While Jack and Jill might not rate as one of the best Alcott novels, it is not worth dismissing out of hand for that reason. As usual, she crafted a thought provoking and enlightened book that teaches as it entertains and comforts.
Jack and Jill are fast childhood friends who find their lives interrupted by a terrible sledding accident which leaves both of them invalids. As they recover and heal, they and their friends learn important lessons about responsibility, giving and friendship. Jack and Jill should be an immensely satisfying read for pre-teenagers. The sure Alcott hand with character keeps even the most obvious moral lessons from feeling overly preachy.
While the book is ideally suited for younger readers, grown ups will be interested in the larger issues raised here. Alcott firmly asserts the need for individual growth, gender equality, and personal responsbility. Historical discussions about temperance and higher education for women should additionally make this book a good read for history fans.