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.