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The Saturdays

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Saturdays can make dreams come true when the Melendy children take turns to spend their pooled allowances. Actor Mona 13 recites poetry and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Engineer Rush 12, mischievous, builds Meccano bridges. Miranda "Randy" 10 dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, calm and thoughtful, is a train engineer. Father writes. Housekeeper Cuffy mothers. Saturdays can make dreams come true when the Melendy children take turns to spend their pooled allowances. Actor Mona 13 recites poetry and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Engineer Rush 12, mischievous, builds Meccano bridges. Miranda "Randy" 10 dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, calm and thoughtful, is a train engineer. Father writes. Housekeeper Cuffy mothers.


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Saturdays can make dreams come true when the Melendy children take turns to spend their pooled allowances. Actor Mona 13 recites poetry and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Engineer Rush 12, mischievous, builds Meccano bridges. Miranda "Randy" 10 dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, calm and thoughtful, is a train engineer. Father writes. Housekeeper Cuffy mothers. Saturdays can make dreams come true when the Melendy children take turns to spend their pooled allowances. Actor Mona 13 recites poetry and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Engineer Rush 12, mischievous, builds Meccano bridges. Miranda "Randy" 10 dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, calm and thoughtful, is a train engineer. Father writes. Housekeeper Cuffy mothers.

30 review for The Saturdays

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    We loved reading about this family of two sisters, two brothers, dad, and Cuffy who has looked after the family since their mum died. We were sent a different book than the one we had paid for ( was refunded and told to keep the book) sadly this copy had a hideous cover, even worse than the one pictured here ( why do they feel the need to replace a beautiful old cover with something new but much worse? it happens all the time) which also meant it had no illustrations. After a page or two we reall We loved reading about this family of two sisters, two brothers, dad, and Cuffy who has looked after the family since their mum died. We were sent a different book than the one we had paid for ( was refunded and told to keep the book) sadly this copy had a hideous cover, even worse than the one pictured here ( why do they feel the need to replace a beautiful old cover with something new but much worse? it happens all the time) which also meant it had no illustrations. After a page or two we really loved this book, we so enjoyed the different characters and how separate adventures happened in each chapter, each character taking their turn to enjoy the pooled allowance to spend in their own way. We did find it amusing that nail varnish had been invented but not nail varnish remover ! How funny, everyone seemed to have an extreme reaction to nail varnish and hair cuts which was a lovely snapshot of what was acceptable at that time! My daughter wondered whether they got a lot of pocket money or if things were cheaper in those days, but given they were spending 3 and a half lots of pocket money each week, we were suprised that they could afford an opera ticket, a circus trip and huge amount of food or a haircut and manicure! But practicalities aside this was a lovely theme for the book and gave the opportunity for them each to take the lead role in their chapter. Despite our copy not having the author's illustrations we so enjoyed the story, we really enjoyed Mrs Oliphant's story of being kiddnapped by gypsies, Rush's trip to the opera, finding a homeless dog, and the end trip to a lighthouse was wonderful. I want to become a Melendy tomorrow please! We are waiting for the next book to arrive, hopefully tomorrow.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    6/11 Re-read. I don't know if I think this book is practically perfect because I know it by heart, because I love each and every one of the characters, or because the writing is stellar. Maybe all of those things. Enright was a genius, and it makes me sad when people have never heard of her. This time through, the Isaac-the-dog storyline seemed somehow more touching than usual. I love Mona's sadder-but-wiser moment, and Oliver's adventure. But my favorite favorite is the story of Gabrielle and th 6/11 Re-read. I don't know if I think this book is practically perfect because I know it by heart, because I love each and every one of the characters, or because the writing is stellar. Maybe all of those things. Enright was a genius, and it makes me sad when people have never heard of her. This time through, the Isaac-the-dog storyline seemed somehow more touching than usual. I love Mona's sadder-but-wiser moment, and Oliver's adventure. But my favorite favorite is the story of Gabrielle and the Gypsies. But Willy Sloper on opera is classic, and close to my heart. Seriously, just read this book, okay? 1/10 Re-read of an old favorite. I love it, but not as much as I love the Gone-Away books. It's somewhat dated, but not in a painful way. It's particularly odd to read about a family who lives in New York City who have a house and a yard and who are decidedly not rich. This book feels less like a whole book to me now and more like an introduction to the family who one comes to adore over the next two books. It's a capsule, a moment, and a series of character sketches. All of the characters are interesting but it's the barest hint of what comes next, how we come to know them in The Four Story Mistake and Then There Were Five. I will confess publicly to having no memory whatsoever of Spiderweb For Two, though I remember carrying it home from the library in my daisy-adorned bicycle basket. I'm impressed with the sheer staying power Enright's images have- so many things I remembered as crisply as if I'd read them for the first time last week. Who can forget Randy on the trapeze in the Office? Or Oliver at the circus? Cuffy's teeth in a glass? The vignettes are very vivid, and in a lot of ways I think this book is a love poem to a vanished New York.

  3. 4 out of 5

    HP Saucerer

    This was such a satisfying and wholesome read. What an absolute joy it was spending time in the company of the delightful Melendy family. The story transports us back in time to 1930s New York, where we meet the four Melendy children: Oliver, Rush, Randy and Mona. Tired of wasting their Saturdays doing nothing, the children decide to pool their allowances and take turns having adventures in the Big Apple. Each fun-filled adventure is brought to life vividly through beautiful description and is ch This was such a satisfying and wholesome read. What an absolute joy it was spending time in the company of the delightful Melendy family. The story transports us back in time to 1930s New York, where we meet the four Melendy children: Oliver, Rush, Randy and Mona. Tired of wasting their Saturdays doing nothing, the children decide to pool their allowances and take turns having adventures in the Big Apple. Each fun-filled adventure is brought to life vividly through beautiful description and is characteristic of each child. Often, the most exciting and memorable parts of the children’s adventures - where they meet someone unexpectedly or discover something new - happen after their chosen activity, and it was these parts that I enjoyed the most. It was only very recently that I discovered Elizabeth Enright, after several of her books appeared on a list of the greatest adventure stories for children which I came across online, and I have to thank my incredibly kind GR friend, Hilary, for sending me a copy. I’m thrilled to have discovered this series and can’t wait to jump into the next Melendy adventure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    Elizabeth Enright captures the drama, joy, and adventure of childhood in the books that make up her Melendy family series—true classics of children’s literature. The Saturdays , originally published in 1941 and the first novel in the series, introduces us to the New York City based family: Mona (13), Rush (12), Miranda/“Randy” (10½), Oliver (6), Mr. Melendy (a writer), Cuffy (the beloved housekeeper), and Willy Sloper (the handyman, who maintains the old coal furnace). The story begins on a r Elizabeth Enright captures the drama, joy, and adventure of childhood in the books that make up her Melendy family series—true classics of children’s literature. The Saturdays , originally published in 1941 and the first novel in the series, introduces us to the New York City based family: Mona (13), Rush (12), Miranda/“Randy” (10½), Oliver (6), Mr. Melendy (a writer), Cuffy (the beloved housekeeper), and Willy Sloper (the handyman, who maintains the old coal furnace). The story begins on a rainy summer afternoon. The children, lounging distractedly in the “Office”, their attic playroom, are thoroughly bored when Randy has the brilliant idea of pooling the siblings’ weekly allowances so each of the four can have a solo outing. And so “ISAAC”—the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club—is born. Randy goes first, since she came up with the idea. On the Saturdays that follow, each of her siblings will also venture out alone onto the streets of New York and return with a story that ultimately enriches the lives of the entire family. All of the children have particular artistic or scientific interests—Mona, in theatre; Rush, in classical music; Randy, in the visual arts and dance; and Oliver, in engineering, particularly trains. These interests guide what the kids will choose to do when their special Saturday comes.. In the course of the story, the children gain a dog, aptly named Isaac, whose breed Rush jokingly identifies variously as a “Bronx Beagle”, a “Central Park setter”, and an “Interborough Rapid Transit retriever” to anyone who inquires. They meet up with Mrs. Oliphant (an old family friend who knew their parents when young and who, herself, had a very surprising adventure of her own in childhood). They also experience excitement, fear, and alarm when their ramshackle house catches fire one afternoon and when the ancient coal furnace acts up in the middle of another night. There is a fascinating sequence in which Rush and Randy separately have very similar near-death-experience “dreams” (well before the details of such experiences were commonly documented for the public) apparently due to incipient carbon monoxide poisoning—caught in the nick of time. The kids make some interesting and surprising discoveries about the world on their solo adventures. The girls hear stories from adults they meet, and realize that “Sometimes people are not the way they look.” Rush, who comes out of an opera matinee to find the city’s snow-clearing equipment fully engaged in battling the season’s biggest snowstorm, hears an old man make a strikingly modern observation: “Used to take a team of hosses pullin’ a snowplow to do a job like that . . . And hundreds of fellas out shovelin’ the way. Nowadays they do it all by machinery. Ain’t no work for nobody. That’s what’s the trouble with this world.” The man goes on to muse that he sometimes thinks a day will come “when these fellas build so much machinery that it will revolt; turn on ’em and swalla ’em up!” So many contemporary works of children’s literature focus on afflictive emotions and the grudges between family members. That’s why reading about the energetic, loving (but never saccharine) Melendy siblings is such a delight. They genuinely like and care about each other. I have never forgotten Enright’s The Four Story Mistake , which I read and loved as a child, and which I now plan to re-read. I wasn’t certain if I’d also read The Saturdays when young, but I know now that I did not. I’d like to thank my Goodreads friend Hilary for her lovely reviews of these books. They encouraged me to delve into them once again. It was a wonderful thing to rediscover the pleasures and treasures of childhood.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    4.75 See, I wouldn't really describe this book as "amazing," not because it's NOT amazing, but because "amazing" seems too modern a word for a book which was published in the nineteen thirties or forties; the word seems wrong somehow. These were really, really swell (see, that's more fitting for the time period) books. They're like an extinct species. Authors just don't write like this anymore. Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling....all of my favorite authors, practically, the ones from this age anyway, t 4.75 See, I wouldn't really describe this book as "amazing," not because it's NOT amazing, but because "amazing" seems too modern a word for a book which was published in the nineteen thirties or forties; the word seems wrong somehow. These were really, really swell (see, that's more fitting for the time period) books. They're like an extinct species. Authors just don't write like this anymore. Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling....all of my favorite authors, practically, the ones from this age anyway, they just don't or CAN'T write as well as this. I discovered this book about two years ago, I think, before I'd heard of Goodreads. I was rapidly running out of books to read, so I was frantically searching the shelves of the Children's section for something interesting, some new series I could dive into. When I came across The Saturdays, I read the back and was like, "Eh. Sounds like some of the silly, babyish books that I'm too old for." But since I was almost out, I read it anyway, and really, really liked it. Although it was a children's book, it wasn't at all silly or babyish. For some people who only read YA or adult books, this might not be for you, but if you liked The Moffats when you were a kid, or other books like those, and still do, you will probably love these books. The characters all seemed so real. I remember wishing I was a neighbor of the Melendys. (I still do. I probably always will.) One of the best things was having a character who plays the piano excellently, writes music (in later books), and enjoys opera, all at the age of twelve. Very hard to find in today's books. That was probably one of my favorite parts of the book, finding out that the character likes opera. :D (Yes, I love opera.) The summary on the back is grossly inadequate. (Love those words.) They make it sound like the main part of the book is getting their father to let them go rampaging around the city on various Saturdays. By Chapter Two, he's agreed. :/ The book is basically composed of a string of little adventures. They're very interesting, and at times very funny. The characters are all very different, but all very interesting. Mona is the oldest, thirteen years old at the start of the series. She wants to be an actress and is able to recite dozens of passages from Shakespeare whenever she feels like it. Rush, twelve, is the one who likes opera (or the one that likes it the most) and classical. He is very different from most of all the other boy characters I've read about in that he wants to become a great piano player, and he spends one Saturday at an opera (Siegfried, the third? in Wagner's long and tragic-ly ending string of operas). Miranda, always known as Randy, is ten, artistic, and going to be a dancer someday. Oliver is, as the book says, the sensible one of the family. At the age of six, he goes to the circus all by himself, without his family knowing, and doesn't even get into any trouble until his way home. o.o Again, if you read solely YA or "older" books, you might not like this. But if you liked, say, The Penderwicks or The Moffats, there's a good chance you'll like these. They're clean (well, duh), funny, interesting, and very well-written.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    The Melendy Family series has always been one of the most beloved, influential, and significant books of my childhood and my life. I first read it at a very young age, and read it over and over and over again in the following years. It's remained a top favorite ever since. Reading these books again feels like coming home, and I feel like I know the characters as well as I know my own family. I remember almost every single chapter and scene so vividly. Somehow, it's been years and years since I l The Melendy Family series has always been one of the most beloved, influential, and significant books of my childhood and my life. I first read it at a very young age, and read it over and over and over again in the following years. It's remained a top favorite ever since. Reading these books again feels like coming home, and I feel like I know the characters as well as I know my own family. I remember almost every single chapter and scene so vividly. Somehow, it's been years and years since I last read this series - possibly even most of a decade. Way too long, regardless. And I'm so glad I decided to read them again! I'm enjoying every moment. Given the above, it's impossible to sum up in a review what this book means to me, or even what it's about. All I can do is ramble a little about both, but this is only a fraction of what I could say. It's too much a part of my heart to properly express it all in words. But I will say that it's a book about the fierce and enduring love of a family for each other. About the experience of growing up and changing and passing through stages of life. About a boisterous family of unique and lively people, who enjoy each moment of life to the full, who revel in the glories and beauties of nature and the world, who delight in interesting experiences, who are smart and creative, who are always learning and growing and seeking knowledge and skills - and who can never seem to escape adventure, even in the daily happenings of a normal life. "Things like that never happen to us. We lead a humdrum life when I think about it. It's funny how it doesn't seem humdrum." "That's because you have 'eyes the better to see with, my dear' and 'ears the better to hear with.' Nobody who has them and uses them is likely to find life humdrum very often. Even when they have to use bifocal lenses, like me." In the Melendys' first book, The Saturdays, the four Melendy siblings come up with a plan to take turns going on adventures every Saturday, and the book follows their weekly adventures growing up in New York City in the 1940s. Between unexpected joys and unexpected disasters, they encounter more adventure than even they could have planned! In the sequel, The Four-Story Mistake, the Melendys reluctantly move to a large, interesting house in the countryside, and end up adoring their new home and all it brings - and of course, they encounter even more adventures in their new life. The joyful and bittersweet times of growing up and going on to new things are continued in the sequels, Then There Were Five and Spiderweb for Two. I enjoy each chapter and episode of the Melendy family's everyday adventures. They're humorous, entertaining, and exciting, and always full of heart as well as humor. The Melendys' deep love for and loyalty to each other, and their joyful pleasure in life and each other, is so wonderful to read about, and is evident on every page. I love family and sibling stories so much, and this is one of the best and most special I have read. The Melendy family holds an exalted place in my heart. It's a book that glows with bittersweet nostalgia of childhood past and current - all the more so for someone like me, who read it so many times as a child. But I think it would feel nostalgic and golden for anyone, child or adult - anyone will read it and feel the wonderful qualities of a childhood full of laughter, adventure, nature, and love. The Melendy family always reminded me of my own family. Like ours, there were four siblings - a slightly bossy oldest sister, then a boy and a girl very close in age - though in my family, was the second sister, and my slightly-younger brother was the third child, instead of the other way around. Our personalities are even similar to the characters, in some ways. And in both families, following the three oldest siblings, very close in age, is a youngest brother a few years behind - so much alike. The difference is that a little while after I read this book so many times as a child, my family had a fifth child, a much-younger sister. I still think four children is a perfect number, as I always have, but now I think that five is equally perfect! Each character in the series is vivid, lifelike, amusing, and real, and I connect with and love each one. I love each of the four Melendy siblings, and each of their family and friends. I've always identified so strongly with Randy, the third-oldest sister - her personallity, especially, but also her role in the family. She's an idealistic, joyful, sweet-hearted, artistic, accident-prone, imaginative dreamer, who loves everyone, and who doesn't seem as smart as the older siblings she admires. All of that is true for me as well - and like me, she's a young girl who doesn't like change, and wishes she could hold onto the past and keep everyone from growing up, as time marches on and things slip through her fingers.. As a child, and still as an adult, I see so much of myself in her. More than most other characters in existence. The book treats her with love and understanding, and it was comforting for me to read about her as a child. And I enjoy each of the relationships between the characters. But I think I most enjoy the relationship and friendship between the middle brother and sister, Rush and Randy. I love how they're devoted and loyal to each other, and have so much fun together, going on excursions and joking around. And they support each other, and he protects her and comforts her when she's in need of it. They have such an easy, close friendship. I always envied that, as a child. My brother was barely more than a year younger than me, even closer in age than Rush and Randy - though in my case, the sister, not the brother, is older. But I was not friends with my brother - we couldn't stand each other and didn't get along. Whenever I read about a brother and sister who were close in age and were best friends, I always wished I had that. But as a child reading this book, I didn't have it. But now I do! My brother and I grew up and matured, and once we became teenagers, we became best friends. And I'm so glad. That's one of the best things that's every happened to me, and I'm thankful - going from constant fighting and bickering and dislike and unfriendly competition, to love and support and laughter and friendship. I treasure my friendship with my brother. I haven't read the Melendy books since before I gained that friendship, but reading it again now, it makes me so happy to see so much similarity between myself, my brother, and our relationship in Rush and Randy. The idealistic, imaginative girl, and the brilliant, cynical, brother - both full of laughter and fun. One thing I am intensely aware of now, that I took for granted and didn't pay attention to as a child, is how fabulous and skilled the writing of these books are. I had forgotten that, because I didn't notice it consciously. I had to stop often while reading to take pleasure in so many well-crafted descriptions and metaphors. The way the author describes people, and nature, and thoughts and feelings, and even a city bus, is so masterful. And her characters are so vivid and unique and full of life, with just as natural and distinctive mannerisms and ways of speaking, and ways of being, as real people. And so, so many other things - the writing is just wonderful. I was not a writer as a child, but I am now, and I'm keenly aware of how glorious the writing of this series is. Another thing I notice even more now that I'm older is how well the author handled so many things about what it's like to grow up - and one thing that stuck out was how well the Melendy parents love and take care of their family. But in such a realistic way. I appreciate that more now that I'm an adult, and now that I'm more aware of how wonderful my own parents are, even though I also see the flaws more clearly. One thing in particular that I notice about the Melendy family and the author's handling is how the children make mistakes and learn lessons - natural or intentional - and the parents handle it so well. They let them be independent and have adventures, and are there to catch them when they fall and lovingly let them know when they're wrong. And sometimes the children disobey and do something they know their parents would disapprove of, or that they know is wrong - and they make a mistake and learn a lesson. But the author handles it so well - we understand exactly why the children did it, and exactly why it wasn't a good idea, and just like in real life, there are natural consequences. The parenting and morality were handled so well. My little sister is now old enough to read this series, and I cannot wait to share it with her. It will be so special, and I know she'll love it as much as the rest of my siblings and I always have - it's so wonderful to share favorite books with siblings who love them too. And this is such a sibling-centered book that it's all the more special. I'm so glad I finally reread these books. It's been too long. I almost forgot how wonderful it is, and how much it means to me. But it's all fresh again now, and I'll surely be reading it again before that many more years pass again. But Randy couldn't help feeling that there were many miracles in her life. Wasn't it a miracle to live in the country in spring? And to have a wonderful family that she was crazy about, and a house with a secret room and a cupola, and to be eleven and a half years old, and very good at riding a bicycle? Anyway, that's how I feel today, thought Randy. Tomorrow maybe I'll feel some other way; cranky, or dull, or just natural. But that's how I feel today.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    How did I miss reading this lovely book series as a kid?? I was a voracious reader....and I loved books like this! But....some things are best saved for a later day? Maybe? I'm 51...and just now discovering these delightful books! I did not discover the joy that Enright's writing can bring until I came across Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away, totally by accident. I read those two books first (loved them!)...and then moved on to this series. OMG...I had such fun reading this story! It is a b How did I miss reading this lovely book series as a kid?? I was a voracious reader....and I loved books like this! But....some things are best saved for a later day? Maybe? I'm 51...and just now discovering these delightful books! I did not discover the joy that Enright's writing can bring until I came across Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone-Away, totally by accident. I read those two books first (loved them!)...and then moved on to this series. OMG...I had such fun reading this story! It is a bit dated (first published in 1941), but it didn't put a damper on my enjoyment of the story one bit. There are four children in the Melendy family -- Mona, Rush, Miranda, and 6-year old Oliver. They live with their father and a housekeeper, Cuffy. Cuffy is a beloved member of the family, stepping in as a substitute mom of sorts for the throng after the death of their mother. Father writes for a living, and offers up common sense wisdom when needed. He also complains about coal furnaces, the price of everything, and the woes of home repair, as all dads do. Mona wants to be an actress. Rush likes to joke around and loves the theater, especially opera. Miranda is a free spirit and just wants to be herself. And Oliver.....he's just a bit tired of being too little to do things like his siblings do. The kids are bored. Saturdays should be a day where they get to go out and do things...but money is a bit of a crunch. So, they decide to form a club and pool their money. Every Saturday one of them will get to go out and do something fun...whatever they choose. It's the 1940s....a kid can do a lot with $1.60! Each section of this book is a different Saturday....and a new adventure for each kid in the Melendy family and some shared excitement. Even some danger! I listened to the audio book version of this story. Narrated by Pamela Dillman, the audio is just over 4 hours long. Dillman gives a great performance. And the story is just enchantingly fun! Every Saturday is an adventure! Fun is had -- lessons are learned -- life is lived. :) When the book finished, I found myself wondering what I would have chosen to do on MY Saturday, if I had been a Melendy. At 12, I probably would have chosen a day at the zoo where I could wander at will and look at my favorite animals as long as I wanted to. Then a trip to a nearby bookstore, where I could browse the shelves and buy one book I really wanted....then sit outside in the sunshine for awhile and read. Then back home. :) That would have been the perfect day for me at 12. And, you know.....I think it would be a perfect day for me at 51, too!! :) Moving on to the next book -- The Four-Story Mistake. There are four books in the series. And luckily my library has them all on audio!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This was not an obvious choice as a read-aloud for a nine-year-old boy (it was one of those times when I didn't have a book for him waiting on deck, and had to delve into my own shelves in desperation), but it worked surprisingly well, even the beauty parlor chapter. T laughed a great deal at Rush's witticisms, which surprised me -- I know the book so nearly by heart, I'd almost forgotten that a lot of his lines are meant to be funny and surprising, and not as inevitable as the rising and settin This was not an obvious choice as a read-aloud for a nine-year-old boy (it was one of those times when I didn't have a book for him waiting on deck, and had to delve into my own shelves in desperation), but it worked surprisingly well, even the beauty parlor chapter. T laughed a great deal at Rush's witticisms, which surprised me -- I know the book so nearly by heart, I'd almost forgotten that a lot of his lines are meant to be funny and surprising, and not as inevitable as the rising and setting of the sun. The book itself is a wonderful love letter to New York City as it was 70 years ago. It shocks me how long ago it was written -- it still seems so fresh and alive. The occasional World War II references completely escaped me the dozens of times I read it as a child; as far as I was concerned it took place in an eternal now.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    Elizabeth Enright's books are exactly the kind I would want to write if I wrote children's books. And her characters' adventures are exactly the kind I would want to have if I could be a kid again. Elizabeth Enright's books are exactly the kind I would want to write if I wrote children's books. And her characters' adventures are exactly the kind I would want to have if I could be a kid again.

  10. 4 out of 5

    etherealfire

    A favorite preteen read that I believe I obtained as part of a Scholastic Book Club Reprint. I'd love to get a copy of this book again because it was so much fun. A favorite preteen read that I believe I obtained as part of a Scholastic Book Club Reprint. I'd love to get a copy of this book again because it was so much fun.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shiloah

    Sweet story. The Melendy family is a good example on how to treat each other and admit your faults. I definitely recommend this for all kids.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Mead

    Rereading this classic was wonderful! The Melendy's are a delightful bunch, full of spunk, fun and have a tendency to get into trouble. Rereading this classic was wonderful! The Melendy's are a delightful bunch, full of spunk, fun and have a tendency to get into trouble.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Elizabeth Enright is a treasure. This is funny and warm and happy and exciting - and really well-written - and a great example of the "summer book" genre - I have no idea why it took me so long to reread this. By the way, Mona gets her hair cut and styled and her nails done for $1.50. Times have changed. This was published in 1941, and there are two mentions of Hitler and one of Mussolini and the Blitz. Mostly, though, the Melendys run around in a glorious idyllic sprawling city, where the days ar Elizabeth Enright is a treasure. This is funny and warm and happy and exciting - and really well-written - and a great example of the "summer book" genre - I have no idea why it took me so long to reread this. By the way, Mona gets her hair cut and styled and her nails done for $1.50. Times have changed. This was published in 1941, and there are two mentions of Hitler and one of Mussolini and the Blitz. Mostly, though, the Melendys run around in a glorious idyllic sprawling city, where the days are long and the people exciting. I'm not sure if that's what summers were like for me, or if that's just how I remember them. Either way: this is a nostalgic read. A wonderful one.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    "It would have to rain today," said Rush, lying flat on his back in front of the fire. "On a Saturday. Certainly. Naturally. Of course. What else would you expect? Good weather is for Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday; and rain's for Saturday and Sunday, and Christmas vacation and Easter." "Oh, Rush, do stop grousing," said Mona, turning a page peacefully. She wasn't even listening to what he said; all she heard was the grumble in his voice. (3) Thus starts The Saturdays, Enright's first bo "It would have to rain today," said Rush, lying flat on his back in front of the fire. "On a Saturday. Certainly. Naturally. Of course. What else would you expect? Good weather is for Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday; and rain's for Saturday and Sunday, and Christmas vacation and Easter." "Oh, Rush, do stop grousing," said Mona, turning a page peacefully. She wasn't even listening to what he said; all she heard was the grumble in his voice. (3) Thus starts The Saturdays, Enright's first book about the Melendy family, and I was won over immediately. Enright does dialogue well, and captures her characters' emotions well, too—excitement and boredom and annoyance and anger. The illustrations (also by Enright) are charming, and the setting (NYC in 1941) is exciting. The book's opening made me want to read the whole book aloud (though I didn't) and also just made me grin. I kept grinning as I learned more about the Melendy kids: Mona (who's thirteen), Rush (who's twelve), Randy (short for Miranda; she's ten and a half), and Oliver (who's six). They live in a brownstone in NYC with their dad and with Cuffy, who's their cook/housekeeper/nurse (their mother's dead, but that's not a central plot issue). On the rainy Saturday that starts the book, the kids decide to start pooling their allowances so they can take turns doing something exciting on future Saturdays: they call their plan the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club, and each one starts planning what he or she will do when it's his or her turn (though Oliver, of course, is deemed too young to actually go out and do anything by himself). As the book continues, we get to see what each kid chooses to do on his or her Saturday; Oliver even has quite an adventure of his own. (All the kids are sweet and funny, but Oliver's totally my favorite, whether he's drawing battleships that look like teapots or nonchalantly asking police officers for directions: one police officer asks if he's a little young to be out by himself, and Oliver just says "No, I don't think so," and keeps going.) But the book isn't just plot-driven excitement or getting to know the characters: there are also lots of really satisfying descriptive passages. Enright writes about how things look or smell or sound in a way that's concrete and delightful; passages like this reminded me of similarly satisfying bits in some of my favorite kids' books, particularly L.M. Boston's Green Knowe series: [The rain] plinked and splashed and ran in long curly streams down the skylight. The windows were speckled and running, and occasional drops even fell down the chimney and hissed into the fire. All the city sounds that could be heard above the rain were wet sounds; the long whish of passing automobiles, damp clopping of horses' hoofs, and the many voices, deep, or high, or husky, that came hooting and whistling out of the murky rivers at either side of the city. (4)

  15. 4 out of 5

    John

    Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Quartet of books are ostensibly children's books, but they are much more than that. I read The Saturdays with my son when he was about 6 years old and we enjoyed it very much. This last year I read it again with my 5 year old daughter and it has only gotten better on the second pass. The story is of four children from the ages of 6 to 13 in 1930s New York City who have decided to pool their weekly allowance. Each week one then takes the pool to use the money to go on a Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Quartet of books are ostensibly children's books, but they are much more than that. I read The Saturdays with my son when he was about 6 years old and we enjoyed it very much. This last year I read it again with my 5 year old daughter and it has only gotten better on the second pass. The story is of four children from the ages of 6 to 13 in 1930s New York City who have decided to pool their weekly allowance. Each week one then takes the pool to use the money to go on a day out wherever they wished - a concert, a museum and others. I believe my kids loved the book a great deal because of the vicarious freedom they experience through the characters. But I believe the the book is much more than the value of that story line for both them and adults - Enright's writing is beautiful at times and downright funny at others. It also captures the period very well. There are a few moments in the books that may seem odd to children, now so far out of context of their original time period. (Rush cheerily calling Oliver "fatso" for example, or their wandering the city on their own.) But they are very minor in comparison to today's daily fare and a small discussion about them can only help kids with their perspective. Enright paints a wonderful picture of a time of innocence in the children's lives and all of the characters have a wonderful warmth and reality about them. Once we read this book my daughter couldn't wait to keep reading - and I have to say that in her more pensive moments, Enright's writing can even make you a little teary. I heartily recommend all four books in this series to both children and adults.

  16. 5 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Mixed feelings, upped rating after considered comments. Adults who allow and encourage cruelty to children is not acceptable here. Housekeeper Cuffy "fat in a nice, comfortable way" p 9, with harsh soap scrubs, makes baths and hair painful. Mona 13 spends her fair share of pooled Saturday allowances on professional haircut and manicure. I had the same too-heavy long blonde braid, private exhilaration, public approbation. Manicures heal and prevent infected fingernails. Called "silly .. vain" p 98 Mixed feelings, upped rating after considered comments. Adults who allow and encourage cruelty to children is not acceptable here. Housekeeper Cuffy "fat in a nice, comfortable way" p 9, with harsh soap scrubs, makes baths and hair painful. Mona 13 spends her fair share of pooled Saturday allowances on professional haircut and manicure. I had the same too-heavy long blonde braid, private exhilaration, public approbation. Manicures heal and prevent infected fingernails. Called "silly .. vain" p 98 "fool .. concerned about yourself" selfish p 101, Mona rushes from part-finished supper in tears, has to apologize for "vanity" p 102 and scrape hands raw. The first half is sweet, depicts sturdy slim bodies in strong line drawings by the author. Miranda "Randy" 10 sees French painting show, is invited to petits fours by subject who coincidentally knew both their parents, learns treasures may lie hidden beneath assumptions and prejudices. (view spoiler)[ Mrs Oliphant "Elephant" at 11, kidnapped by gypsies from her sheltered Parisian home, welcomes them to her lighthouse for a whole summer of Saturdays. (hide spoiler)] Saturdays can make dreams come true "a door opening into an enchanted country" p 19 when the Melendy children take turns to spend their pooled allowances in WW2 New York City of horse-mounted policeman and nursery fires. For acceptable "girly" behavior, Mona's family jeers her away from unfinished supper into tears, forcing an apology to Cuffy for "extreme vanity". Mona scrapes her hands raw ineffectively trying to remove nail polish, until finally a whole bottle of perfume works. That incident is unacceptable adult treatment, not excused by 1950s setting, not marked as such, deserves omission of updated revisions, at least pointed out in study questions. (view spoiler)[ Are they unusually accident-prone on successive Saturdays? Rush 12 leaves coal furnace door open and gas almost kills them asleep. Miranda "Randy" 10 drapes a dress over a light bulb and leaves with the house afire, then falls into an icy Park pond. Oliver 6 fibs, causes havoc by slipping away to see the circus. He wants to be a mounted policeman instead of a train engineer, after one rides him home. Even this is spoiled later, by stereotyping observation that "all policemen have the same face .. wide and pink like a boiled ham" p164. (hide spoiler)] Humor is lighthearted. Rush wants to build bridges, but sees Wagner's Siegfreid opera, Brünnhilde "the shape and size of a caterpillar tractor .. forget it when she began to sing" p 57. His jargon is dull "swell .. keen" p 69, "swell piano with a tone like purple velvet" p 175. Like Borrowers, Mona' s gloves "never want to stay in pairs" p 74. Can chocolate poison dogs, kill a small one such as Rush's new mutt? He "surreptitiously .. gave Isaac a small piece of chocolate" p 164. The danger could be exaggerated at source http://animal.discovery.com/pets/ques...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I want to be a Melendy. Nevermind the fact that I am a 35-year-old woman and that they fictitiously lived in the 1940s. I want to hang out in "The Office," the Melendy siblings' attic hangout complete with a saggy sofa, a trapeze swing, a piano and shelves and shelves of books. I want to traipse around New York City when $1.60 could buy a serious adventure. But since I cannot be Melendy, I will settle for reading their adventures to my children. Next up: The Four-Story Mistake. I want to be a Melendy. Nevermind the fact that I am a 35-year-old woman and that they fictitiously lived in the 1940s. I want to hang out in "The Office," the Melendy siblings' attic hangout complete with a saggy sofa, a trapeze swing, a piano and shelves and shelves of books. I want to traipse around New York City when $1.60 could buy a serious adventure. But since I cannot be Melendy, I will settle for reading their adventures to my children. Next up: The Four-Story Mistake.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Delightful. 1941 - four siblings decide to pool their allowance and each Saturday one takes it all (a whopping $1.50) to do something special - go to a museum, an opera, the circus. A Very special book filled with great warmth and good humor. Episodic and easy to read, this is a classic for good reason.

  19. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    In The Saturdays we are introduced to the Melendy family. There's an often absent but loving father; a strict but kind housekeeper/cook/nanny, and of course the children: Thirteen-year-old Mona who is going to be an actress; Twelve year old Rush, a piano prodigy who wants to make music AND be an engineer; Randy (Miranda) age 10 1/2, who dances like a fairy and wants to be both an artist and a dancer; Olivier, age 6, thoughtful and determined. Bored with their ordinary lives, the Melendys decide In The Saturdays we are introduced to the Melendy family. There's an often absent but loving father; a strict but kind housekeeper/cook/nanny, and of course the children: Thirteen-year-old Mona who is going to be an actress; Twelve year old Rush, a piano prodigy who wants to make music AND be an engineer; Randy (Miranda) age 10 1/2, who dances like a fairy and wants to be both an artist and a dancer; Olivier, age 6, thoughtful and determined. Bored with their ordinary lives, the Melendys decide one rainy Saturday afternoon to pool their resources to give each of them a chance of experience a day of doing something they had always dreamed of. In The Four Story Mistake, the Melendys move to the country. There's a war on and everyone must do his or her bit to help out. In addition, there's the new house and surroundings to explore, new friends to make and a new school. Then There Were Five concludes the Melendy family saga. You can probably guess what you think is going to happen but you have to read the books to know for sure. The places the children go and people they meet will change their lives forever. I simply adored these stories. I didn't want them to end. I loved the eccentric Melendy family. The children are so real and their adventures are very ordinary yet they seem magical because the children take such delight in them. I felt fully immersed in their world and part of the family. Any kid would love to be a Melendy. Some of their adventures are a bit far fetched and they're never punished for not behaving quite as they ought. I'm not a parent, so I don't worry about that sort of thing, especially since the Melendys all have a strong conscience that tells them when they're not doing something Cuffy would approve of. They're all thoughtful and caring individuals and they enrich many people's lives, including the reader. Even though the stories were written in the 1940s, they still feel fresh and exciting. There are a few spots that reflect attitudes of the day but nothing major stood out. I can't believe I never read these books as a kid, especially since I liked Thimble Summer a lot. These are books for the keeper shelf if you can find them.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Del

    I was a bit of a tearaway in school, which I'm neither proud or ashamed of. I hated maths; I had no interest in the sciences, and as far as I was concerned they didn't teach us any interesting history (I find the stuff they DID teach us fairly interesting now, maybe because I'm old and boring). The only two classes where I put in any real effort were Art, where I had more enthusiasm than talent; and English. I could have spent all day every day in English class - especially in 3rd and 4th year, I was a bit of a tearaway in school, which I'm neither proud or ashamed of. I hated maths; I had no interest in the sciences, and as far as I was concerned they didn't teach us any interesting history (I find the stuff they DID teach us fairly interesting now, maybe because I'm old and boring). The only two classes where I put in any real effort were Art, where I had more enthusiasm than talent; and English. I could have spent all day every day in English class - especially in 3rd and 4th year, when my teacher was Mr Semple. I think I drove him round the bend with my behaviour at times, but I could sense that he liked me, and I think he cut me a bit of slack because he knew I was passionate about the work. The stuff we read in his class has stuck with me; he introduced me to the wonderful poetry of Norman MacCaig, and to Shakespeare (he must have been a fan of the tragedies, because we did Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Othello, and with his guidance, I got over my initial reluctance and learned to love these stories). The Saturdays may seem slight in comparison, but I think it may have been the first book we read in his class, and I have really fond memories of it. I enjoyed it just as much this time around; I was probably mainlining nostalgia here, but where's the harm in that? The period descriptions of Manhattan are delightful, and somehow put me in mind of The Catcher in the Rye. I never read any of the other Melendy Family books in my teens, but I think I'll remedy that.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Misti

    Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy live in New York City with their father and a housekeeper. The city is full of sights to see and great experiences, especially for children who dream of becoming dancers, actors, and musicians, but it’s also a bit expensive when you only get an allowance of fifty cents a week. One rainy Saturday, Randy gets the idea of pooling their resources: each Saturday, one of the four will get all of the allowances, resulting in a sum that, in the 1940s, is enough for Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy live in New York City with their father and a housekeeper. The city is full of sights to see and great experiences, especially for children who dream of becoming dancers, actors, and musicians, but it’s also a bit expensive when you only get an allowance of fifty cents a week. One rainy Saturday, Randy gets the idea of pooling their resources: each Saturday, one of the four will get all of the allowances, resulting in a sum that, in the 1940s, is enough for a ticket to the opera or ballet, and various other adventures besides. Along the way, they also discover that the most enjoyable experiences are sometimes serendipitous (and free), and they make many new friends on their adventures. This was lovely! I don’t know how I missed these charming stories until now. I ran across a mention of them in comparison to The Penderwicks, which is certainly apt. I’d also recommend them to fans of E. Nesbit, Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family, and Noel Streatfeild. I wish I could go back and recommend them to my childhood self!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Charming! I'm a little bothered by how the family reacts to Mona's outing, but other than that, I really enjoyed being with the Melendy Family. 2019 challenge: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter Charming! I'm a little bothered by how the family reacts to Mona's outing, but other than that, I really enjoyed being with the Melendy Family. 2019 challenge: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Originally published in 1941, I read my mother's copy. It was her book as a child and she passed it to me where it remained in my childhood bedroom until it somehow disappeared. I sure wish I still had it as it was a favorite. Originally published in 1941, I read my mother's copy. It was her book as a child and she passed it to me where it remained in my childhood bedroom until it somehow disappeared. I sure wish I still had it as it was a favorite.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I loved listening to this with the kids. It was one of my favorite when I a kid. Look forward to listening to the rest of the series.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JG (Introverted Reader)

    What a fun story of a sweet little family! I had never heard of this series before but it's apparently a classic. Fans of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall should absolutely pick this up. What a fun story of a sweet little family! I had never heard of this series before but it's apparently a classic. Fans of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall should absolutely pick this up.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alaina

    Somehow never heard of this book/series until this year, month, and weekend. The Saturdays made me jealous. Pretty sure that's not what most people would think but I mean.. a hair cut and nails done for less than $2? Uh, sign me up for that deal ASAP. I wouldn't even care if my hair was even or if my nails had color. That is a damn deal. A steal even. Now it's like.. $70-100 for a hair cut and $20-40 for nails. Other than my ranting of that, this was set in the 1940's. So I could easily see why a Somehow never heard of this book/series until this year, month, and weekend. The Saturdays made me jealous. Pretty sure that's not what most people would think but I mean.. a hair cut and nails done for less than $2? Uh, sign me up for that deal ASAP. I wouldn't even care if my hair was even or if my nails had color. That is a damn deal. A steal even. Now it's like.. $70-100 for a hair cut and $20-40 for nails. Other than my ranting of that, this was set in the 1940's. So I could easily see why all of that was so cheap. Probably expensive back then.. but dang, I would love that nowadays. Besides being jealous of Mona in that certain situations, the rest of the family had it's cute and funny moments throughout the book. In the end, I really enjoyed getting to meet and know the characters a bit more. Especially when we got to see what they chose to do on their Saturday. Definitely entertaining.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Miller

    When I finished this last night I was like... well that was a long ramble of pleasant words. Was it a story? Maybe? Was it believable in any sense of the term? No, though I do believe that there is a special place in a six-year-old child's imagination where an unsupervised trip to the circus would go that smoothly. Was there any semblance of a plot or an obstacle to overcome? No, not really. Did any of those things keep me from enjoying the read? Ha, no. These words (rambling as they may have been When I finished this last night I was like... well that was a long ramble of pleasant words. Was it a story? Maybe? Was it believable in any sense of the term? No, though I do believe that there is a special place in a six-year-old child's imagination where an unsupervised trip to the circus would go that smoothly. Was there any semblance of a plot or an obstacle to overcome? No, not really. Did any of those things keep me from enjoying the read? Ha, no. These words (rambling as they may have been) were cute and childish (in a grand way) and occasionally sassy and occasionally really accurate. Also Issac (the dog) was every child's innocent stray dog dream and I.S.S.A.C. (the club) was an idea whisked straight out of the american childhood (though these days G.R.O.S.S is perhaps a more accurate representation of the reality.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    I had read the rest of the series but had somehow skipped this first one, so I finally read it and enjoyed it immensely!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    What a delightful little read! I can't wait to hear more about the Melendy Family and their adventures. What a delightful little read! I can't wait to hear more about the Melendy Family and their adventures.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie Fitzgerald

    This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright was originally published in 1941, and is the first book in The Melendy Quartet. The Melendy children - Mona, age 13, Rush, age 12, Miranda (Randy), age 10, and Oliver, age 6, live with their widower father, and a housekeeper named Cuffy, who serves as their surrogate mother. In this book, the kids, led by Randy, decide to pool their allowances each week, to allow one member of the family to spend Saturday doi This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom. The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright was originally published in 1941, and is the first book in The Melendy Quartet. The Melendy children - Mona, age 13, Rush, age 12, Miranda (Randy), age 10, and Oliver, age 6, live with their widower father, and a housekeeper named Cuffy, who serves as their surrogate mother. In this book, the kids, led by Randy, decide to pool their allowances each week, to allow one member of the family to spend Saturday doing something he or she loves outside of the house, and without any supervision. They form a club dedicated to this purpose, and name it the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club, or I.S.A.A.C. Each chapter of the book covers a different Saturday, as the reader follows each child to his or her chosen activity. The concept of this book is wonderful, and it's what grabbed my attention in the first place. But a good portion of it was spoiled for me because adults kept stealing the spotlight! At least two of the chapters digress into long-winded stories told by secondary characters the kids meet on their adventures, thus robbing me of the enjoyment of seeing kids on their own in the streets of New York City, something that would be just plain unsafe nowadays. I wished so much that the kids had actually been more independent. For the most part, I enjoyed the old-fashioned feeling of this book, and the writing style really appealed to me. The only thing that bothered me was that Elizabeth Enright was very fond of similes and metaphors, and after a while, I felt like I was tripping over them. I also thought they reminded me of the author's presence too often. Figures of speech cropped up no matter whose point of view we were supposed to be in, and they all sounded like they came from the same voice. The tail-end of the book is really great, though. Oliver gets a chance to have his own Saturday, and being in his six-year-old mind is a definite treat. I thought his story was the only one that fully lived up to the spirit of I.S.A.A.C.

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