Friday, August 27, 2010

Flashback Friday

Remember this post where I said I'd be posting reviews of some of my favorite childhood book series? Well here's the first of hopefully many. We're going to be talking about...

The All-of-a-Kind Family Series by Sydney Taylor
Similar to the Betsy-Tacy Series these books tell the story of the author's life growing up in the early 1900s. Except there's a few major difference between the two. First the books take place in New York City (instead of Minnesota), and the All-of-a-Kind family is Jewish.

The reason for their name is that when the series starts there are 5 sisters with 2 years between each of their ages, and they all dress alike (at least at the start). The from oldest to youngest are Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie. (Sarah the middle child is the author herself.) At the start of the series Ella is 12 and Gertie is 4, and by the end Ella is around 19. There's 5 books in the series and in order they're All-of-a-Kind Family, All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown, More All-of-a-Kind Family,All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, and Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family. (It actually took me a while to make sure that was right when I just reread them. The reason being that while All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown is second in terms of the girls' ages, it was actually the 4th book published.)

One thing I really enjoy about the book is the chapters alternate between the narrator. That way you're really able to connect with each of the all-of-a-kind children instead of just one or two. But what I love most of all about this books is probably the fact that the family is Jewish. I love reading about how the celebrate all the different holidays. It's always interesting to compare the difference between how I celebrated them during my childhood almost 100 years later, but even more so are all the similarities.

This is another series where I feel like I'm the only one whose ever read it, but I know that's not the case. The main reason being that there's actually a Sidney Taylor award given the the best Jewish children's literature every year. I guess maybe the more accurate thought is that not many people my age have read them, but I'm sure they were bigger back in the 1950s when they were originally published.

Has anyone else ever read or heard of these books? Or are they the type of book you think you would have enjoyed reading when you were growing up?



  1. I've never heard of these but I would have loved them growing up!

  2. You're not alone.

    Oh my goodness. All-of-A-Kind-Family was one of my favorites growing up.

    The copy we have is dog-eared because I reread it so many times.

    I love when they go to the market and buy pickles...and hiding buttons to be found during dusting, my mom actually did that once to entice me to dust.