This title includes three stories by O.Henry: The Gift of the Magi, The Cop and the Anthem, and The Last Leaf. The Gift of the Magi is familiar, of course. The other two stories are less well known, but are still well written – one is amusing, the other heartwarming – and I very much enjoyed them. The narration by all three readers was excellent.
Besides The Ransom of Red Chief -- one of the best-known stories by O. Henry (The Gift of the Magi is another) -- this title also includes Tobin's Palm. Both are amusing, well-written, and extremely well narrated by Mr. Harrison. I enjoyed them both, probably more than if I had simply read the stories.
It’s not really fair to compare "Little Men" unfavorably to "Little Women," just because they're both by the same author, but I can’t help it. "Little Men" is hardly a novel – it’s really just a series of vignettes from the lives of Jo, the professor, and the boys (and a couple of girls) at Plumfield, their school; it really has no plot to speak of. "Little Women" didn’t have much of a plot, but it certainly had more than this sequel.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy "Little Men." I really did. It’s quaint, and the stories are very nice, if a little twee. I had never read it before, and I'm glad I listened to it. Mostly, though, I found it disappointing that the rowdy tomboy, the adventuresome Jo whom I liked so much in "Little Women" would grow up to be as she is depicted in "Little Men," having sublimated her own ambitions and become so completely domesticated. Essentially, Jo turned into her sister Meg, and I wasn’t very happy about that.
The narration is good overall, although the youngest children’s voices seemed too babyish. I enjoyed the other characterizations.