by Elizabeth Enright
Asking me to choose a favorite book from this series would be like asking me to choose a favorite Melendy: it could be done, but it would be painful, and I'd really rather not have to. But I have to admit that The Four-story Mistake
is definitely high on the list. The Saturdays
is a wonderful introduction to the Melendys and Cuffy and Willy Sloper, but with the Melendys move from New York City to the country we begin the real business of the series. (Don't ask me what that is. I don't know. It just sounded like a nice phrase.)
At the beginning of this book the Melendy children are saying goodbye to their home as they prepare to go with Cuffy (nurse, housekeeper and friend) to their new house. I love the opening:
"'Well, thank goodness there aren't gong to be any more children here anyway!' said Randy crossly. She spoke crossly because she was sad and she preferred sounding cross to sounding sorrowful, even though there was no one in the room except herself. Nobody and nothing, for that matter: her words had the particular ringing echo that is heard only in entirely empty rooms."
I love Mona, who's the oldest like me, and Rush, who's the kind of big brother I don't have but like. I love Randy, who's my favorite if you really make me tell you, and I love Oliver, because he makes me laugh. I love the Four-story Mistake too, with all of its secrets and exciting discoveries. These are wonderful books, and I'm so glad that I grew up on them like I did. They're sweet without being saccharine; that kind of sweet that works because it's also real.
Book source: public library
Book information: Henry Holt, 1942 (originally)