Wednesday, March 26, 2008

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor


Taylor, Sydney. 1951. All Of A Kind Family.


Review by Becky Laney, frequent contributor.



Originally published in 1951, Sydney Taylor's novel, All of A Kind Family, is set in New York City around 1912. The family consists of a mom, a dad, and five "step and stair" daughters. (They range in age from twelve to four.) The book is about the adventures the five sisters have together. It's definitely not your typical book if you're judging it by modern standards. There is less plot, for one thing, but the charm--or part of the charm--is in the individual stories, the episodes. The fact that it is more a compilation of loosely connected stories masquerading as a novel isn't a problem in my opinion. (But I'm curious what modern children would make of it all???)


The book does have its charms. There's no doubt about that. And one of the things I do like about the book is the fact that it highlights so many different aspects of being Jewish. For example, I haven't come across too many fiction novels (or picture books for that matter) that show families celebrating Purim and Succos. (These aren't the only celebrations by any means.) It was just interesting to see these aspects of culture and religion interwoven with the typical and traditional threads of family life and social life--going to school, going to the library, going to the beach, going shopping, getting a new baby, etc.


Part of me is curious as to how modern readers would respond to this novel and others like it. Would it be considered too old fashioned? Too dated? Too boring? While I can appreciate it the novel as an adult, I'm not sure what I would have thought of it as a child.

10 Comments:

Pinon Coffee said...

It sounds charming. As a child, its lack of modernness would have been definitely an asset to me. :-)

Anonymous said...

I loved this series when I was little and I still enjoy it now (I'm thriteen). It's a very sweet and fun read; definitely one of my favorites.

Framed said...

I have this book on my shelf and hope to read it someday. I love these old-fashioned stories.

Sara said...

I did a book report on this book when I was in 3rd grade and haven't thought about it since! I'm so glad to have re-discovered it!

Anne Bradshaw said...

Sounds like a fascinating read. Personally, I love to get my hands on stories from past generations. Not so sure about today's youth being interested though. Unless it's well written fantasy!

elizabeth said...

I loved it as a child and gave a copy to my neice, who wanted to borrow the sequels.

Heather said...

I loved these books when I was younger. I'm going to buy the ones I can find for my daughter to read. They don't really write books about cute families anymore like the Melendy family series.

kate said...

I read these as a child and then invested in hardback copies and read them to my now 18 and 16yo's who have recently taken them back off the shel f and reread them! I will read them this coming year to my 13 and 9 yo's. I can't wait to start.

Fourstorymistake said...

I loved these books as a child (and I was one not too long ago!) so I would consider their appeal timeless.

JW and Alli said...

I read this series as a child and loved it! I loved learning and imagining life in a different time and place. I have purchased a few (my local library doesn't carry all of them) and my 8 yo has read them and loved them as well. Great reads!!!

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