Title: All-of-a-Kind Family
Author: Sydney Taylor
Series: All-of-a-Kind Family series, book 1
Major Themes: Family Life, Jewish Families
Synopsis: Five sisters experience life together, loving, supporting and learning as a family.
I’ve always been able to connect with the characters in All-of-a-Kind Family, and even though it’s taken years I think I’ve now figured out why. They all have a “large family” attitude towards each other and life in general. The older girls take time to include the younger girls—even if they don’t always appreciate their slowness! Everyone always watches out for everyone else, and often the girls work together to do or get something they badly want.
In the beginning of the book, Sarah has lent her library book to a friend. The friend claims she’s returned it, but now it’s Friday and Sarah can’t find it anywhere. Sadly, Sarah goes to the library to confess to the library lady that she’s lost it, and with the help of her sisters they soon work out a plan to slowly pay off the cost of the book. One chapter tells about Papa’s junk shop, where the girls sometimes visit and find wonderful treasure. We’re introduced to Charlie here, a young man who loves being around the family, but rarely says much about his past life.
This book is a collection of stories about the girls. It doesn’t really have any particular plot, and the stories aren’t all building toward a climax. Instead, different life lessons are taught—and freely learned—through the experiences, and everyone has a good share of exciting and sometimes sad times.
Summed up, All-of-a-Kind Family is purely fun, clean reading. The girls get into some very believable scrapes, and enjoy fascinating adventures. I loved the way the daily life and feasts in a Jewish family are portrayed—preparing for the Sabbath, Purim, Passover, and Succos.
WARNING: There is a slight romantic thread—the oldest girl, Ella (twelve years old) is attracted to one of her father’s workers—Charlie. The book only shares Ella’s thoughts and actions because of the thoughts—never bad. Later, Charlie meets his girlfriend who he thought was long-dead, and they share a kiss—not detailed.
Listening Level—Ages 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 7 – 9, 8 – 12, 10 – 12