Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Diary entries and Ryan's "insightful annotations," said PW, ``provide a behind-the-scenes look at... Little Women." Ages 10-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Fans of Little Women and other novels of Louisa May Alcott may be interested in reading some of the few remaining excerpts of her girlhood diary and seeing how her feelings towards events and people in her own life influenced her writing. Each of the five short chapters begins with a quote from Little Women, which is followed by corresponding sections of her diary and Ryan's insights and explanations. Through the skillful mixture of these three sources we come to appreciate Alcott and better understand how her own character became the inspiration for Jo March. Old-fashioned, full color paintings add to the books' charm. A useful introduction gives background information on the Alcott family and Louisa's life in general. An index, chronology and list of sources also are included.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Ryan has taken writings from Louisa May Alcott's early diary and combined them with excerpts from Little Women as well as biographical information, resulting in a confusing book that does not give a complete picture of the subject. Samples from her diary, her poetry, and notes she wrote to her mother clearly reflect that Alcott had an unhappy childhood and that, due to her religious upbringing, she was constantly trying to be ``good.'' The book is illustrated with several full-color, full-page paintings, which look like some of the illustrations from the time of Little Women. Readers looking for additional information about Alcott might find this book interesting, especially if they themselves are thinking of becoming writers. However, anyone needing a complete and organized biography will have to look elsewhere.-Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA