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The very first book in the Melendy Quartet is The Saturdays. The story is about a family living in New York in the 1940’s. There is the oldest Melendy, thirteen-year-old Mona who strives to be an actress, twelve-year-old Rush, a boy obsessed with playing the piano, ten-year-old Randy is a dancer, and the youngest Melendy child, Oliver who is only six-years-old.
Money is tight, but the Melendy children are tired of spending Saturdays lazing about with nothing to do.
This is when they create the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club, otherwise known as the I.S.A.A.C. They pool their allowance together in order to let one kid spend it all on one Saturday. The next Saturday it is the next child’s turn to spend the money, and so on.
In this second wonderful adventure, The Four Story Mistake, the Melendys are leaving the city, and moving to the country into a funny old house called the Four-Story Mistake. The Melendy children are very sad about leaving their old house, the only home they had known, but it does not take them long to adjust to country life. Their new property is massive, they have a brook, and eventually a menagerie of animals. What’t not love?
With Father in Washington and Cuffy, their housekeeper, away visiting a sick cousin, almost anything might happen to the Melendy kids left behind at the Four-Story Mistake. In the Melendy family, adventures are inevitable: Mr. Titus and the catfish; the villainy of the DeLacey brothers; Rush’s composition of Opus 3; Mona’s first rhubarb pie and all the canning; Randy’s arrowhead; the auction and fair for the Red Cross.
But best of all is the friendship with Mark Herron, which begins with a scrap-collection mission and comes to a grand climax on Oliver’s birthday.
Randy and Oliver Melendy awake one fall morning full of gloom. Their brother and sister are away, the house seems forlorn and empty, and even Cuffy, their adored housekeeper, can’t pick up their spirits. Will they have to face a long and lonely winter? But a surprise message in the mailbox starts a trail of excitement and adventure that takes them through the cold season. When summer finally comes around again, the children have found fourteen messages in all, and the end of the search brings them a rich reward.
Why I love these books so much
I think the reason I love these books so much is the fact that I could really relate to all of the characters. The story felt believable. I could just imagine getting into some of the same scrapes as the Melendys, with my siblings a few years ago. I think many people could relate to this timeless family and their adventures, and misadventures alike!
I hope you and your children will open your hearts to this 1940’s family like I did. You won’t regret it. These books really are classics, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do.