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All-of-a-Kind Family Paperback – December 1, 1984
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There's something to be said for a book that makes you wish you'd been part of a poor immigrant family living in New York's upper east side on the eve of World War I. Sydney Taylor's time-honored classic does just that. Life is rich for the five mischievous girls in the family. They find adventure in visiting the library, going to market with Mama, even dusting the front room. Young readers who have never shared a bedroom with four siblings, with no television in sight, will vicariously experience the simple, old-fashioned pleasures of talk, make-believe, and pilfered penny candy. The family's Jewish faith strengthens their ties to each other, while providing still more excitement and opportunity for mischief. Readers unfamiliar with Judaism will learn with the girls during each beautifully depicted holiday. This lively family, subject of four more "all-of-a- kind" books, is full of unique characters, all deftly illustrated by Helen John. Taylor based the stories on her own childhood family, and the true-life quality of her writing gives this classic its page-turning appeal. (Ages 9 to 12)
From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Five young sisters experience life in New York's Lower East Side at the beginning of the 20th century in this reading of Sydney Taylor's story (Follett, 1951). The close-knit group encounters everyday realities such as boring chores, missing library books, and trips to the Rivington Street market, as well as those details which bring the early 1900's to life--scarlet fever, peddlers, and bathing at Coney Island. Woven into the story are the traditions and holidays of the Jewish religion. The girls celebrate the Sabbath with Hebrew prayers, and dress up for Purim so they can deliver baskets to friends and relatives. Suzanne Toren delivers flawless narration, using different accents to distinguish between characters of various cultures and backgrounds. Her intonations and pacing ably reflect the actions and emotions of the characters and fully convey the warmth and humor of the story. This excellent audiobook will find an eager audience in schools and public libraries which need materials reflecting the Jewish culture or serve children who enjoy family stories such as Little Women and Little House on the Prairie.-Paula L. Setser, Deep Springs Elementary School, Lexington, KY
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well, I have since learned about the "Jewish" stereotype. However, I was not suckered in by the error because my first experience with Jews came about through the All of A Kind Family books. I am convinced that I knew the truth about the Jewish people because of these books.
I strongly recommend that these books be added to all reading lists, as they help to teach kindness, love, and tolerance for all people, just like they helped to teach to me.
Not only did we thoroughly enjoy these books, but we also learned a tremendous amount about life on the Lower East Side in the 1910s and Jewish traditions. Each of the books has a plot line involving a different set characters outside the family, but it is the small, everyday moments that bring the stories to life. The family is always loving and supportive, and although the characters face some challenges, there is never any content too disturbing for younger children.
Sydney Taylor should hold her place beside Laura Ingalls Wilder in the canon of historical fiction for children!