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The Four-Story Mistake (The Melendy Family #2)

4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,985 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
The Melendy family moves from their New York City brownstone to an odd old house in the country. Mona, 13, actress-to-be, recites poetry at the drop of a hat. Rush, 12, is a bit mischievous. Miranda, 10, dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, is calm and thoughtful. Their father is a writer, so beloved housekeeper Cuffy takes on the motherly role
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published 1942 by Farrar & Rinehart
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Emily He writes books about economics. I think it's only in Then There Were Five that it's specifically mentioned that this is his field.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melody
Jul 02, 2011 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
07/11
This time through, I was struck anew by the brilliance of Enright's writing. She's subtle, she's hilarious, she's... well, brilliant. I suspect she's a large part of the reason I'm such a harsh Goodreads rater.

This book is one of my favorites. Each of the characters is so distinct, so singular, so real (even the dogs, for heaven's sake) that the inclusion of "Mona said" and "Rush said" is practically superfluous.

The storyline is lovely. There's just enough, never too much. It's not the lea
...more
Emily
Oct 24, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
I've now read aloud the first two Melendy books to my son, who is enjoying them, which yes, as much as I myself love them, is a surprise to me. Enright's realistic (if not always entirely plausible) family stories are a little old-fashioned; they are character-driven, episodic, and full of references to musicians and actors and other high-culture types most nine-year-olds haven't heard of. My son also seems to be aware that his interest in them is a little unexpected. "I don't know why I like th ...more
Qt
Mar 14, 2010 Qt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Another absolutely charming and delightful Melendy book :-) I really love Elizabeth Enright's writing and how she makes everyday details so special.
Linda Lipko
There is nothing spectacular about it, no complicated plot, no difficult story line, and there is no page turning, cannot wait to get to the end feeling.

But, there is a calm sense of wonderment regarding the way in which the author painted an idyllic childhood of four lovely children who were uprooted from a house in the city to a large mansion-like structure in the country.

There is a loving widowed father, a nanny who is kind and gentle, a dog, and warm food and cool drink.

There are streams, tr
...more
Mary S
Dec 26, 2015 Mary S rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story pulled me in right away. The Melendy family moved from the city to the country and the first part of the book was all about the discoveries in their new home. I loved it! I moved to a wonderful house on a farm five days before I turned 8 and Enright perfectly describes the magic of exploring the outdoors and the indoors of an old house in the country. Lovely, gentle book.
Susan
Dec 13, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: juvenile, 2011
A very nice juvenile story. Holds alot of nostalgia and sweetness from a slower and simpler place in time. That is, if you can get past the 'golly' and 'swell' exclamations within the text! :)

None of the children got up to anything terribly bad - the worst thing was sneaking out of a bedroom window to sit in a treehouse - and this was refreshing. But there were many fun adventures and family outings to read about.

Will fill in the missing volumes of this series and read when I need something like
...more
Maureen E
by Elizabeth Enright

Asking me to choose a favorite book from this series would be like asking me to choose a favorite Melendy: it could be done, but it would be painful, and I'd really rather not have to. But I have to admit that The Four-story Mistake is definitely high on the list. The Saturdays is a wonderful introduction to the Melendys and Cuffy and Willy Sloper, but with the Melendys move from New York City to the country we begin the real business of the series. (Don't ask me what that
...more
Miriam
Jul 04, 2009 Miriam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger, realism
Nice, but not as special as the first Melendy book. Part of it may be that I personally find adventures in the city but interesting than pleasant living in the country, but I also think the narrative tone has shifted. In The Saturdays I thought Enright really captured the perspective and feelings of the children. Here, I still liked the siblings and their relationships, but the narration felt more like an adult onlooker, and there was a little too much of that "aww, aren't the kids sweet?" tone. ...more
Melanie
Oct 21, 2014 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-lit
This series set in the 1940's captures so well the magic of childhood in the glorious days before the invention of the screen. In this book, the Melendy family moves to the idyllic countryside in a home that has an unfolding story of its own. Adventures abound for the four Melendy children with the influence of those clever twin sisters, Curiosity and Imagination.
LauraW
Although this is much older than the Penderwicks books, it reminds me of them. It is bit too sweet, reminiscent of a different era, where children played outside without supervision, wrote plays and performed them at home, were nice to all of the members of their families, and were supported by everyone in the community. It makes me a bit nostalgic. But, perversely, I also long to see a little orneriness here and there, too. I guess it is a bit of orneriness in myself that can't help thinking, i ...more
Elizabeth
Feb 04, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
I love books about old country houses, and although the Four-Story Mistake isn’t quite so old, it’s still a house with secrets, and I loved discovering them with the Melendys. I especially loved all the kids’ exclamations of disgust at how dumb they are as they discover the secret room because what I love most about Enright is her realistic capturing of children and their dialogue. I feel as if the Melendys could have actually existed, as if they were actually real children who grew up during th ...more
Charity
Apr 29, 2015 Charity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
My kids put this audiobook on during lunchtimes and car trips around town, and while I listened carefully to some parts, others got lost in the background of other things that caught my attention, like hemming my son's pants (which takes all of my brain power). Usually I don't bother hemming my son's pants. I just cuff them or let him walk on them until his legs grow into them, but these are the pants for the little suit he's wearing to my brother's wedding. If I had been willing to cut them off ...more
Shelley
Hmm, slowly warming to the series. I keep picking up the next in the series, so I clearly haven't given up yet. LOL I like the bits about the war, seeing the home front without having to see someone go off to war. That's rare. Of all the characters, I wish we knew more about Father. I think I'd like him a lot. I picture him a bit as Christopher Plummer, from Sound of Music days. *g*
Josh Ang
Mar 28, 2014 Josh Ang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This second book in the Melendy Quartet sees the family move from the city into a country house, aptly called the Four-Story Mistake for the uncompleted 4th story which only has a cupola. The four children adapts to a new life, with the narrative spread out like the previous book "The Saturdays", among all of them. However, it is Randy, the curly-haired 3rd child, who is given most attention, as it is through her perspective that opens the book and gives voice to the penultimate chapter.

The chil
...more
Rahyab
Jun 11, 2011 Rahyab rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c-n-books
One of Chloe's favorites. Second in the quartet. Great story of four city kids who move to the country with their father to live in an eccentric house called "The Four Story Mistake." The four siblings are just so well done that this story is a joy. Chloe has read this so many times!
CLM
Aug 26, 2007 CLM rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrensbooks
When Mona, Rush, Randy and Oliver move to the country, they don't expect to have the same adventures they enjoyed in Manhattan. Still, their lives soon change with the addition of a new and unexpected member.
Bookista
May 25, 2015 Bookista rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it's rather treacle-y, I like this book. I first read it as a child and then couldn't remember the title for the next 20 years. Now that I have discovered its identity I am re-reading. Although nothing much happens in the book it's still a fairy tale from beginning to end. How *spoiler* likely is it that 50 people would pay to see elementary schoolers in a play, with both singing AND dancing, that their own children are not even in?! Their car blows a tire so to save money they buy a po ...more
Rea K
Pop Sugar Book Challenge: Book with number in title.

First chapter is about moving, which I can totally relate to. The kids are all nostalgic about their old house and aren't sure that they'll love the new house. I'm definitely going to miss my old house, particularly since there will be NO going back, none of that "House that Built Me" sort of thing.
There was a point where if anyone heard a squeak and an admonishment of "Rush Melendy!" that was me. At one point IN THIS CHILDREN'S BOOK, Rush sa
...more
Heather
Jul 10, 2011 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Four-Story Mistake, the sequel to The Saturdays, picks up some months after that book left off: it's October, and the Melendy family is moving out of their Manhattan brownstone to a house in the country. As in The Saturdays, the characters and the story are charming, and Enright is emotionally astute: I loved this, from moving day: Randy is looking around at the empty room she used to share with Mona, talking to herself "crossly because she was sad and she preferred sounding cross to soundin ...more
An Odd1
Oct 02, 2013 An Odd1 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Melendy family move to a country ten-acre manor, where building extra storey was cut short by finances, taking both servants. Old Willy Sloper transitions from urban indoor furnaces to outdoors, planting, "black frost" p 142 .

Moral standards are insidious when accepted. Rush keeps secret first breakfast from Willy and eats Cuffy's all over again - why? Oliver 6 hides fact of being in basement. All swear "blood vow" and keep hidden room secret, with portrait of Clarinda Cassidy, (view spoile
...more
Audrey
Jun 08, 2013 Audrey rated it really liked it
This series is really growing on me. I enjoyed this one more and more as the story went along.

Randy is probably my favorite (although I don't see why anyone would want a scar) and Mona is my least favorite. I love this book for its descriptions of nature and for the wonderful type of free range childhood the Melendy children enjoy (sometimes a little too free, as evidenced by Randy's accident!). Enright has a wonderful way with words and a special talent for capturing amusing details. As a side
...more
Jenn O'Brien
Oct 06, 2011 Jenn O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is book two in the series and once again the nostalgia pulled me in. I love the writing of 1942 and the references of things long forgotten today. An easier simplier time of childhood innocence and exploration. Unlike the first one, this one deals with a more intense time by reference a World War II. The children are saving money to buy bonds and collecting paper and metal for scrap drives to help the war effort.

I think the thing that enchanted me the most about this particular book was tha
...more
Joel Simon
May 13, 2010 Joel Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
This is the second of four books in Elizabeth Enright's series about the Melendy kids. My 11 year old loves these books, so I am reading them with her. This one is even better than the first one (which I loved). Although a little old-fashioned in its style (written in the 1940s), the adventures of the four Melendy kids, this time in their new old house in the country are exciting, mischievous, but wholesome tales that will entertain children (and adults as well). The best thing is that this book ...more
Mae Walker
I love this series of books. I was surprised to read the author was an only child as her descriptions of the children are so much like my brothers and sister, the things they say and do are the sorts of things we say and do.
Having said that, I have never found a diamond in a creek, slept in a tree house all night or managed to do a lounge room production without one of the little actors bursting into tears or punching someone.
But that is what books are for!
Abigail
Mar 27, 2015 Abigail rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story was really cute and fun. This adventure kicks off right where the last on ended. But now the Melendys are moving to the shore. They are so far away from everything so no more Saturday fun for them. This book shows the process of moving to the reader which moves the story along to living by the house. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Thanks for taking the time to read my review.
Susann
Feb 17, 2014 Susann rated it it was amazing
How could I have not reviewed this before? I didn't discover the Melendy family until I was 21, and I fell in with them and fell in love with them immediately. The first time I read this I jotted down this quote:
It had been a good day, a wonderful day. She had a new bicycle, she had made new friends, and probably she was going to have a scar.

Re-read for VSC discussion
Charlotte
Sep 12, 2014 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really want to give it a 4 1/2. I really like this book and it's so close to being a five, but it's just under. The thing I really like about this book is how interested the kids are in learning and growing and going after the things they want. They are just really nice kids to be around and I love to read that!
Izzy
Jan 18, 2016 Izzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6th-grade
I really liked this book a lot. I love the illustrations on the inside. This is the second book in the Melendy Quartet and I definitely want to read the other two. My favorite character is Randy. The only criticism I have is that maybe the chapters were a little too long and I want more illustrations!
April Knapp
This series was published originally in the 1940s, though this is my first introduction to the books. I found them to be nothing special, but they are pleasant stories about loving siblings.

This series is not my cup of tea. If you enjoy saccharine sweet stories, like The Boxcar Children, and believing that the 40s and 50s were simpler, more innocent times (I don't buy it :-)), then you might enjoy these books.

I don't think this series stands the test of time-they seem a bit outdated. Enright is
...more
Nathaniel
Nov 03, 2015 Nathaniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked it. They move into a house that's called the four story mistake cause it's supposed to be 4 stories, but it's 3 stories and a little lookout called a cupola plus the basement plus the cellar that's a secret. Only Oliver and Randy know about it.
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Elizabeth Enright (1907-1968) was born in Oak Park, Illinois, but spent most of her life in or near New York City. Her mother was a magazine illustrator, while her father was a political cartoonist. Illustration was Enright's original career choice and she studied art in Greenwich, Connecticut; Paris, France; and New York City. After creating her first book in 1935, she developed a taste, and quic ...more
More about Elizabeth Enright...

Other Books in the Series

The Melendy Family (4 books)
  • The Saturdays (The Melendy Family, #1)
  • Then There Were Five (The Melendy Family, #3)
  • Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze

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“Never plan a picnic' Father said. 'Plan a dinner, yes, or a house, or a budget, or an appointment with the dentist, but never, never plan a picnic.” 8 likes
“Already he knew that to overdo a thing is to destroy it.” 7 likes
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