We're ploughing through it as our family read-aloud at the moment, and when I say ploughing, I mean we're finding it really heavy going. Which is surprising rather, because it is one of the Ambleside Online Free Reads for Year 2 and generally I am totally cool with their choices. Not Five Little Peppers. I'm finding Margaret Stanley's writing style stilted and her grammar questionable at best. Take for example this sentence (if it actually constitutes a sentence...) which is found in the very first paragraph of the book:
All the "breathing spell" they could remember however, poor things; for times were always hard with them nowadays; and since the father died, when Phronsie was a baby, Mrs. Pepper had had hard work to scrape together money enough to put bread into her children's mouths, and to pay the rent of the little brown house.Doesn't make sense. Which is a bad way to start a book - in my humble opinion.
Then there is Miss Polly Perfect. Well, you know what I think about perfect children, and this one is sickeningly so...so far. (We're up to Chapter 6...of 25.)
So my question to those of you who know is:
Does it improve? Is it worth persevering? Do I keep on keeping on with Five Little Peppers? Are we going to love it and rate it as one of our all time favourites along with a generation or ten of American boys and girls?
If not, I'm going to ditch it and read Mistress Masham's Repose by T H White. Which is a classic as well. An English classic. A loved by me classic. And which isn't on the AO list. Which it should be, but it's not. So I'm going to have to fit it in somewhere, and right now as a substitute for Five Little Peppers is looking pretty attractive.
Oh, my version is not the beautiful Victorian version pictured above, which is a shame, because that cover alone would make me want to persevere. My version is the hardcover one in the Amazon link up above by Applewood books. It feels like a video cassette. Hard and shiny and new. I don't like it. The words are too small too. Doesn't help much.
So girls, the fate of the Pepper family is in your capable hands.
Yes or No?
Stay or Go?
You decide for me.