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All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
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All-of-a-Kind Family (1951)

by Sydney Taylor

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: All-Of-A-Kind Family (1)

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1,363325,632 (4.15)1 / 56
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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I loved this whole series as a child. I wanted to be Jewish when I read these. I loved the family and the rhythms of their lives. Very kind and sweet. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
This is an adorable book that includes the antics of a Jewish family living in New York City during the 1950's. The family includes 5 little girls, known by the librarian as the "All of a Kind Family". The book gives you a glimpse of what life was like for the girls, yet they deal with a lot of the same things girls now would deal with like troubles in school, sicknesses, sibling fights, and adventures of childhood! ( )
  mariahpolen | Dec 10, 2013 |
I think that this book is perfect for a fourth grader. It leads the reader on a journey through the holidays of the Jewish year as experienced by five sisters living on the lower east side of Manhattan in 1912 with their hard working father who has a rag and junk business and their loving and fair mother. There is a visit to Coney Island and Playland, the building of a succos house, celebration of Purim. The descriptions of the Jewish holidays are folded into the day to day lives of the children who operate as a tightly knit group.

Very charming, with a hint of romance between the Gentile librarian and fellow junkman Charlie. ( )
  paakre | Apr 27, 2013 |
I first read this book about 50 years ago (yes, I am dating myself) and the last time I read it was probably 49 years ago. I remember loving the book at the time but I think read it just the years I was 9 and 10, and I think I always read library copies. I am wondering if I even read it in third grade but I don’t remember for sure, so I’m sticking with my original read date, which was when I was in fourth grade.

I did a reread, something I’ve long wanted to do, mostly because the Children's Books group is reading it for one of their book clubs. (I feel so grateful to them; now that I’ve reread it I wish I’d done so years ago, and probably more than just once.) I reread this book from March 16, 2013 through March 17th, 2013.

I guessed about the couple in question, even before the plot gave me the background or any hints, but probably didn’t as an 8-10 year old on first reading. I did want more about the two of them and their future, but I guess that’s what sequels are for. And this book did have a delightful ending.

I love how close the sisters are, how thoughtful they are, how they play fair, and how each of their different personalities comes across (I’ve always been especially fond of Sarah, the middle daughter), and I appreciate the parenting they got too. It’s just a wonderful family. I envied the closeness of the family but was and remain a bit surprised that the girls’ child friends didn’t make any appearances; it was only family and adult family friends that showed up in the story.

I love how Jewish holidays and traditions are seamlessly incorporated right into the story. Although I’m Jewish, my nuclear family never celebrated Jewish holidays, not at all. I went to a couple Passover seders at cousins’ and then when I was about 12 I learned and participated in two different friends’ Jewish family celebrations, but not on a completely regular basis.

What’s funny is when I was young I read tenement and how money was dear so I thought of this family as poor, and I guess they are in a sense, but there was enough money to give each girl 1¢ a day in spending money, which is 35¢ a week, and that money could buy a lot back then, and they had enough for a few other extras too, so now they don’t seem particularly destitute or needy to me.

I loved the library and the books portions of the story, and always have.

There is some anachronistic material such as when describing men of different ethnic groups and the “freaks” at Coney Island, and the differences between girls and boys regarding interests, careers, and roles, but I accepted that. This was historical fiction even 50 years ago.

The ink drawings are lovely and really add to the story. They help make it a perfect book for 7 or 8 though 10 year old chapter book reading kids but the story and characters can be enjoyed by everybody, which makes it an ideal book for read aloud, for one to one, for families for sure, and for teachers and students. Adults will enjoy the reading experience as much as the children do.

I hated being an only child and always wanted a big family and at ages 9 and 10 it was sisters I wanted, so I know I got vicarious gratification from this and many other books about families.

This is a perfect comfort read book and a lovely, fun, heartwarming, and old-fashioned yet timeless family story.

Thanks to Goodreads friend Melody I know to read only 2 of the 4 sequels, and I do want to read both of them. ( )
2 vote Lisa2013 | Apr 15, 2013 |
First re-read of this book in years uncountable.

This is the book from which I first learned about the Jewish faith. As a little heathen child, I'd been dragged to various Christian churches by friends and cousins, and I knew (I thought) all about that religion which was boring, boring, boring. But this...nobody I knew ever built a little bitty house in their backyard. Or got to eat parsley dipped in salt water. I was fascinated.

Not only was I a little heathen, I was also a little singleton. Reading this story of 5 close and loving sisters made me envious and amazed. Mama was patient, she was kind, she was wise, she was gentle. She was perfect! Papa was all those things, too, plus he had crinkly eye-corners when he smiled! And the pushcarts! The Library Lady! Dusting for buttons! Coney Is-land! I'm sure I read this book at least 30 times before I turned 14. I don't think I've read it since.

I sank back into it with a sigh. They were all still there in New York in 1912, waiting for me. Only this time, I was different. I watched Mama, and I marveled. I know now that Taylor based this family on her own, and I wonder more about some of the stories. Mama worked so hard, so long, and was so incredibly patient. The family's poverty resonates more with me now, and I see what passes between Mama and Papa when they worry about money. And when 4 of the girls are down with Scarlet Fever? What must have gone through her mind that never showed? What about all that sewing? Five girls? That's a lot of little girls to raise on a junkman's iffy income. The picture painted with this book is full of depth and compassion and love. Taylor's writing appears effortless. The illustrations are lovely, too.

It's a wonderful book. It evokes an era that's gone forever, and it does it without undue sentimentality and nostalgia. The hardship is right there for those with eyes to see, but so is the love. This family is a whole, functioning, happy family, and it's a delight to join it for an hour. In fact, I'm about to go read the rest of the series, so I'll be joining it for a few days. Lucky me. You should be so lucky.

Also? The chick pea man! I love the chick pea man: "Arbis! Shaynicke, guttinke arbislach! Keuf meine heise arbis!" ( )
2 vote satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sydney Taylorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
John, HelenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my mother and father who made it possible;
To my husband who made it probable.
c. 1 The Brodell Family
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"That slowpoke Sarah!" Henny cried.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440400597, Paperback)

There's something to be said for a book that makes you wish you'd been part of a poor immigrant family living in New York's upper east side on the eve of World War I. Sydney Taylor's time-honored classic does just that. Life is rich for the five mischievous girls in the family. They find adventure in visiting the library, going to market with Mama, even dusting the front room. Young readers who have never shared a bedroom with four siblings, with no television in sight, will vicariously experience the simple, old-fashioned pleasures of talk, make-believe, and pilfered penny candy. The family's Jewish faith strengthens their ties to each other, while providing still more excitement and opportunity for mischief. Readers unfamiliar with Judaism will learn with the girls during each beautifully depicted holiday. This lively family, subject of four more "all-of-a- kind" books, is full of unique characters, all deftly illustrated by Helen John. Taylor based the stories on her own childhood family, and the true-life quality of her writing gives this classic its page-turning appeal. (Ages 9 to 12)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:19 -0400)

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The adventures of five sisters growing up in a Jewish family in New York in the early twentieth century.

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