Pollyanna

Common Sense Media says

Classic story of the power of positive thinking.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some mild, casual racism (see Note), typical of the times in which the book was written. Pollyanna is a model of one positive way to deal with life.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Former beaus are referred to as "lovers," which did not mean then what it does now.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book offers a philosophy of life that can have a big impact on younger children. Playing the Glad Game is worth a try for any family. Like other books of its time, it contains a few comments that are considered racist by modern standards: a maid is referred to as "Black Tilly," and there are comments to the effect that little boys from India are "heathens."

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Pollyanna has had a hard life. Her mother died when she was young, and she has been impoverished all her life. Now, at the age of eleven, her father has died too, and she is sent to live with her aunt, an austere and humorless woman who does her duty -- and nothing more. She relegates Pollyanna to a hot and barren attic room and hopes that she won't disrupt her quiet household routine too much.

But disruption is only the beginning of what Pollyanna will do to her life. For Pollyanna's father had given her a gift years before, a lever with which to move the world. It's called the Glad Game, and with it Pollyanna proceeds to turn the entire town upside down.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

That POLLYANNA has fallen out of favor says more about our cynical times than it does about the book. Pollyanna was first published (to instant acclaim and success) in the year leading up to WWI, and its kindly philosophy is as relevant today as it was then. There's a reason it has stayed steadily in print for nearly a century, and has been translated into many languages and adapted for film, TV and stage in many countries.

It certainly is a tearjerker, as are many of the greatest works of children's literature. Though its heroine's name has unfairly become a byword for phony optimism, Pollyanna is, in fact, a courageous and resourceful girl whose positive outlook is determined, conscious, and hard-won, and ultimately transformative, both for the characters in the book and for its readers. As with many classics, it's best read aloud to experienced listeners who have not yet entered adolescence.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about optimism. If you were in Pollyanna's shoes, would you be able to share her optimism? Kids: When has positive thinking helped you make the best of an unpleasant situation? Today, Pollyanna is sometimes mocked for foolish optimism. Do you think that characterization is fair, based on the book?

Book details

Author:Eleanor H. Porter
Genre:Literary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:November 28, 2004
Number of pages:304

This review of Pollyanna was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bydalala April 23, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

i loved it

pollyanna was one of the best books i had ever read the book is what inspierd me to wach the movie i wached both of them they where asum

Adult Written bysss April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

much better than the movie!!!!

Pollyanna is 11 years old when she comes to stay with her aunt Polly. Pollyanna is always very positive and respectful to everyone. the whole town loves her. Pollyanna tries to reunite her aunt with her former beau, who remains a mystery until the very end. the movie was spiced up with more romance between the characters. the book was great!

Teen, 16 years old Written byeggsontoast July 26, 2010
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

So Happy

I love it and i'm 16! I have read this book so many times and yet it still amuses me and makes me see my life in such a more optimistic perspective.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families