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The Moffats (1941)

by Eleanor Estes

Other authors: Louis Slobodkin (Illustrator)

Series: The Moffats (1)

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1,619167,593 (3.98)32
Relates the adventures and misadventures of the four Moffat children living with their widowed mother in a yellow house on New Dollar Street in the small town of Cranbury, Connecticut.

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
The Moffats are a family of five (plus a cat) Mother, Sylvie, a young teen, Joe, 12, Jane 9, and Rufus, 6. They happily live in "the yellow house" on New Dollar Street, which they rent. But as the book opens, the house is put up for sale, and they are all scared they will have to move. Although this is a running theme throughout the book, it is really a collection of light, cheerful short stories about events in the children's lives. ( )
  fingerpost | Jul 25, 2020 |
The Moffats by Eleanor Estes
Summary:
The story was written about the many crazy and often funny life events of the Moffats. It becomes historical realism as we look back into the turn of the 19th century and see into the heart of the nuclear family. Ann could be any American child living in any small-town America when transportation of supplies was done with one to four horse power depending on how many horses were available to pull your wagon. In one scene, we learn that the son lost five dollars and if not found in meant his mother would have to work overtime. He was devastated. Now it means you must wait a few minutes for your sibling to run over on their rip stick to the ATM and pull out a 20 to buy a coffee at Starbucks. The illustrations support the time period by consistently maintaining a setting with clothing, furnishings and activities that we could imagine was the dress and goings on in 1900 America. Her sketches done in charcoal make one feel the age of the time and Estes has the clothing details down to the button suspenders and a police officer that fits the period. Even activities like getting stuck in a bread crate are supported by images of clothing and materials used that would be accurate for the period. Imagine a time when crates were made of wood since there was no plastic.
Perrsonal Reaction:
A true classic holds the storyline as relevant and entertaining over time. This 60th edition children’s book certainly went above and beyond with Estes skillfully allowing the humor to draw in the reader as she expertly transports the reader back into the 19th century. Like all historical realism, setting is integral to creating a believable story of the time. I thoroughly enjoyed living with the Moffats as they live a normal life with the adventures that could be true to any family and solutions that live beyond their time maintaining relevance for children even now but with an innocence that was true to a time before cell phones, computers and television. When children could walk to the store unmolested and expect to walk home the same.
Classroom Extension Ideas
1. Teachers could use this story for its historical perspective and pair it with contemporary fiction like that seen in Leave Me Alone to provide readers an example of changes in family structure and the changing values since 1900 America.
2. On a week that promotes American History, children assigned to this story should be able to contrast how it would be different if they were the main character and the time was now emphasizing both the social and material changes.
3. As a special history day, the teacher could solicit the help for the local museum to have actors in the 1900 clothing available as the teacher presents this story with emphasis on the details of the integral setting. ( )
  jp942205 | Jul 16, 2017 |
Of course I loved this, several times, when I was a child. But when I saw a copy in the thrift store, I decided I had to read it again. It holds up and is still wonderfully charming.

I still don't like Slobodkin's pictures, though. They're necessary, now even more so, because today's kids can't guess what it means for, for example, a nine-year old child to hide in a bread box. But I'd love to see them redone. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Hardcover, first edition
  EllenBeu | Aug 11, 2015 |
My kids and I found this book delightful! We picked it up after my daughter read the divvying-up-the-kittens section in her writing curriculum (Writing with Ease, Volume 3 by Susan Wise Bauer...we've found so many great books through this curriculum!), and they lost interest for a couple of weeks once we'd made it past the kitten part, but we finished it this morning, and they give it high marks.

It's always interesting to me to see how much freedom children have in books written in earlier times. I can't imagine sending my kids out in the New England winter with a sled and a five-dollar bill to bring back a big bag of coal, and not just because our boiler uses piped-in natural gas.

I also found the section where the family were quarantined very interesting. It seems like people were much less sanguine about going ill to school/work back in the day. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Sep 27, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eleanor Estesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Slobodkin, LouisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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