Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Saturdays

Levi and I savored this entertaining book about the four Melendy siblings. The children live in New York City with their father and their housekeeper, Cuffy. Mona is thirteen, Rush is twelve, and Miranda (always called Randy) is ten-and-a-half. Oliver is the baby at just six years old. The book was originally published in 1941. The Saturdays is the first of the four books Elizabeth Enright wrote about the Melendy children and tells the story of their Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club (I.S.A.A.C.).

I was once again amazed at the independence, responsibility, resourcefulness, creativity, camaraderie, and knowledge displayed by children of this era. While I am completely aware that this is a fictional novel, the times have definitely changed. The three older children all ventured out into the city, one at a time. Randy (the artist and dancer) went to an art show, Rush (the musician) took in an opera, and Mona (an aspiring actress) had her hair done by a hairdresser with a villainous smile. She compared him to Iago, and I am happy to say that I actually caught that Shakespearean reference thanks to my educational efforts this year.

The Saturdays made me want to relive my childhood, and Enright captures the essence of what I want for my own children. I hope we will have a chance to read the following three books in the future.

The writing is superb. We enjoyed stretching our vocabulary. Levi and I referred often to his children's dictionary and started making a list of our favorite new words:

indignation: anger caused by something unfair

inquire: to ask

conceal: to hide or keep secret

forlorn: sad and lonely

disheveled: messed up, untidy

appalled: shocked or overcome with horror

averted: turned away

zeal: eager desire to get something done (enthusiasm)

excursion: pleasurable outing

sheepish: embarrassed and guilty

lugubrious: mournful, dismal, or gloomy (this word wasn't found in the children's dictionary--we had to break out the big guns for this one)

outlandish: very strange or unusual

debris: the junk or pieces left from something broken down or destroyed

ominous: being a sign of evil or trouble to come

Our list could have been much longer, but we never would have gotten any reading done!

Semicolon hosts the Saturday Review of Books today. Feel free to read the reviews or join in with your own.


Sherry said...

I love this book and the others about the Melendys. Have you read The Four Story Mistake?

Heidi said...

I never read these books as a child (wish I had) and Levi and I have only read The Saturdays. I look forward to reading the rest of them!

Thanks for visiting!

Unknown said...

This sounds like one that Amanda and I would both enjoy.

Jen Rouse said...

Everything I've ever read by Elizabeth Enright has been superb, and the Melendy books are my favorites. I too enjoy the simple intelligence, resourcefulness, and respectfulness displayed by these kids; good examples for our kids to read about.

carole said...

I LOVE this book. My father read it outloud to us as children - and since I am the oldest of 9, I heard it at least twice outloud and numerous times in my own head (aka reading to myself). Does your eldest read already? I have a lot of questions about curriculum choices, etc. since I am drawn to classical but reading about Charlotte Mason right now. Confusing.