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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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1,981445,131 (4.12)1 / 83
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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
This is a sweet mid-century book about a Jewish family in the lower East Side at the turn of the century. It's an episodic book, taking place over the course of a year or so. There are a couple of chapters devoted to celebrating Jewish holidays (Sabbath, Purim, Passover, Succos), as well as more general chapters devoted to the sorts of mishaps and adventures a large family of children can get into (losing a library book, a day at the beach, their father's birthday, etc). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will definitely be reading the rest of the series in the future. ( )
  irasobrietate | Jun 4, 2019 |
There are five children to keep track of in All-of-a-Kind Family: Gerdie, Sarah, Henny, Ella, and Charlotte. Each child has a wonderfully illustrated distinct personality. Together they make their way through turn-of-the-century New York City and all it has to offer whether it be a trip to the carnival atmosphere of Coney Island or around the corner to Papa's shop.
Taylor does a wonderful job including a primer of Jewish customs around the holidays. It does not come across as didactic or religiously heavy. Instead, there is a heartfelt pride in the rituals. It's not a spoiler to say the children have two surprises at the end of the book. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Apr 29, 2019 |
Listening to it on Libby
  dyziunia | Mar 27, 2019 |
One of the great delights of my childhood, Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books were some of my absolute favorites as a girl, and I have read and reread them countless times over the years. Unlike some readers, they didn't serve as my introduction to Judaism - my father sat on a number of ecumenical and interfaith councils, and my first experience of Jewish religious tradition was probably the Passover Seder we attended at the home of a rabbi friend of his, when I was very young - but they did give me a serious case of Purim envy. Honestly - what child wouldn't want to partake of a holiday in which you're allowed to dress up in costumes, encouraged to make noise, and given lots of treats? I have this vivid memory of accompanying my mother to the city on one of those "take your child to work" days, and passing a branch of the New York Public Library that had a copy of Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family on display in the window. Having had, until that moment, no idea that there even was a fifth story about this marvelous family, I was simply beside myself with excitement (even then, the NYPL was a place of magic) and made my mother march in at once and check it out for me. Ah, what a day that was...

All of which is to say, I simply adore these books. They are a treasured artifact of my childhood, but they are also phenomenally good books, in as far as I am able to judge these things objectively. The story of a loving Jewish family living in New York City's Lower East Side in the early years of the 20th century, they chronicle both the everyday occurrences and the special occasions (whether religious or secular) that make up their world. This first one is so familiar to me, that I have only to look at the cover, and I can instantly call to mind the opening of the book, in which Ella, Henny, Charlotte and Gertie wait impatiently for slowpoke Sarah to get home, so they can all go to the library. As someone who went to the library every week as well, my childhood self entered immediately into this story of girls so like me, and yet also unlike me. I could probably list all the chapters from memory - the one with the button game (got to get those girls to dust properly!), the one with the candy and cracker-eating in bed, the Purim one (naturally), the one where everyone but Henny gets Scarlet Fever, the one at Coney Island, the one where Charlie and his long-lost lady love are reunited (sigh!) under the Sukkah - although I might not string them together in quite the correct order. Memorable, entertaining, heartwarming, informative - these stories have it all! Even the artwork, contributed here by illustrator Helen John, is dear to me.

Having now reread All-of-a-Kind Family for at least the hundredth time - I have decided to revisit the series, in order to read the newly published picture-book, All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah - I can confirm that it holds up as well as it ever has, and is every bit as superb as I remembered it to be. Recommended to anyone who enjoys well-written family stories, engaging historical fiction, fiction featuring Jewish children, vintage girls' books - in short, good reads, full stop! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Nov 15, 2018 |
All of a Kind Family is just so amazing! Such a sweet story of a Jewish family living in the early 1900s. So sweet and innocent. I remember reading it when I was younger and loving it, and was beyond excited when I found out it was a series. The five little girls are so adorable. Their personalities are so unique and different, yet they get along so well. A must must read for pretty much anyone! Especially girls. 6 out of 5 stars! ;) ( )
  SarahGraceGrzy | Oct 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Taylor, Sydneyprimary 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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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

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