Jo's Story (Portraits of Little Women)

Jo's Story (Portraits of Little Women)

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by Susan Beth Pfeffer, Louisa May Alcott, Louisa May Alcott
     
 

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About the Author: Award-winning author Susan Beth Pfeffer, has written over sixty books for children and young adults. She began her career in 1970, with the publication of her first book, Just Morgan, which she wrote her last semester at New York University.


Ms. Pfeffer's books include middle-grade novels (The Pizza Puzzle),

Overview

About the Author: Award-winning author Susan Beth Pfeffer, has written over sixty books for children and young adults. She began her career in 1970, with the publication of her first book, Just Morgan, which she wrote her last semester at New York University.


Ms. Pfeffer's books include middle-grade novels (The Pizza Puzzle), historical fiction (Nobody's Daughter and its companion volume Justice for Emily), and young adult novels (Family of Strangers and Twice Taken). Her young adult novel About David was awarded the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award.


Her young adult novel The Year Without Michael, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, was named by the American Library Association as one of the hundred best books for teenagers written between 1968-1993.


Susan Beth Pfeffer is also the author of the popular Portraits of Little Women series. Created for readers grades 3-6, each of the books in the series captures one of the beloved March sisters from Little Women--Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy--at age 10. These unforgettable heroines experience the joys and sorrows of sisterhood, family life, and a changing America.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3-5As hard as it must be to write a sequel or prequel to one's own book, it must be doubly difficult to write a new story using someone else's creations, especially such well-known characters as the March girls. Pfeffer offers a slight story that takes place before Alcott's book; it's set when the girls are younger (Jo is 10), before the war and Pa's absence from home. The family members seem familiar, but the language of the story is simplified. Missing is the slightly acerbic, yet sentimental voice of Alcott's Jo, whose rich language and firm beliefs in her sisters' innate goodness and abilities are imbued with an ageless innocence. Here, Jo spends much of the book agonizing over her decision to offer herself as the logical daughter to be sent to live with her wealthy great-aunt, which, of course, never happens, and all ends well. The story is followed by a recipe for apple pie that suggests buying a prepared crust, and directions to make a family tree just like Jo's, which is illustrated. This genealogy leaves out Aunt March, but does include details of Beth's death, and the spouses of the other sisters, thereby giving away most of the plot of Alcott's Little Women. Flagrantly self-promoting sample chapters from the other series titles follow these activities, plus a one-page biographical note about Alcott and Pfeffer. This mediocre effort ultimately comes across as an attempt to cash in on books and characters best left to enjoy the limelight of our historical regard on their own.Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385325233
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
10/06/1997
Series:
Portraits of Little Women Series
Pages:
102
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.29(h) x 0.54(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Step one of Jo's plan was now completed. But step two still remained, and Jo knew it was almost as important as the first step had been.

She returned home and found her sisters together in the parlor. Meg was doing her mending, Beth was playing the piano, and Amy was sketching her two sisters.

"I should have known you'd be wasting your time," Jo said as roughly as she could.

"Wasting our time?" said Meg. "What do you mean? I'm working, in case you didn't notice.

"And if I didn't, you'd be sure to point it out to me," Jo said. "You never do anything good without calling attention to yourself." She could barely believe such hurtful and untrue words were coming out of her mouth. But Jo knew if she were to be parted from her sisters, it was important that they not love her so much. She reminded herself she was playing a part as villainous as that of the Earl of Essex.

"Now Jo," said Beth, who had ceased her piano playing, "you know that's not so. Meg does so many things thinking only of others and never of herself."

"And you know about them because she tells you," Jo said. "When was the last time Meg did anything noble and good without letting you know that she had?"

"If she hadn't let me know, how would I find out?" asked Beth. "But I'm sure Meg's done many good things that she's felt no need of mentioning. Haven't you, Meg?"

"I don't know," Meg replied. "I suppose I have.

"She supposes," said Jo. "And I suppose she hasn't. I suppose Meg has never done a bit of good that she hasn't demanded admiration for."

"Really, Jo," said Amy. "Whatever's gotten into you?"

"Now here's one who knows aboutadmiration," Jo said. "Little Miss Amy of the perfect golden curls."

"And what about my 'perfect golden curls'?" asked Amy.

"Nothing about them," Jo said. "You were born with them, and yet you demand we all admire them ceaselessly as though they were some great accomplishment."

"You're vain enough about your own hair," answered Amy.

Jo knew that was true. Her hair was her one real vanity. But this was no time to let Amy better her in an argument. If her sisters were to stop loving her, then it must be because they felt the power of her wrath upon them.

"Perfect little Amy," Jo said. "Expecting the world to stop dead in its tracks to let her have her way."

"I do not," Amy said. "Although I wouldn't mind if the world did." She giggled, which almost made Jo as angry as she was pretending to be.

"The whole world is a joke to you," said Jo. "You think nothing of others, just as long as you have your way. You're spoiled and selfish and shallow. Your hair may be golden, but your heart is pure soot."

"Jo!" cried Amy.

"Really, Jo," said Meg. "I don't know what's gotten into you, but whatever it is, you owe Amy an apology. You owe me one as well."

"That's just like you, Meg," said Jo. "Pretending to defend Amy, when what you're really concerned about is your own good name. I shan't apologize to either of you. Not now and not ever."

"Jo, whatever is the matter?" asked Beth. "Are you running a fever?"

Jo willed herself to turn on Beth. Meg and Amy were accustomed to Jo's temper, although she had never attacked them so cruelly. But Beth knew Jo to be only loving. And Jo would willingly have sacrificed a limb rather than break her Bethy's heart.

"How like you," she said. "To think that just because I'm speaking the truth, there must be some disease behind it. I'm not sick, Beth. It's just that I have such sickening sisters."

"But Jo," Beth said, "you've never thought us sickening before."

"Haven't I?" said Jo. "I've thought little else. Why do you think I spend so much time writing in the attic? It's to be away from you. Why do you think I passed up the chance at cakes and a good time with Mary Howe yesterday? It's because I couldn't bear the thought of spending any more time with you than I absolutely had to. Every single day. Every single minute of the day. The four of us breakfast together. We do our chores together. We read books together. We play games together. We sing songs together. We pray together. I can't even have time alone when I sleep. I have to listen to Meg's breathing!"

"Do you want me to stop breathing?" Meg asked. "Would that satisfy you?"

"I want to have nothing more to do with any of you," replied Jo. "Just leave me alone."

"That will be a great pleasure," Amy said. "I'm sure I won't miss you, Jo."

"Nor I," said Meg. "Not if you persist in this attitude."

"I don't know why you're acting this way, Jo," Beth said. "But I know it's not the real you. You love us. I know that. And I'm sure there must be some explanation for your behavior.

"There's none," said Jo. "None that you could understand, anyway. I never asked for sisters. I never asked to be part of this family. And if I have my way, I won't be a part of it any longer."

She could feel her sister's eyes upon her as she raced out of the parlor. She managed to reach her refuge in the attic just moments before she began to cry. Once there, secure in her solitude, Jo March wept as she had never wept before.

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Susan Beth Pfeffer, has written over sixty books for children and young adults. She began her career in 1970, with the publication of her first book, Just Morgan, which she wrote her last semester at New York University.

Ms. Pfeffer's books include middle-grade novels (The Pizza Puzzle), historical fiction (Nobody's Daughter and its companion volume Justice for Emily), and young adult novels (Family of Strangers and Twice Taken). Her young adult novel About David was awarded the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award.

Her young adult novel The Year Without Michael, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and winner of the South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, was named by the American Library Association as one of the hundred best books for teenagers written between 1968-1993.

Susan Beth Pfeffer is also the author of the popular Portraits of Little Women series. Created for readers grades 3-6, each of the books in the series captures one of the beloved March sisters from Little Women--Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy--at age 10. These unforgettable heroines experience the joys and sorrows of sisterhood, family life, and a changing America.

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Jo's Story 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Jo's Story until the end.