One of Alcott's lesser-known works, this title was completely unfamiliar to me when I found it at a used book fair a couple years ago. But I love children's books, and I love Little Women, so I reasoned that this one was probably worthy of space on my shelf. You see, about a decade ago, I sensed my husband getting nervous as he watched my large floor to ceiling bookshelf filling up; i knew that when he built it he had thought wow! that should be the last (bookshelf) I have to build! So I determined I would only keep the books that I wanted to re-read or was committed to reading at all. Oh, he also bought me an e-reader for my birthday that year, which has helped my resolve immensely.
While Under the Lilacs isn't a book I'll likely re-read for myself, it is one I'd enjoy reading to my grandkids someday. And that means that I get to keep it :)
So. . . A young boy and his dog run away from the circus, where he has spent these early years of his life as a trick rider. Initially, the boy is in search of his dad, who he hasn't had word from in quite some time; however, after a long journey on foot and a reasonable amount of hardship into the bargain, he meets two little girls—sisters, with a widowed mother—where they are playing with their dolls, under the lilacs. Naturally, this kindly mother has compassion on the lad, taking him into her care, helping him to find a bit of employment working with horses (which he loves) and also sending him to school for the first time in his life.
A bit of mild relational drama, a lost dog, some despairing news, and a boatload of childish shenanigans round out nicely in the formation of solid friendships, a daring dog rescue, a boy reunited with his dad, a wedding, and (I presume) continuing shenanigans.
A sweet story for children ages 6 to 12 years and old ladies who enjoy reading children's books :)