I’m very drawn to books that take place in the 1st half of the 20th century, so it’s no surprise to me that I enjoyed The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. The Saturdays follows the the four Melendy children on eight different Saturdays as they experience adventures alone and together in 1940s New York City.
The Melendy Children have a brilliant idea — to combine their weekly allowances, each then taking a turn to spend the entire amount on something not affordable on an individual weekly allowance. In contrast to what almost any parent would allow today, the Melendys can each experience the city alone. Imagine having an entire afternoon and $1.60 (a decent sum in those days) to do something memorable! I was allowed some freedom starting at about age 12 to ride my bike around town and visit a few favorite hangouts (the frozen yogurt shop, the bowling alley, the mini golf course, and of course Taco Johns for taco Tuesday!), but I lived in a small town of about 15,000 people at the time. It’s hard to imagine I would have been allowed the same freedom in a large city. But the 1940s were a different era, and perhaps that was not so out of the ordinary for similarly-aged children to be allowed such freedoms back then.
Miss M seemed to enjoy the book as well. We had a good time discussing cultural references of the era (I had to explain who Hitler and Mussolini were, among others), and how everyday things have changed over time (like the furnace powered by coal vs. our furnace at home powered by natural gas). I even learned a new word: lugubrious. Dictionary.com tells me that this means “mournful, dismal, or gloomy, especially in an affected, exaggerated, or unrelieved manner.”
While the chapters in the book are somewhat unrelated to one another (maybe “episodic” would be a good description?), the lack of a strong plot arc was not enough to deter me from liking the book. I think we’ll read Enright’s three other novels about the Melendy’s at some future point.
It was another uneventful picture book week. The boys were again enjoying lots of “Chuggington” and “Mater’s Tall Tales.” I think I found some interesting picture books during our library trip this week, so perhaps I can entice them into listening to something else this coming week. We also made our own tall bookshelf more accessible in our school room re-organization project over the weekend. For many months toys had been piling up in front of the bookcase and we were rarely reading any of the books on the shelf. This week I’ve seen the kids browsing our own books many times. I’ve also run across several books I’m looking forward to reading to the kids in the near future.
One book I recently read to the boys from our own bookshelf is “3 in 1: A Picture of God“. This book takes the tricky subject of the trinity and brings it down to a level even a preschooler can grasp. An apple has three parts (peel, flesh and core). Each part is apple, yet there are not three apples. God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet He is one God and not three. While I’m sure there are many theological nuances this analogy doesn’t capture, it satisfies the curiosity of my boys. “3 in 1: A Picture of God” also does a nice job of presenting the basic concepts of the gospel. I found this book at a used book sale a couple years ago, and I’m so glad I picked it up!
I’m linking up with Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope is the Word!