an especially egregious offender, continually climbing into Mr King s lap, holding his hand on walks, and speaking as if she was still four Polly, who could at least be mischievous before, is now a prig who cannot even bear to hear a group of girls briefly laughing at one of their number She lectures the girls about how horrible they are and yes, it s clear that the girl, Cathie, is upset, but it s also clear that this is not the calamity that Polly believes it to be and then informs them that she doesn t want to be friends with them any longer Naturally, this sort of emotional blackmail not only works, Polly ends up being admired for it.There is a lot of passive aggressive behavior in this book When Joel, who is not academic and would prefer to be working, tells his mother that he hates school because he doesn t understand the lessons and the older boys keep bullying him all perfectly reasonable problems his mother s response is to tell him that she ll have to give up a long planned trip because after all, a boy who doesn t like school is clearly a baby who needs his mother Basically, she guilts him into shutting up Which doesn t eliminate Joel s problems, but somehow Mrs Pepper seems to think that his difficulties stem from immaturity, not from attending a school that is all wrong for him Also, apparently bullying is only bad when girls do it Sidney also recycles a plot point from the last book burglars breaking into Mr King s house and then then being caught in the act by a Pepper child In the first book, it s Phronsie In the second, it s Joel, who gets shot in the shoulder After a feverish night or two, he s fine Nothing of lasting badness EVER happens to the Peppers There is also a wedding that comes right out of left field Mrs Pepper weds Dr Fisher from Badgertown where they lived before moving into Mr King s house Never mind that he barely spoke to her before this, even when the kids were sick with the measles now he has loved her for years upon years, as any straight man must, and can t wait to be her husband and the kids stepfather Oh, and his name is Adoniamthough it s rarely used Mrs Pepperer, Mrs Fisherhas a habit of calling him the little doctor, and he calls her wife or my little wife, as if they honestly don t know each other s names And finally, there is Cousin Eunice Cousin Eunice is the closest thing that this anecdotal novel has to an antagonist, as she detests the Peppers and feels that they have Mr King wrapped around their fingers Which, spoilers, they do It s stated several times in the text that the kids know how to get Mr King to agree to anything have Phronsie ask him He can t turn her down Cousin Eunice likewise feels that they are low, common gold diggers who are taking Mr King for all they can get She has a particular hatred for Polly, whom Eunice feels should keep her voice low and her head bowed in the presence of her betters Eunice persists in treating Polly like a scullery maid, and Polly insists on martyring herself by doing all sorts of favors for the old woman because anything else would upset Mrs Pepper Fisher.Frankly, I thought that Mrs Pepper Fisher needed to be upset And to have her kids defy her and tell her that she was dead wrong But of course that didn t happen.Things come to a head when Cousin Eunice speaks ill of Polly s mother Polly, for once, tells Eunice what she thinks of her, Eunice falls ill from shock, and Polly is guilt stricken and eager to be self abasing than ever Eunice naturally doesn t understand why Polly is so upset, Polly bursts into floods of tears as usual the Peppers are in dire need of antidepressants , and Eunice tells Polly to stop as she can t abide tears Polly stops talking to her, at least for a while But she doesn t stick it, because that would be too mean.Also, Cousin Eunice tries to inveigle Phronsie into total obedience, thus teaching her to be the perfect maid by the time she s grown, which results in Phronsie accidentally locking herself in a spring locked wardrobe for the better part of twenty four hours Phronsie ends up with brain fever, for some reason, and even after she wakes up, she doesn t tell anyone that Cousin Eunice told her to look for something in the wardrobe in the first place By the end of the book, Cousin Eunice has unaccountably decided to leave Phronsie Pepper her entire fortune This is never explained It just happens.The book ends with Mr King, Jasper, Dr Fisher, Mrs Fisher, Polly, Phronsie, and Marian Whitney sailing off to Europe for a year.As you can tell, I didn t care for it I loathed the racism and the treacly sentimentality, the plotting was poor, and the characterization was patchy and inconsistent I wouldn t recommend it to anyone I will be covering Five Little Peppers Abroad, howeverfor completion s sake If the books don t improve by then, I won t bother reading the other nine.

  5. says:

    Story had no real plot to carry it everyone tended to baby one another and speak in a pettish sort of way, even the adults Was not pleased with it at all and saddened to see beloved characters not being at their best as far as writing quality could have been.

  6. says:

    There are things in this book that simply wouldn t be possible in these days And yet, it s a sweet story about being good, and kind, and trying to do one s best Almost too sweet It s worth reading for a look at an era where illness required a LONG recovery, where servants were treated not much better than furniture and were expected to be grateful for their jobs, where parents guilted their children into trying harder at school Okay, some things don t change I wouldn t read this one without having read the first in the series, or you ll be at loss to figure out who s who and why they like each other so well The Peppers have lived with Mr King for five years now A mean relative comes and seems determined to try to undermine that relationship When that doesn t work, she tries to manipulate the youngest Pepper into being her willing pawn in something I m not sure what I have to marvel at an era where people made up elaborate decorations for parties in an afternoon, and where rich people run around and hire orphans to sing at birthday parties, and line up at the back door for gifts It s interesting reading it as an adult just because it makes me think of how some of those people must have truly felt expected to be grateful for the merest notice, and that people really did live to serve and seemed thrilled to do so.

  7. says:

    I really tried hard to finish this, but some books just make it so difficult to like them This is the second book in the series, supposedly taking place five years after the first But the characters feel like they haven t aged, especially Phronsie who in many ways still behaves like a four year old It s almost as if the author forgot that children grow up And I didn t care for any of the characters, particularly Mr King, who does a thorough job of dominating his African American cook in the first chapter I didn t care for the author s writing either There are abrupt jumps in plot without explanation and other idiosyncrasies that frustrated me And I know this was written in the Victorian era, but it really annoyed me when the author said crying is weak Reading this book in the published order makes me wonder what was going through the author s mind Obviously she had had her own ideas of what occurred in the intervening years, but she forgot to let the reader in on the secret, and this makes the jump between the books abrupt and somewhat confusing The author eventually wrote other books to fill in the gap and I suggest that readers interested in this series follow the chronological order rather than publishing order.

  8. says:

    This is the second in the Five Little Peppers series These books remind me of Louisa May Alcott s While the setting and some of the actions are dated, the story is still fun.

  9. says:

    Not as amazing as the first book, but related to the first book, so I had to read it Now for the other ten follow ups sigh

  10. says:

    Quaintly Saccharine Family Drama After the success of THE FIVE LITTLE PEPPERS AND HOW THEY GREW author Sidney decided to continue the domestic adventures of the impoverished Peppers five years later Having left their beloved little brown house and dear friends in Badgertown, the fatherless family is installed in the mansion of wealthy Mr King and his son, Jasper But wait there are still children to sort out the three Whitney boys who also live there with their mother, Mr King s sister Not to mention assorted friends of the older Pepper children who are thrown into the literary mix The darling of the family is still blond Phronsie, now 8, who charms and captivates all she meets Shirley Temple style Polly at 16 is well on the road to being a heart breaker, as boys already vie for her attention and favor Alas, the bitter pill in all this sweetness is the arrival of Mr King s disagreeable sister in law, Mrs Chatteron, who proves an insufferable snob, as well as a hypochondriac She has no use for the working class with whom she is temporarily forced to share living quarters Can this disdainful socialite be humanized to appreciate the homespun values cheerfully spread by beloved Mamsie Mrs Pepper This book may prove difficult to swallow for 21st century tweens, who prefer fast action and snappy dialogue with modern social interaction Many terms are quaint in this turn of the century story, which might require brief dictionary research to understand such as childhood remedies and articles of clothing Yet this series provides a gentle introduction to a pre automotive era The author includes some references to events in the first book, which should appeal to FIVE LTTLE PEPPERS fans Spiced up by a shooting, a surprise wedding, two instances of burglary, and a broken leg this book may still meet the challenge to interest modern youngpeople A book for several generations of feminine readers January 31, 2012

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