by Elizabeth Enright, Published 1942
Community Review by Ellen
The four children’s books of The Melendy Quartet: The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five and A Spiderweb for Two, are a wonderful and timeless collection. The children of the family are folks you’d definitely like to meet – each of them with their own interests and passions. Their adventures are those that reflect the true explorations and adventures of childhood – from getting lost in the woods to discovering that an old farmhouse is unexpectedly home to a wonderful, chubby man who loves to bake or spend a day lazing with a fishing pole. I loved these stories as a kid and have given them to children for the past few decades. They continue to captivate.
The ‘realness’ of life and the recognition that children’s dreams and passions are those of real people. Enright seems to respect and love childhood and the ability of children to explore their world in a way that is often lost to adults. There are sometimes dramatic events in the children’s books about the Melendy family, but Enright doesn’t overplay them – instead they are quietly real in much the way dramas in our own life are. Mostly though they are filled with events which reflect simple, wonderful joys – an unexpected night stuck in a treehouse, a surprise vacation by the sea, adventuring on bikes on a beautiful spring day. Perhaps they help us to recognize the simple joys of our own lives.