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Review: All-of-a-Kind Family

November 8, 2009

All-of-a-Kind Family

A young couple lived on New York’s East Side at the turn of the twentieth century.  They had five girls aged twelve to four.  Papa owned a junk shop, so the family didn’t have much money.  They spent their days much like a typical family – the children went to school and the library, resisted doing chores and refused to eat certain foods.  The girls were sweet and enjoyed holidays, surprises and each other’s company, and boy, do they get a fun surprise!

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor was written in 1951 and reminded me of the books of my youth.  The stories and characters are sweet and a little simple.  There are a few things that are offensive by today’s standards, but probably weren’t at the time the book was written.

For me, the best part of this book is that the family (their last name is never revealed) is Jewish. Because of this, readers learn some things about the Jewish faith such as the meanings of several Jewish holidays.  I even learned something since I wasn’t familiar with the holiday of Succos and how it is celebrated.  I think it’s fantastic when readers can gain knowledge from a work of fiction.

shelfdiscoverytileadThis was my second book for the Shelf Discovery Challenge and I enjoyed it, but I wonder if it’s sophisticated enough for the young girls of today.  All-of-a-Kind Family is the first in a series of books based on the author’s childhood.  The Sydney Taylor Book Award was established by her husband after her death.

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2009 6:18 am

    I did not read this book as a child, but it looks so sweet, and it sounds like you really enjoyed it! I have one ARC I have to read, then I am going to go on a Shelf Discovery rampage. I’ve ordered quite a few of the books from the library (plus I have a few at home). I am so looking forward to a trip back in time!

  2. November 8, 2009 6:35 am

    It does sound like an interesting book. I wonder if young readers today would find it so.

  3. sandysays1 permalink
    November 8, 2009 7:05 am

    Reading works like the one you’ve reviewed is so important to understanding the human experience. Learning how we saw ourselves as time progressed, enlightens our world today, don’t you think. My human’s granddaughter, asked him about reading for a year. He suggested 3 books written from each 10 year period starting in 1850. (Took him a while.) Watching our own evolution expands the mind so much, as long as one uses balance not agenda to choose the works.

  4. November 8, 2009 8:25 am

    I’ve read about these books on several blogs and remember reading (and loving) them myself as a child, probably in the very early ’70s. Unfortunately I don’t find that my daughter loves many of the same books I did, and she surely doesn’t read them as quickly as I did.

  5. November 8, 2009 8:37 am

    You are moving right along in this challenge awesome! I think you make a good point about how youth has changed, it would be interesting for someone in the book’s true target audience to read it and give perspective.

  6. November 8, 2009 8:54 am

    I LOVED this book as a child. The fact that there were five girls (I am one of four) was something that I was able to identify with.

  7. November 8, 2009 9:10 am

    This sounds like a very sweet book. I’ve never read it.

  8. November 8, 2009 9:39 am

    I have noticed that whenever books feature large families headed by someone named “Papa” they tend to be really heartwarming and good! Sounds like this is no exception!

  9. Julie H. permalink
    November 8, 2009 9:53 am

    This series was one of my favorites as a kid. I agree, not sure how today’s techo-filled kids would like it, yet there are still plenty of kids reading the likes of Little House.

  10. November 8, 2009 9:59 am

    I’ve not heard of this one. I must have missed it the first time around. It sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review; I love the Shelf Discovery challenge 🙂

  11. November 8, 2009 11:32 am

    This is one child’s book I’ve missed, but it does sound lovely. I think I’m going to enjoy your experience with the Shelf Discovery Challenge.

  12. November 8, 2009 11:38 am

    I have not heard of this book but it looks like a nice little read.

    Yay for you already being finished with your second book for the challenge! I am finally starting on my first book. I’m only participating in 3 challenges right now but I am slacking with organizing the books I need to read.

  13. November 8, 2009 12:04 pm

    You are so dear, and so reliable, with your challenges. I feel like I am cheating, reading along with you.

  14. November 8, 2009 12:45 pm

    This is one I haven’t even heard of before. I wish I would have had the time to join this challenge, but I couldn’t add any more challenges that didn’t somehow incorporate books that I already plan to read.

  15. November 8, 2009 1:27 pm

    I have such fond memories of this series – it’s on my list for Shelf Discovery, too! Had you read this when you were younger, too, Kathy?

  16. November 8, 2009 1:39 pm

    I loved this book as a child–sequels, too! You are so right: it is a lovely way to learn without formally “learning” and the books are heartwarming (now I want to read them again…sigh). Thank you for this!

  17. stacybuckeye permalink
    November 8, 2009 1:55 pm

    We have quite a few Jewish families on our street and they always invite all of us neighbors to celebrate succos with them. I love that!

  18. November 8, 2009 2:08 pm

    I wasn’t familiar with this book at all. I’ll be anxious to see if Booking Daughter thinks it’s still pertinent today. She loves reading books about the past (like the American Girl books) so I’m betting she’ll like this one!

  19. November 8, 2009 2:13 pm

    I’ve never heard of this book before but find that sometimes these sweet stories can renew my faith in life in general. The opportunity to learn a bit more about Jewish culture is appealing to me also. I work out at a Jewish Community Center and know so little about the Jewish religion or culture.

  20. November 8, 2009 3:47 pm

    I loved this book when I was young. It felt like it was written decades earlier.

  21. November 8, 2009 5:25 pm

    I don’t think I’d come across this book before I saw it mentioned in Shelf Discovery itself – thanks for the review! You’re really making headway on that challenge…I need to get moving on it :-).

  22. November 8, 2009 8:05 pm

    I loved this series when I was young. So glad you enjoyed it.

  23. November 8, 2009 8:20 pm

    I always enjoy learning new things!!

  24. November 8, 2009 8:26 pm

    I loved this book when I was a girl!

  25. November 8, 2009 8:44 pm

    This sounds like a book I’d enjoy. I’ll add it to my list.

  26. November 8, 2009 10:34 pm

    I think it would be a great story to read. I had not heard of it.

  27. November 9, 2009 12:47 am

    Hi Kathy, this is the first time I come across this book and it sounds like a great story. I hope to find this book where I live.

  28. November 9, 2009 10:52 am

    It may be a little too sweet for my daughter, but I love that it talks about Jewish holidays. I know so little about the Jewish faith.

  29. November 9, 2009 1:05 pm

    I have a friend who insists that I read this book, and I’m not sure, but I think there are also sequels out there. It sounds like a really quaint and fold fashioned read, and I haven’t read many books that fall into that category. Thanks for the great review, I think I need to pick this one up.

  30. November 10, 2009 9:31 am

    This sounds like a sweet book! Thanks for the review.

  31. November 10, 2009 8:07 pm

    I haven’t heard of this one, but it sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll check it out and see if The Girl would be interested. Thanks for the review!

  32. Carly permalink
    November 10, 2009 9:10 pm

    I don’t think I can count toward the youngsters-of-today generation, but I’m still really young, and All-of-a-Kind Family was one of my favorite books as a kid. (Actually, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown was my absolute favorite.) I think kids with wild imaginations will still love it – it’s a totally different world with TONS of fodder for playing pretend afterwards! Then again, my mother made sure my reading list was pretty well balanced – I got to read all the fluffy popular stuff but I also read older books like Betsy-Tacy, Sarah With an H, and the Borrowers (which was my Favorite Book Ever until Peter Pan took that slot.)

  33. November 10, 2009 10:15 pm

    I loved this series when I was young, I’m so glad that you liked it Kathy! I also loved learning about the Jewish holidays and traditions and I really liked reading about kids who were growing up in the city (as a kid growing up in the ‘burbs).

  34. November 11, 2009 4:09 am

    I didn’t know about this one when i was young. Sounds like a cute book. But I wonder what is offensive in this one?

  35. November 11, 2009 10:17 am

    This was one of my favorite books as a child and it holds up when I have re-read it as an adult. I love the Jewish faith and culture woven into the story, as well as the details of the place and times where the story occurs. The sequels are also worth reading.

  36. November 11, 2009 10:24 am

    Oh, I loved this book growing up. I found it, as you said, simple, but that’s just the point; it’s about the simple beauties in little girls’ lives. It brings back many fond memories. 🙂

  37. November 11, 2009 10:23 pm

    I loved this series as a kid! I’m curious to know what the things are you mention are offensive by today’s standards — 20 years ago, at least, I didn’t notice them! Times change quickly, I guess.

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