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The Peterkin Papers (The Peterkins)

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  209 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
Before Amelia Bedelia and the Stupids there were the Peterkins. The Peterkin Papers collects all of Lucretia Hale’s beloved tales of a thoroughly silly family.

The Peterkin Papers record the antics of the most memorably and hopelessly bumbling of respectable American families. Confronted by the endless challenges of daily life, the Peterkins rise to every occasion with misg
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published October 17th 2006 by NYR Children's Collection (first published 1883)
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Mazzou B 8-12 would find it funny. If read aloud, even younger children would laugh over the antics of the Peterkins.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 14, 2013 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the most marvelous funny little book! I looked for years as an adult for it, unable to recall the title...then found the very copy I had read as a child in my brother's library! It's a 1924 publication, inscribed from one grand aunt to another at Christmas 1945. I'm supposing that they were used book fans then too. The gifter was a librarian for many years:) The Peterkins are lacking common-sense, somewhat like Amelia Bedelia, and their troubles are laugh out loud funny even now. Fairly ...more
Rick Davis
The reason Saturday Night Live movies are rarely funny is that they take a clever premise that makes a hilarious 5 minute sketch and try to stretch the one joke out to 2 hours. Although "The Peterkin Papers" is a predecessor to Amelia Bedilia, it feels like someone took the one joke of an Amelia Bedilia book (hey, there's this person who comically misunderstands things), applies the joke to an entire family, and stretches it out to 200 pages. The result is uneven and thin. Sometimes it's funny, ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Peterkins really have problems dealing with everyday life. The oldest, Agamemnon, his brother Solomon John, his sister Elizabeth Eliza, their little brothers, and of course hapless Mr. and Mrs. Peterkin are always finding themselves in strange situations. Fortunately, their very wise friend the Lady from Philadelphia, can always offer just the right advice. Children and adults alike will find this amusing.
Jan 07, 2014 Jill rated it liked it
October 10th- These people are plain old silly. Thus far the stories tell of how the entire family unites to resolve an issue. They do so by thinking of every possible resolution (that doesn't involve common sense). This lack of common sense is what makes it so silly.
The stories are not life-changing or perspective-altering.
Instead, you feel like you're sitting in your close friends', the Peterkins, living room by a warm fireplace, hearing the latest silly story that happened.
Karlyne Landrum
Apr 22, 2010 Karlyne Landrum rated it it was amazing
This is the perfect book to read to kids who are skeptical of being read aloud to (at least I think it is!). I'll be trying it out on the granddaughters to see if they see the humor in fixing a cup of coffee that Mrs. Peterkin put salt into instead of sugar, or in inventing a universal lock and key so that everyone can get into everywhere. This is a droll and wise book that I loved as a kid, and I haven't changed my opinion of it at all!
Sep 22, 2016 Kaye rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
I didn't find the antics of a stupid family very funny.
May 24, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
"The Peterkins Papers"
I enjoyed these short stories. They reminded me of stories about Amelia Bedelia and the townspeople of Chelm.

"The Last of the Peterkins"
I thought the stories about their trip to Egypt long but funny as they kept losing family members at each leg of their journey until Mrs Peterkins ended up arriving at Egypt alone. It was interesting how each family member (except Mr and Mrs Peterkins) opted to stay in Europe, either as students (the little boys) marraige (Elizabeth Eliz
Jun 08, 2016 BethK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This is a book designed for children. It's a delight to read it outloud with them!

It's a collection of short stories, written around 1900. The things in the book are antiquated - such as they travel by horse and buggy, they go visit apothecary shops, and so forth. They're just as funny now as they were in 1900!

The Peterkins have the most round-about, absurd ways of doing things. These always get them into trouble, or MORE trouble. There is the hereo, "The Lady from Philidelphia", who is smart an
Feb 28, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, ya
An absolute favorite from my childhood, reread for the first time in ages...there's still a lot of good, and the writing is topnotch. The offhanded racism that's so present in so many late-19th Century books is at least very sparse, and a number of the anecdotes are very amusing...though the ending of the book is positively daft...
All told, though, a real classic and a book I'm profoundly grateful for.
Jan 29, 2015 Jonathan rated it liked it
This book was probably funny for 1880 or something. I did not exactly enjoy it, and I also thought I could look at a bookshelf and find a book that is a lot more funny. I like fantasy, funny, up to date books. So, over the entire book(I didn't even read the last of the Peterkins. I think that if you want to find "funny" read Percy Jackson, or Time warp trio. Not exactly funny and kind of a stressful book.
Mar 13, 2013 Kidsbookworm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, read-aloud, family
I had not heard of this book until recently, but I think when my kids were into Amelia Bedelia books, they would have loved this one, too. I think this would be a great book for an advanced 2nd grade reader who would be highly motivated by the thick book. Some of the lists of plants, remedies, solutions are lengthy, but other than that, it would make for a funny read aloud, also.

Aug 18, 2012 Gayle rated it really liked it
I read this book as a child and wished to re-read it because of the character known as "the lady from Philadelphia" - the woman who solves all of the silly problems of the Peterkin family. Fans of "Amelia Bedelia" and "The Stupids" will like this quaint book. It was written in the middle 1800's and is comprised of the series of short stories the author wrote for a magazine.
Jun 06, 2015 Joy rated it liked it
This was a fun children's book about a family that lacked common sense. Their salvation from numerous problems is to ask "the wise old lady from Philadelphia" for advice. Her advice is so simple, but they need her help time and again. Family comments:
Father: "One learns a great many things too late."
Daughter: "We are not a family for an emergency."
Nov 04, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
Reminds me of fairy tales about a silly family. They have absolutely no common sense, and are always getting themselves stuck. (If the piano is placed in the living room with it's back to the room, then the only thing the family can think to do is have the daughter sit outside on the porch and open the window to play...) Light-hearted. This would be fun to share with a child.
Jun 24, 2015 Jo rated it liked it
Shelves: own, middle-grade
I'm not quite sure what to think of this one...on the one hand, it is unquestionably funny. However, the author's writing style drove me a wee bit crazy. I always wanted more dialogue. Good fun, though.
Jul 07, 2008 AP rated it liked it
I remembered the Peterkin Papers as one of my favorite books from childhood, especially the Lady Who Put Salt in her Coffee. Now reading it as an adult, the Peterkins are less amusing. The writing is clean but tends to ramble on for too long.
Nov 21, 2013 Daniel rated it it was amazing
I recently revisited this childhood favorite and found it every bit as funny as I remembered. The Peterkins have a kind of infectious stupidity that affects everyone in their orbit and which generally only the lady from Philadelphia can untangle.
Apr 24, 2015 Ben rated it it was ok
The innocent bumblings of this family really never could get beyond the most mentally basic gaffes that failed to draw any interest or amusement. I can enjoy the Three Stooges, or Amelia Bedelia, and I was hoping a predecessor would have some distinct value.
Sep 03, 2016 Antonia rated it it was amazing
Loved the book, especially the chapter on the Circumambient Club. Wednesday Club is much better, I am glad to say.
Jun 21, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it
I read this as a child, and it still makes me smile - even though my copy is a little dog-eared now!
emma grace
Read in 2005-6.

This one took me a long time to get through...I don't know if I actually finished it.
Mar 21, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok
I think I probably wasn't in the right frame of mind to enjoy this book. I chose not to finish it, but will probably keep it in mind for my kids.
Dec 15, 2011 Kerri rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Amusing stories. However it is so old fashioned that I found even I could not always understand the language.
Sarah Sammis
May 04, 2011 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it
"The Lady Who Put Salt in her Coffee" is the one that sticks with me the most.

The book is sort of like a grown up version of the Peppins and their Problems.
Jed rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2015
Holly rated it it was amazing
Oct 28, 2015
Stephani Muzyczek
Stephani Muzyczek rated it liked it
Feb 17, 2016
Julie rated it it was amazing
Apr 13, 2008
Beth Kaminske
Beth Kaminske rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2015
Margaret rated it it was ok
May 03, 2016
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Lucretia Peabody Hale was a United States journalist and author. After attending school, she devoted herself to literature, and was a member of the Boston School Committee for two years.

Hale published numerous stories in periodicals and newspapers, some of which were collected in books.

Hale's parents were Nathan Hale and Sarah Preston Everett, who had a total of eleven children. Nathan Hale, nephe
More about Lucretia P. Hale...

Other Books in the Series

The Peterkins (5 books)
  • The Last of the Peterkins
  • The Peterkins' Thanksgiving
  • The Peterkins' Christmas
  • The Last of the Peterkins, with Others of Their Kin

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