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Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by…

Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze (1951)

by Elizabeth Enright

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This is the last book in the Melendy Quartet, and it might be my favorite. As it follows Randy and Oliver Melendy on a mysterious scavenger hunt, this book shows well how the dynamics between younger siblings change as the older siblings go off and do their own things. I love watching the relationship between Randy and Oliver blossom as they work together to solve each clue. They each do things on their own, but still hold a strong loyalty to one another. I hope that my children do the same as they get older.

Speaking of my children, they love the scavenger hunt at the center of this book. All the while we were listening to this, they took turns making one another scavenger hunts and working together to make scavenger hunts for their dad.

They've not made any scavenger hunts for me. I'm not sure, but I suspect it's because I am, in general, less fun than their dad. Not that I'm not fun, I just am less obviously and sillily fun than Dad. For example, I like the scavenger hunt in the story, but my favorite parts are the rambles Randy and Oliver take to try and figure out the clues. Graveyards, pokeberry groves, abandoned houses: the youngest Melendys find magic everywhere, and Elizabeth Enright does a brilliant job of sharing this magic with the reader (or at least with me).

I also love that Oliver and Randy make friends with cool adults. Mrs. Bishop pretty much rocks, with her crocheted doilies and her knowledge of wildcraft.

One star off because the ending was a little anticlimactic and because I'm going to have to be on the lookout for the next few months to make sure my kids don't try to climb up the chimney. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jul 29, 2015 |
The fourth and last of the Melendy books; the older children are now grown up and away from home but are sending messages to the two youngest (Randy and Oliver) for a rather artificial sort of treasure hunt. I might not like it as much if it were not part of a series I like. Again, this is the actual copy I read as a child which I got when the library discarded it. ( )
  antiquary | Aug 31, 2013 |
07/11 I am growing to love this one as much as I love the rest of the Melendy series. Why, I wonder, did I snub it so firmly in my youth? Here's a quote that I adore from this one:

"The truth was that the young Melendys were acquiring a taste for old cemeteries. There was something very peaceful, they thought, about the quiet places; the tilted stones patched with lichens, standing in a bee-humming tangle of myrtle and wild asters. It was pleasant to walk between the stones, tracing the half-eroded names, the epitaphs, some beautiful, some sadly funny, some grotesque."

I love that we get to spend more time with Father in this book. His goofy humor really shines. And I love the story from Cuffy's youth! Enright's characters are so very real.

01/10 I remember only bits and pieces of this, I must have read it only once or twice. It's certainly not part of what I think of as the canon.

First off, boarding school? Boarding school? The sheer dissonance is overwhelming from the first. But once one gets past that, it's a delight. Any Melendy book is better than no Melendy book, even if Rush and Mark and Mona are reduced to walk-on characters. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I've been listening to this gem while working in the garden, and I must say that Enright and gardens are a simply brilliant pairing. Nothing like being eyeball deep in daffodils and hearing Randy explain that flowers in the woods are white, while flowers in the fields are generally yellow.

This is perhaps my fourth visit to this book, and I'm still bemused that I dismissed it so thoroughly as a kid, when all the other Enrights were read to tatters. I think it's because of the clue/mystery format (see also my failure to like [b:The Westing Game|902|The Westing Game|Ellen Raskin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1356850909s/902.jpg|869832]). Once I was through all the Nancy Drew books, I figured I knew all there was to know about mysteries which was that they were mostly annoying, sometimes boring and every now and then way too suspenseful to read in order. So I cheated myself of this book, probably flouncing a little in a superior manner as I left it on the library shelf. It's a mercy and a gift that I got over that attitude, and now I can't read the Melendy books without including this one.

( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I ran into a comment about this book and remembered reading the Melendy Family Quartet many, many years ago. I was addicted to Nancy Drew mysteries and my Mother took me to the bookstore and told me I could pick out any book as long as it wasn't Nancy Drew. I remembered loving this book and, over the years, have remembered many scenes from the books. So I bought them again to see if they were as good as I remembered. They were -- admittedly they're very much of their time (1940's) but the warmth and fun is there and ageless. I'd recommend these books to any child (and, frankly, any adult looking for a little innocent fun. All of the first three books are about the same in quality -- the only one that can be skipped is Spiderweb for Two -- which suffered a little from the lack of two of the four children. ( )
  NellieMc | Dec 2, 2011 |
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Randy was certain that this was going to be the worst winter of her life.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080507063X, Hardcover)

Four reasons to cheer!

Meet the Melendys! Mona, the eldest, is thirteen. She has decided to become an actress and can recite poetry at the drop of a hat. Rush is twelve and a bit mischievous. Miranda is ten and a half. She loves dancing and painting pictures. Oliver is the youngest. At six, he is a calm and thoughful person. They all live with their father, who is a writer, and Cuffy, their beloved housekeeper, who takes on the many roles of nurse, cook, substitute mother, grandmother, and aunt.

Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy Quartet, which captures the lively adventures of a family as they move from the city to the country, are being published in new editions. Each of the books features a foreward and signature black-and-white interior illustrations by the author. Popular artist Tricia Tusa provides irresistible new cover art that will appeal to today’s readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:13 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Left alone when Rush, Mark, and Mona go away to boarding school, Randy and Oliver are lonely and bored until a mysterious letter brings the first of many clues to a mystery that takes all winter to solve.

» see all 3 descriptions

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