Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Eleanor H. Porter
For ages 8 to 12
2002   ISBN: 0689849109

When Aunt Polly agrees to take in her niece Pollyanna, she does so because she thinks that it is her “duty” to help her dead sister’s child and Aunt Polly is determined that she will always do her “duty.” She has never met Pollyanna and is therefore not in the least bit prepared for this child who is unlike any child before or since. When Pollyanna did not get a doll out of the charity box one year, she and her father invented what they called “the glad game.” To play the game Pollyanna and her father always tried to find something to be glad about even when things were not going well, and even when life was being especially difficult. Now that her father is dead, Pollyanna doggedly continues to play the game.

With her cheerfulness, her funny ways, and her determination to always find something to be glad about, Pollyanna wins over everyone she meets, even the people who are grumpy, crabby, difficult, and unsociable. Even Mrs. Snow, who makes a habit of being permanently unhappy, cannot help succumbing to Pollyanna’s charm. As for Aunt Polly, well she doesn’t quite know how to manage the little girl who has come to live with her. Often bemused, confused and flustered by the things Pollyanna does, poor Aunt Polly is swept up in the little girl’s schemes and plans.

It is only when Pollyanna has a dreadful accident that almost everyone in town realizes how precious she is to them. Even stiff, rigid, and unbending Aunt Polly comes to see that life without Pollyanna would be empty, dull, and lonely.

Though this story first came out in 1913, it has lost none of its appeal and humor over the years. Pollyanna is still as delightful, funny, and fascinating as she was when the reading public first met her. Readers will laugh out loud at the many peculiar things the little girl says and does and they may even find themselves playing the “glad game” for, as the people Pollyanna meets find out, the game is highly contagious. Through Pollyanna, the author finds ways to show us how misguided we can be as a society at times, and how often we forget how to be happy and how to share our lives with others.