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All of a Kind Family: Five Young Sisters in the turn of the 20th century

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It's the turn of the 20th century in New York's Lower East Side and sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five yong sisters - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa's peddler's shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything togeth It's the turn of the 20th century in New York's Lower East Side and sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five yong sisters - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa's peddler's shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all! Sydney Taylor has written many books for children, including the All-Of-A-Kind Family series: 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. Suzanne Toren has appeared on and off Broadway and in regional theaters throughout the country. She occasionally appears on television, most recently in "Law and Order." and has recorded hundreds of audiobooks. She was the recipient of the Narrator of the Year Award for her recordings of Talking Books for the Library of Congress and of the TORGI Award from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. File Format: M4B File Size: 101 Mb Length: 3 hrs 30 min (audio book download) Downloading from LoDingo is easy, safe & customer friendly... All audio books come in chapter format M4B for easy listening. No (DRM) file restrictions & Your audio books at LoDingo can never get lost or broken. They are always shelved in your download center at LoDingo and you can come back and instantly download them at any time.


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It's the turn of the 20th century in New York's Lower East Side and sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five yong sisters - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa's peddler's shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything togeth It's the turn of the 20th century in New York's Lower East Side and sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five yong sisters - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa's peddler's shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything together, especially when it involves holidays and surprises. But no one could have prepared them for the biggest surprise of all! Sydney Taylor has written many books for children, including the All-Of-A-Kind Family series: 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. Suzanne Toren has appeared on and off Broadway and in regional theaters throughout the country. She occasionally appears on television, most recently in "Law and Order." and has recorded hundreds of audiobooks. She was the recipient of the Narrator of the Year Award for her recordings of Talking Books for the Library of Congress and of the TORGI Award from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. File Format: M4B File Size: 101 Mb Length: 3 hrs 30 min (audio book download) Downloading from LoDingo is easy, safe & customer friendly... All audio books come in chapter format M4B for easy listening. No (DRM) file restrictions & Your audio books at LoDingo can never get lost or broken. They are always shelved in your download center at LoDingo and you can come back and instantly download them at any time.

30 review for All of a Kind Family: Five Young Sisters in the turn of the 20th century

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    As a kid the first chapter book I remember reading was All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. In the perfect historical fiction book, which later became a series, for Jewish girls, Taylor detailed the life of a family of five girls who lived in the tenements of the Lower East Side around the turn of the 20th century. I read the entire series so many times when I was growing up that I felt as though I was part of the family. When a challenge I entered called for a classic book I read as a child, As a kid the first chapter book I remember reading was All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. In the perfect historical fiction book, which later became a series, for Jewish girls, Taylor detailed the life of a family of five girls who lived in the tenements of the Lower East Side around the turn of the 20th century. I read the entire series so many times when I was growing up that I felt as though I was part of the family. When a challenge I entered called for a classic book I read as a child, I could not resist revisiting this story. Mama and Papa lived a life typical of first generation Jewish immigrants to New York. Papa works as a junk dealer and Mama is a prototypical housewife who runs her home to perfection. They are parents to five girls who are all two years apart in age: Ella, Henrietta (Henny), Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie. The family occupies a four room apartment, and, despite the hardships that come with being an immigrant family, live a comfortable life mixing Jewish and American traditions. In her first book in the series, Taylor takes her reader around the year to show what a traditional Jewish life was like at the time. As a girl, I always wanted to be Ella. She was the oldest and attempted to set herself apart from her sisters. Whether she was their spokesperson in front of adults or assisting their mother at home, Ella appeared special to me, both as an oldest sibling and as a person. She leads her sisters on adventures to the library, to buy a birthday present for their father, at the beach at Coney Island, and all the holiday celebrations. Growing up, I always found it exciting to read about a Jewish family and seeing how they lived when they first arrived in the United States. They observed the same traditions as I did, and, consequently, I wanted to revisit the book over and over, and I did, savoring the holiday traditional scenes the most. Each sister has a distinct personality: Henny as a tomboyish rascal, Sarah the sensitive middle child, Charlotte the dreamer, and Gertie the youngest who at 4 1/2 is still very much the baby of the family. All these personalities meld without much conflict, and Taylor weaves their adventure to form a near perfect family. Without the technology available today, the girls had to create their own adventure, whether to visit their father at his junk shop or making up games to play in bed. Even though the family did not have much for luxuries, it was a more wholesome life than today, and the girls always appeared happy with their station in life. Following All-of-a-Kind Family, Taylor wrote three more books in the series and later a stand alone book featuring Ella. I still own all of them, hoping that one of my daughters will love the books the way I did. This series remained my favorite comfort read growing up, even when the books were well below my reading level. Taylor created the ideal historical fiction series for Jewish girls, and these books have stood the test of time. I am delighted that I was able to revisit their lives again for a reading challenge, and I have an inkling that this will not be the last time that I travel back to early 20th century Lower East Side New York.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    A heart-warming, gently humorous and informative family story, and my one main regret is that I have only recently discovered Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family and its sequels. Wonderful, delightful episodes show the joys, the struggles and the close family and neighbourhood ties of a Jewish-American family in early 20th century New York City. I love how the different Jewish holidays, how Jewish cultural and religious traditions are depicted and shown throughout the story, informatively, but A heart-warming, gently humorous and informative family story, and my one main regret is that I have only recently discovered Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family and its sequels. Wonderful, delightful episodes show the joys, the struggles and the close family and neighbourhood ties of a Jewish-American family in early 20th century New York City. I love how the different Jewish holidays, how Jewish cultural and religious traditions are depicted and shown throughout the story, informatively, but with no hint of didacticism. And I especially appreciate how the all-of-a-kind family also shares their traditions with friends who are not Jewish, specifically Charlie and the Library Lady, who actually end up rekindling, rediscovering their romance, which had been thwarted by Charlie's bigoted and judgmental parents. In today's world, where multiculturalism, where different cultures are again so often under attack and scrutiny, All-of-a-Kind Family clerly and lovingly demonstrates that different cultures can not only exist and peacefully coexist in a country, in a city, in a neighbourhood, but that these different cultures can be and should be shared, that sharing one's cultural heritage leads to tolerance and increasing understanding (and that even though we might have different cultural and religious traditions, we are basically all quite similar in many ways). Recommended for anyone (both children and adults) who enjoys warm family tales, as well as anyone interested in learning about Jewish-American culture and traditions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    First re-read of this book in years uncountable. This is the book from which I first learned about the Jewish faith. As a little heathen child, I'd been dragged to various Christian churches by friends and cousins, and I knew (I thought) all about that religion which was boring, boring, boring. But this...nobody I knew ever built a little bitty house in their backyard. Or got to eat parsley dipped in salt water. I was fascinated. Not only was I a little heathen, I was also a little singleton. Re First re-read of this book in years uncountable. This is the book from which I first learned about the Jewish faith. As a little heathen child, I'd been dragged to various Christian churches by friends and cousins, and I knew (I thought) all about that religion which was boring, boring, boring. But this...nobody I knew ever built a little bitty house in their backyard. Or got to eat parsley dipped in salt water. I was fascinated. Not only was I a little heathen, I was also a little singleton. Reading this story of 5 close and loving sisters made me envious and amazed. Mama was patient, she was kind, she was wise, she was gentle. She was perfect! Papa was all those things, too, plus he had crinkly eye-corners when he smiled! And the pushcarts! The Library Lady! Dusting for buttons! Coney Is-land! I'm sure I read this book at least 30 times before I turned 14. I don't think I've read it since. I sank back into it with a sigh. They were all still there in New York in 1912, waiting for me. Only this time, I was different. I watched Mama, and I marveled. I know now that Taylor based this family on her own, and I wonder more about some of the stories. Mama worked so hard, so long, and was so incredibly patient. The family's poverty resonates more with me now, and I see what passes between Mama and Papa when they worry about money. And when 4 of the girls are down with Scarlet Fever? What must have gone through her mind that never showed? What about all that sewing? Five girls? That's a lot of little girls to raise on a junkman's iffy income. The picture painted with this book is full of depth and compassion and love. Taylor's writing appears effortless. The illustrations are lovely, too. It's a wonderful book. It evokes an era that's gone forever, and it does it without undue sentimentality and nostalgia. The hardship is right there for those with eyes to see, but so is the love. This family is a whole, functioning, happy family, and it's a delight to join it for an hour. In fact, I'm about to go read the rest of the series, so I'll be joining it for a few days. Lucky me. You should be so lucky. Also? The chick pea man! I love the chick pea man: "Arbis! Shaynicke, guttinke arbislach! Keuf meine heise arbis!"

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    What a wonderful, endearing, lovely read this was! The adventures of five little girls (Gertie, Charlotte, Sarah, Henny and Ella) aged between four and twelve living with their mama who looks after the home, and papa who runs a junk shop in the East Side in New York City. I shouldn’t perhaps say adventures, for really this is the story of their daily lives, the daily happenings, chores, trips to the library, the little ups and down, the joys and sorrows that life brings every day―but that in its What a wonderful, endearing, lovely read this was! The adventures of five little girls (Gertie, Charlotte, Sarah, Henny and Ella) aged between four and twelve living with their mama who looks after the home, and papa who runs a junk shop in the East Side in New York City. I shouldn’t perhaps say adventures, for really this is the story of their daily lives, the daily happenings, chores, trips to the library, the little ups and down, the joys and sorrows that life brings every day―but that in itself is an adventure and I loved every bit of it. The book opens with the girls heading off to the library on Friday, the day being ‘library day’ for them. That was enough to have me love it! But I loved it for so much more. For one, that the girls and their parents find happiness and contentment in what little they had; their means may have been modest but they lived life to the fullest within it and had their little pleasures with trips to the library, to the market, celebrating various festivals, even a day-out at Coney Island. This is something I feel one needs to remind oneself every so often, in a time when we are always wanting more no matter how much we have and are never satisfied―one doesn’t need to have much to be happy, just to appreciate all one has and enjoy it to the fullest rather than spending all one’s time brooding over all one hasn’t. (This aspect was very reminiscent of the Family at One End Street, and something I loved about that book too.) The other thing about this book I really loved was how rich it was in terms of showcasing culture. The beautiful detail in which Taylor describes Jewish festivals and observances makes one feel as if one is there with the family, watching the celebrations as they happen, listening to the sounds, and smelling the food (almost tasting it, even). And then of course the people themselves―none of the girls are really naughty as such, mostly well-behaved but they are all very real, very human and very likeable and I loved them all. I was so thrilled to learn that this is a series of books and there are four more I haven’t read. Really looking forward to these. It wouldn’t do to not mention the illustrations by Helen John which I also really liked very much. A delightful read- if I could have rated it more than five stars, I would have :) I know I will keep coming back to this one often.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Darling

    This is a series I reread every year. No one else has ever captured the early 1900's in the Jewish lower side of New York like this, and it's fascinating to read about the holidays and customs and everyday life that this little troop of girls experiences. I still wish I could walk through those streets teeming with peddlers selling big dill pickles, candied orange slices, and spiced chick peas! These books are great for those who love old-fashioned stories about growing up, like the Little House This is a series I reread every year. No one else has ever captured the early 1900's in the Jewish lower side of New York like this, and it's fascinating to read about the holidays and customs and everyday life that this little troop of girls experiences. I still wish I could walk through those streets teeming with peddlers selling big dill pickles, candied orange slices, and spiced chick peas! These books are great for those who love old-fashioned stories about growing up, like the Little House, Ginnie and Geneva, Betsy-Tacy, Moffats, or Beverly Cleary books. These authors understood that everyday life at home and in school held wonderful adventures and mysteries all their own.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    One of the best books ever. I love all the little girls and Mama and Papa and their friends and relatives. The setting is amazing, too. I kinda want to go there, even though it was probably a pretty hard life. :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I first read this book about 50 years ago (yes, I am dating myself) and the last time I read it was probably 49 years ago. I remember loving the book at the time but I think read it just the years I was 9 and 10, and I think I always read library copies. I am wondering if I even read it in third grade but I don’t remember for sure, so I’m sticking with my original read date, which was when I was in fourth grade. I did a reread, something I’ve long wanted to do, mostly because the Children's Books I first read this book about 50 years ago (yes, I am dating myself) and the last time I read it was probably 49 years ago. I remember loving the book at the time but I think read it just the years I was 9 and 10, and I think I always read library copies. I am wondering if I even read it in third grade but I don’t remember for sure, so I’m sticking with my original read date, which was when I was in fourth grade. I did a reread, something I’ve long wanted to do, mostly because the Children's Books group is reading it for one of their book clubs. (I feel so grateful to them; now that I’ve reread it I wish I’d done so years ago, and probably more than just once.) I reread this book from March 16, 2013 through March 17th, 2013. I guessed about the couple in question, even before the plot gave me the background or any hints, but probably didn’t as an 8-10 year old on first reading. I did want more about the two of them and their future, but I guess that’s what sequels are for. And this book did have a delightful ending. I love how close the sisters are, how thoughtful they are, how they play fair, and how each of their different personalities comes across (I’ve always been especially fond of Sarah, the middle daughter), and I appreciate the parenting they got too. It’s just a wonderful family. I envied the closeness of the family but was and remain a bit surprised that the girls’ child friends didn’t make any appearances; it was only family and adult family friends that showed up in the story. I love how Jewish holidays and traditions are seamlessly incorporated right into the story. Although I’m Jewish, my nuclear family never celebrated Jewish holidays, not at all. I went to a couple Passover seders at cousins’ and then when I was about 12 I learned and participated in two different friends’ Jewish family celebrations, but not on a completely regular basis. What’s funny is when I was young I read tenement and how money was dear so I thought of this family as poor, and I guess they are in a sense, but there was enough money to give each girl 1¢ a day in spending money, which is 35¢ a week, and that money could buy a lot back then, and they had enough for a few other extras too, so now they don’t seem particularly destitute or needy to me. I loved the library and the books portions of the story, and always have. There is some anachronistic material such as when describing men of different ethnic groups and the “freaks” at Coney Island, and the differences between girls and boys regarding interests, careers, and roles, but I accepted that. This was historical fiction even 50 years ago. The ink drawings are lovely and really add to the story. They help make it a perfect book for 7 or 8 though 10 year old chapter book reading kids but the story and characters can be enjoyed by everybody, which makes it an ideal book for read aloud, for one to one, for families for sure, and for teachers and students. Adults will enjoy the reading experience as much as the children do. I hated being an only child and always wanted a big family and at ages 9 and 10 it was sisters I wanted, so I know I got vicarious gratification from this and many other books about families. This is a perfect comfort read book and a lovely, fun, heartwarming, and old-fashioned yet timeless family story. Thanks to Goodreads friend Melody I know to read only 2 of the 4 sequels, and I do want to read both of them.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Deyanne

    I love to read good children's literature and this book of a bygone era (1912) was informative and charming. I was hoping this might be the book I would choose to read with my grade-school grandchildren this summer, but I am not sure if it would meet the diverse needs. I loved the family solidarity and I particularly enjoyed the traditional religious observances. If I do choose this for the summer, I would look for a book on Jewish traditions with pictures to share with the children. I would lik I love to read good children's literature and this book of a bygone era (1912) was informative and charming. I was hoping this might be the book I would choose to read with my grade-school grandchildren this summer, but I am not sure if it would meet the diverse needs. I loved the family solidarity and I particularly enjoyed the traditional religious observances. If I do choose this for the summer, I would look for a book on Jewish traditions with pictures to share with the children. I would like them to have a broader understanding of different cultures, places and even times. Yesterday while tending two grandchildren ages almost four and six, I read them the first two chapters of this book. They were very engaged with the first chapter and couldn't understand how children could not own their own books. The little girl, six, loved the second chapter with bright buttons and dusting, but her brother left in the middle to find toys. What a nice teaching tool it provided for us to talk about the value of a penny and that a family could be happy even if they were not affluent. Now it goes to a granddaughter age nine who will read it to her six year old sister. It is definitely worth sharing, and I will be very interested in their response. Will all of the religious observances and the different food be too much? Who knows? Thanks to Brina for suggesting it and to Beth for helping me to find a copy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Grace Grzy

    All of a Kind Family is just so amazing! Such a sweet story of a Jewish family living in the early 1900s. So sweet and innocent. I remember reading it when I was younger and loving it, and was beyond excited when I found out it was a series. The five little girls are so adorable. Their personalities are so unique and different, yet they get along so well. A must must read for pretty much anyone! Especially girls. 6 out of 5 stars! ;)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hilary

    I am so suprised this book (appears to me ) to be unheard of in the UK. It took some trouble and cost quite a lot finding a copy, but so glad we did. A beautiful book describing daily life of a close Jewish immigrant family. We loved the adventures of these sisters. Having lived in Israel, the descriptions of Jewish festivals brought back happy memories of time spent with friends. The descriptions of the festivals and their meaning for the family, illustrates how humans seem to benefit from ritu I am so suprised this book (appears to me ) to be unheard of in the UK. It took some trouble and cost quite a lot finding a copy, but so glad we did. A beautiful book describing daily life of a close Jewish immigrant family. We loved the adventures of these sisters. Having lived in Israel, the descriptions of Jewish festivals brought back happy memories of time spent with friends. The descriptions of the festivals and their meaning for the family, illustrates how humans seem to benefit from rituals celebrating points throughout the year, and how beneficial they are whether made up or from religious reasons. We liked the day to day details of games played, food eaten etc. We marvelled at how the fire engine was pulled by horses. We found it confusing how poverty was assessed. Nobody they knew could afford to own a book, something we all take for granted these days. But they owned a piano and it seems that several of the girls had lessons. We have to run a stall selling vegetables to raise money for music lessons. Perhaps they cost less in comparison a hundred years ago. We found it fascinating that although written over a century ago there is still much of the story that would be the same if it were written today. My daughter said it would be in her top 5 books of all time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    I love, LOVE this series! If you want something fun and engaging to read to your family, you'll certainly want to check these out. The children are all wonderfully enjoyable and they learn some valuable lessons along the way. You'll discover what New York City was like at the turn of the century and experience many Jewish costums too. Ages: 5 - 12 Cleanliness: Children's Bad Words Mild Obscenities and Substitutions - 1 Incident: heck Name Calling - 2 Incidents: slowpoke, foolish Religious Profanity - I love, LOVE this series! If you want something fun and engaging to read to your family, you'll certainly want to check these out. The children are all wonderfully enjoyable and they learn some valuable lessons along the way. You'll discover what New York City was like at the turn of the century and experience many Jewish costums too. Ages: 5 - 12 Cleanliness: Children's Bad Words Mild Obscenities and Substitutions - 1 Incident: heck Name Calling - 2 Incidents: slowpoke, foolish Religious Profanity - 2 Incidents: gosh Attitudes/Disobedience - 5 Incidents: Bad attitude/getting out of school: "All right, then. I'll have a swell excuse when the teacher asks me why I haven't finished my homework. I'll say my mother took up all my time with dusting." Anger/Unforgiving: Two friends are always fighting. The one girl says she's not going to be glad about their friendship ever again. When her sister says she'll have to forgive at Yom Kippur, the little girl says that's a long ways off. Bad attitude while obeying: "Henny pouted. She stamped her feet" while she did the dishes. A little girl doesn't want to eat her food: "I'll choke on it if I eat it, ... I don't want it. I don't want it!" Her voice rose higher and she got stubborn about not eating it. Jealousy: The youngest girl is upset when her mother has a baby because she's not the "baby" any longer. Conversation Topics - 7 Incidents: Men sit around chewing tobacco. Mama grabs red wine for them to drink during the Sabbath meal. Papa and everyone drinks wine for the Sabbath. Snuff: "It was a mingled smell of tabac, a snuff used freely by the older members of the congregation. The family drinks wine for the first Seder night. The family drinks wine for the first Seder night. "Charlie quarreled with his parents about a girl he wanted to marry. They wanted him to marry another girl. Charlie's girl learned that his parents opposed their marriage, and she just went away." ... Charlie was very angry at his parents and left home, left his career, old friends, and changed his name. For a full cleanliness report, which includes Romance and Parent Takeaway, visit my website. I have hundreds of other detailed reports too, and I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liza Fireman

    All-of-a-kind family is a set of short stories, oh, and it is so very dated. My daughter actually loved it much more than I did. Maybe I am way too used to having a point when telling stories, and this one was much of the day-to-day of a Jewish family. From taking books from the library, getting sick or cleaning the house, most stories are fine, but that is it. Each chapter is its own, telling about a different situation and finished without having much of a storyline. It is overall cute, girls t All-of-a-kind family is a set of short stories, oh, and it is so very dated. My daughter actually loved it much more than I did. Maybe I am way too used to having a point when telling stories, and this one was much of the day-to-day of a Jewish family. From taking books from the library, getting sick or cleaning the house, most stories are fine, but that is it. Each chapter is its own, telling about a different situation and finished without having much of a storyline. It is overall cute, girls that are saving money (and the prices are funny), getting stuff for papa's birthday, or playing in Purim. The relationships between the five girls are interesting. I do not think that anybody would publish such a book today, with a simple story about a soup tantrum, or cleaning the house. But I guess it is part of the magic, how old and dated it is. 3 stars.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Luann

    All-of-a-Kind Family is another book I would have loved when I was younger - such a nice, wholesome story. I probably would have had to rush right out and find all of the All-of-a-Kind books. I still enjoyed the book very much reading it for the first time as an adult, and wouldn't mind reading more of them sometime. I really liked that although the family was poor, they were very happy and their lack of "things" wasn't a huge issue for them like it is in some stories. I also really enjoyed read All-of-a-Kind Family is another book I would have loved when I was younger - such a nice, wholesome story. I probably would have had to rush right out and find all of the All-of-a-Kind books. I still enjoyed the book very much reading it for the first time as an adult, and wouldn't mind reading more of them sometime. I really liked that although the family was poor, they were very happy and their lack of "things" wasn't a huge issue for them like it is in some stories. I also really enjoyed reading about the celebration of several Jewish holidays, with some details (especially surrounding Succos) that I had never known before. And I especially liked the library lady who kept making an appearance!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Allison Tebo

    Mini review. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had read this when I was small and been less aware of the slightly stilted dialogue and characterization – but nevertheless, a sweet little book and fascinating look into the daily lives of Jewish family around the turn of the century. Definitely a book that I would share with young readers!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    One of the great delights of my childhood, Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books were some of my absolute favorites as a girl, and I have read and reread them countless times over the years. Unlike some readers, they didn't serve as my introduction to Judaism - my father sat on a number of ecumenical and interfaith councils, and my first experience of Jewish religious tradition was probably the Passover Seder we attended at the home of a rabbi friend of his, when I was very young - but they One of the great delights of my childhood, Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family books were some of my absolute favorites as a girl, and I have read and reread them countless times over the years. Unlike some readers, they didn't serve as my introduction to Judaism - my father sat on a number of ecumenical and interfaith councils, and my first experience of Jewish religious tradition was probably the Passover Seder we attended at the home of a rabbi friend of his, when I was very young - but they did give me a serious case of Purim envy. Honestly - what child wouldn't want to partake of a holiday in which you're allowed to dress up in costumes, encouraged to make noise, and given lots of treats? I have this vivid memory of accompanying my mother to the city on one of those "take your child to work" days, and passing a branch of the New York Public Library that had a copy of Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family on display in the window. Having had, until that moment, no idea that there even was a fifth story about this marvelous family, I was simply beside myself with excitement (even then, the NYPL was a place of magic) and made my mother march in at once and check it out for me. Ah, what a day that was... All of which is to say, I simply adore these books. They are a treasured artifact of my childhood, but they are also phenomenally good books, in as far as I am able to judge these things objectively. The story of a loving Jewish family living in New York City's Lower East Side in the early years of the 20th century, they chronicle both the everyday occurrences and the special occasions (whether religious or secular) that make up their world. This first one is so familiar to me, that I have only to look at the cover, and I can instantly call to mind the opening of the book, in which Ella, Henny, Charlotte and Gertie wait impatiently for slowpoke Sarah to get home, so they can all go to the library. As someone who went to the library every week as well, my childhood self entered immediately into this story of girls so like me, and yet also unlike me. I could probably list all the chapters from memory - the one with the button game (got to get those girls to dust properly!), the one with the candy and cracker-eating in bed, the Purim one (naturally), the one where everyone but Henny gets Scarlet Fever, the one at Coney Island, the one where Charlie and his long-lost lady love are reunited (sigh!) under the Sukkah - although I might not string them together in quite the correct order. Memorable, entertaining, heartwarming, informative - these stories have it all! Even the artwork, contributed here by illustrator Helen John, is dear to me. Having now reread All-of-a-Kind Family for at least the hundredth time - I have decided to revisit the series, in order to read the newly published picture-book, All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah - I can confirm that it holds up as well as it ever has, and is every bit as superb as I remembered it to be. Recommended to anyone who enjoys well-written family stories, engaging historical fiction, fiction featuring Jewish children, vintage girls' books - in short, good reads, full stop!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Charming, sweet, heartwarming and thoughtful! This entire series is a gem. The family is so sweet, so tight-knit. While the book is a pure pleasure to read simply because you will love the family so much, it's also interesting from a historical/social standpoint to read about early 1900s America and this Jewish family's experience.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    Hurrah! A Jewish tenement family in turn-of-the-century LES New York. My Mom can distinctly remember being in fourth grade, in her little bedroom in their trailer in Kentucky, reading this book while her Dad called her to come to dinner. If only for that, I would love this book, but it turns out the book is TOTALLY charming.

  18. 5 out of 5

    CLM

    What a fabulous book! How many girls like me learned about Judaism from these books? I think it is still a great choice to read aloud or give to girls from 6 to 10. Here is a link to my review: http://perfectretort.blogspot.com/201...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deb

    These books are underappreciated! In my mind they rank with the Little House books - every little girl should read them!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Lynn

    TOTALLY LOVED THIS BOOK! oh my goodness! One of the best children's level chapter books ever! I have read it more than 5 times including read-aloud's to my younger siblings. Such a sweet, adorable story full of rich detail about Jewish families in the 1900's.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pili

    This is yet another book that I've read and loved thanks to the very awesome ladies at The Midnight Garden. As another of their middle grade challenge read-along books, this is a new discovery for me and yet again, a lovely lil gem! All-of-a-kind family is the kind of lil story that would really help children see how different things were quite a few years back, and it works the same way with adults. Every description felt so genuine, so well done, and nothing in the narrative, not the descriptio This is yet another book that I've read and loved thanks to the very awesome ladies at The Midnight Garden. As another of their middle grade challenge read-along books, this is a new discovery for me and yet again, a lovely lil gem! All-of-a-kind family is the kind of lil story that would really help children see how different things were quite a few years back, and it works the same way with adults. Every description felt so genuine, so well done, and nothing in the narrative, not the descriptions of how the girls had to save their pennies for the dad's birthday or how the way some meals were reserved only as treats for certain days, nothing was written in the "woe is me" kinda way, but simply as a fact that it was like that. A family of limited means making the most of everything they had! I knew I was going to love the book since it started with the five sisters going to the library! I could relate with Sarah's anguish of not finding her book! That has been a recurring nightmare for me, and it's been a looong time since I've taken books from the library! But as a young girl the library was one of my most favourite places to go, roam around and find my next read! I loved the every day happenings of the family and the wonderful descriptions on the book. How each of the girls were their own person but never felt like they were too much of a stereotype! I loved their joy at finding books and at buying and making the most delightful games of eating their penny candy at night! One of the episodes I felt that rang more closely to my own childhood was the one about Mama's rules about the food and how when Sarah refused to eat her soup, she wouldn't be given anything else to eat. That was pretty much my mother's rule, "if you don't eat this for lunch, you'll have it for dinner and if not, for breakfast". Only once I refused to eat my lentils for lunch, and let me tell you, lumpy re-heat lentils for dinner, I do not recommend! I loved how it portrayed the view from both the obstinate child that wants to give in but doesn't and the mother that worries but can't back down! Another wonderful thing about this book is the descriptions of all the Jewish traditions and holidays and how the family included other non-Jewish people in their life and included them in their celebrations, like the library lady and Charlie! Every reference to them as gentiles seemed casual and never implied as a good or bad thing, simply what it was and that it was okay. I might have been a lil bothered with some tiny things, like the importance of the girls learning to be good housewives, but I cannot fault the book given its age! It compensated with the immense love of the girls for books, so I forgave that. A most delightful read, even after all these years since it was written! Very well deserved 4 stars!!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Herod

    What a delightful read! Although this book was published in 1951, the year after I had started school, I had only read references to it or excerpts from it, until my 8-year-old granddaughter highly recommended it. She loved Ella, Henny, Charlotte, Sarah, and Gertie, the five girls in Sydney Taylor's family that is "close and loving and loyal," where harmony prevails, where faith is lived out in every aspect of life, where life is an adventure. My granddaughters love going to the library, just li What a delightful read! Although this book was published in 1951, the year after I had started school, I had only read references to it or excerpts from it, until my 8-year-old granddaughter highly recommended it. She loved Ella, Henny, Charlotte, Sarah, and Gertie, the five girls in Sydney Taylor's family that is "close and loving and loyal," where harmony prevails, where faith is lived out in every aspect of life, where life is an adventure. My granddaughters love going to the library, just like these girls do. I recall that same excitement when the bookmobile came to our elementary school. And I shared their love of books, old or new, both as a child and now. Taylor wrote a five book series about this family, published over a period of 20 years. This series was the most widely known stories about Jewish children during the last five decades. Helen John's charming illustrations add a lovely visual element, capturing vignettes of daily life. Francine Prose's Introduction lures the reader into the uniqueness of this family. As she makes her own connections with the girls and their reactions to their life experiences, she also asserts that the book is "a hymn . . . to the ordinary pleasures of daily life. Everything, no matter how small, is an adventure for these girls, and their parents, especially Mama, are extraordinarily skilled at investing the mundane with the marvelous." She goes on to say that "the book is a vision of family life at its best, of the ways in which imagination, energy, creativity, inspiration--and of course, love--can transform the most routine moment into something memorable and precious." This story extols the family and home with its simple pleasures and surprises, yet with little extra money to spare for luxuries--without television, computers, video games, smart phones. Family, faith, and friends are the values around which life happily rotates.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    A nice, quiet read for another sleepless night, this story of a Jewish family on the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century puts the "chapter" in "chapter book"--in the sense that each chapter can be read as a unit. That's my one complaint; there isn't really a unifying thread, or if there is, it feels chopped off at the end of each chapter, and the following one begins a completely different vignette with little to no sense of flow. The Gentile romance thread felt shoehorned in. In A nice, quiet read for another sleepless night, this story of a Jewish family on the Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century puts the "chapter" in "chapter book"--in the sense that each chapter can be read as a unit. That's my one complaint; there isn't really a unifying thread, or if there is, it feels chopped off at the end of each chapter, and the following one begins a completely different vignette with little to no sense of flow. The Gentile romance thread felt shoehorned in. Interesting, particularly if the reader wants to learn about Jewish customs and holidays in a bitesize, family-oriented format. Tt would work as a family read-aloud. But, I dunno--there just seemed to be something missing. It didn't feel like a novel so much as a patchwork of scenes. Granted, I finished this at 5 AM, perhaps I was predisposed to be annoyed by the "oh goody we finally have a boy after all those useless girls!" thing. It might be a knee-jerk reaction on my part, having been the last in a large family that really wanted another boy instead of what they got, which was me. Maybe the next installment will fill in some of the gaps for me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christina DeVane

    What a fun book for younger girls probably starting at age 8. I would have loved these as a kid, but I still enjoyed it as an adult. 5 sisters growing up in New York City in the early 1900s. I love this era and they are a Jewish family so I liked reading about all their feasts and celebrations. Fun, relaxing read and the ending was super cute.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia Egbert

    I adored the opportunity to fall in love with this family and to get a glimpse into the grand life they carve for themselves in a rundown Brooklyn tenement. I love women like this mother that make me want to be more grounded and calm and solid for my children and others around me. And these sweet girls who have such a clear understanding of right and wrong and honesty. I just appreciated the short time I got to spend away in their world. This particular image that the author created was my favour I adored the opportunity to fall in love with this family and to get a glimpse into the grand life they carve for themselves in a rundown Brooklyn tenement. I love women like this mother that make me want to be more grounded and calm and solid for my children and others around me. And these sweet girls who have such a clear understanding of right and wrong and honesty. I just appreciated the short time I got to spend away in their world. This particular image that the author created was my favourite: "The children stood around the table watching her. A lovely feeling of peace and contentment seemed to flow out form Mama to them. First she put a napkin on her head; then placing four white candles in the brass candlesticks, she lit them. She extended her arms to form a circle. Over the lighted candles the encircling gesture was repeated. After that Mama covered her eyes with her hands, softly murmuring a prayer in Hebrew. Thus was the Sabbath ushered in. The children lined up before Papa. He placed his hand on each child's head, asking God's blessing for his little one. When the ceremony was over, Papa left for the synagogue." There is something so beautiful to me in the rituals, no matter what religious sect is performing them, they are all just beautiful.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Skylar Burris

    This children’s novel, set in the early nineteen hundreds in New York City, follows a year in the life of an orthodox Jewish family with five daughters. It provides a good overview to most of the Jewish holidays and was a good way of introducing my daughter to Jewish customs. (She kept asking me, however, why only the dad went to synagogue, and I wasn’t sure of the answer.) I personally didn’t find it very interesting; it’s slow-paced and not written in a particularly alluring style, and, on the This children’s novel, set in the early nineteen hundreds in New York City, follows a year in the life of an orthodox Jewish family with five daughters. It provides a good overview to most of the Jewish holidays and was a good way of introducing my daughter to Jewish customs. (She kept asking me, however, why only the dad went to synagogue, and I wasn’t sure of the answer.) I personally didn’t find it very interesting; it’s slow-paced and not written in a particularly alluring style, and, on the heels of so much Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis, it seemed rather bland, but it’s a great book for young girls, because it deals with so many of their little everyday trials, the small problems and concerns that loom so large for them. It’s something to which a young girl can relate, and my daughter enjoyed having it read to her. We will probably be reading another one of the novels in the series sometime in the future. Even my almost-four-year-old son liked listening in to it from time to time, and my ten-year-old nephew listened to a chapter while we were visiting, so there must be something appealing about this book to modern children.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    I don't often read children's novels, but All-of-a-Kind-Family is both a classic and a wonderful story about history, friendship and growing up in New York. There are so many classics about growing up in rural areas and on farms, but very few that take place in an urban setting like this one.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    We just enjoyed this book too much not to give it five stars. Full review here: http://www.sunlitpages.com/2016/11/al...

  29. 5 out of 5

    ambyr

    I read this because it was a childhood favorite of mine, and it lives up to my nostalgia, being a charming portrait (with charming illustrations) of 1910s Jewish life on the Lower East Side. I loved it as a kid particularly because it was about kids like me (namely, Jews) and I still love it for that; the holidays here are my holidays, and in particular there's a moment early in the book where it says, casually, that it's the last week of December and a really exciting day is coming up: the 5th I read this because it was a childhood favorite of mine, and it lives up to my nostalgia, being a charming portrait (with charming illustrations) of 1910s Jewish life on the Lower East Side. I loved it as a kid particularly because it was about kids like me (namely, Jews) and I still love it for that; the holidays here are my holidays, and in particular there's a moment early in the book where it says, casually, that it's the last week of December and a really exciting day is coming up: the 5th of January, Papa's birthday. And of course for most of American there is another far more exciting day that happens in the last week of December, but that day does not matter for these characters any more than it mattered for me. I certainly encountered a lot of "yeah, they have Christmas, but we have CHANUKAH!" moments in my childhood reading, but sometimes it's soothing to see the majority holiday not just trumped but completely ignored. It was also interesting to read side by side with All the Single Ladies, because of course so much of it is focused on marriage and home life and expectations for women in its particular era (and also arguable in the era that Taylor was writing, namely the 1950s). There's a line toward the end of All-of-a-Kind Family that perfectly demonstrates what Traister describes as traditional attitudes toward single women in All the Single Ladies: "She was Mama's widowed sister and earned her own living by working in a factory, but she was ever ready to give up her job when she was needed." I also found myself reflecting back on the bit in All the Single Ladies where the author talks about her grandmother's "obsessive" cleaning schedule of scrubbing the floors 3 times a week, and how this was a sign she was unfulfilled in her life as housewife; here, Mama has her girls dust the almost-never-used front parlor every day, and that's not a sign of anything except normal domestic life. It makes me wonder how much we project our own expectations back into the past, and how much we can really know about anyone's internal life. And, finally, it's interesting in that light to read about the real lives of the All-of-a-Kind family girls: all went on to marry, eschewing or abandoning careers for lives as housewives (Taylor herself was a professional dancer for ten years and walked away from it as soon as she had a daughter)--but none replicated the giant family of their youth, either; most had only one child, a couple had two. I wonder whether that was by choice or by accident, and how their childhoods and the expectations of their era played into it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Westminster Library

    All of a Kind Family is a sweet story of a family of five young girls living in NY’s Lower East Side. I loved the richness of family, the beautiful Jewish traditions the family observes and the day to day creativity the girls have in keeping themselves busied. The story line gives a refreshing break from overstimulating electronic devices to the simplicity of family life of 100 years ago. The author uses a deep vocabularly to create her story. Find All of A Kind Family at the Westminster Public L All of a Kind Family is a sweet story of a family of five young girls living in NY’s Lower East Side. I loved the richness of family, the beautiful Jewish traditions the family observes and the day to day creativity the girls have in keeping themselves busied. The story line gives a refreshing break from overstimulating electronic devices to the simplicity of family life of 100 years ago. The author uses a deep vocabularly to create her story. Find All of A Kind Family at the Westminster Public Library!

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