July's pick for the Classic Middle Grade Read along with the Midnight Garden was All-of-a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. You can follow along or join in the discussion at The Midnight Garden or #tmgreadalong.
I loved how All-of-a-Kind Family was short little stories about this close knit family. I loved how it wasn't just centered on the five girls points of view, but included Mama and Papa's as well. I learned a great deal about the Jewish culture and customs from how the holidays are depicted as the seasons went by. With the inclusion of their extended family of Tanta's and Uncle's I had a rich view of the Jewish-American family during the early 1900's. I also adored how Charlie and the Librarian had such a special place in all the children's hearts. And the expression of a "step-and-stairs family" was so, so cute.
What I didn't expect while reading the story, was that so many of the moments the children had would resonate with my own childhood. Little things like Mama hiding buttons to make the chores more fun, reminds me of the "three's game" that we used to play as a kid when washing the dishes (The one who got three items washed or three dried first was the winner). Even having all us kids being sent to bed at the same time and our parents letting us stay up and sneakily watch TV from behind the chairs, because we were being quiet and they knew that we would go to bed when we were good and tired. I also identified with Sarah, being the middle child myself, and believe me I sat at a table with a plate of food that I didn't want to eat a few times and wasn't allowed to leave until I finished what was on my plate. I know for sure that is why I don't enforce that policy with my own child, but I settle for taking at least one bite before politely declining anymore.
Then there was the food, thick sourdough bread with butter and hard-boiled eggs were my favorite meal to take to school as a child. I'm pretty sure that I would have enjoyed hot chick peas, sour pickles and hot sweet potatoes too. Overall, I thought All-of-a Kind was a beautiful story of a strong family and one I would have thoroughly enjoyed reading as a child.
I adored these as a child but was surprised to see them reissued, as I haven't been successful in getting my students to read them. The series was my introduction to Jewish culture, and I wanted to be one of the sisters!
I can see you fitting right in to that family, especially with your passion in reading :)
I have never read this set of stories. They sound delightful and I will have to give them a try. I love the button idea from the book and the "three" game your mom had your family play. :) Clever moms!
Thanks for sharing.
Anything that made the chores move faster was perfect for me! The button game that Mama comes up with is really cute too. I just loved the bond the family had.
The sequels are just as lovely too.
I've heard good things about the sequels via some of my Goodreads pals too. Guess I really need to check to see if the library has any. Thanks for stopping by.
Oh, Brenda! I'm so happy that you enjoyed this book so much. I am utterly charmed that you had a similar game to Mama's button game--I would have been much more amenable to chores if my mother had done something similar!
Even the very simple foods in this book, like the bread and butter sandwiches or fresh hot rolls, were SO appealing to me, too. It's interesting that though the family clearly did not have a lot of money (7 people is a lot to support on one income, my goodness), there was plenty of food, and a lot of attention paid to nutrition. I was surprised, in that stubborn Sarah chapter, to see how many courses EACH of their meals had. I try my best to balance nutritionally, but my husband's lucky if he gets that many courses on special occasions, let alone on daily basis! I can see why Mama was always so busy...and undoubtedly, so tired.
If you get a chance to read the others, please let me know what you think of them! Thanks for joining this month's readalong, Brenda--a pleasure to discuss with you, as always. <3
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
This was a wonderful family story -- I was glad that the MG readalong inspired me to finally pick it up.
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