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

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  1,741 ratings  ·  99 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, 208 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (first published 1942)
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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
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
Mar 14, 2010 Qt rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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 i...more
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
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
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
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
Kori Johnson
Just as funny as the first book. We have started using the phrase "a Randy skater" to describe the way I ice skate. And "an Oliver skater" to describe the way Kati skates. And Dad skates like Rush. It's really funny how Kati and Mill and I talk about the book characters as if they were real people.
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
This is a charming children's book written in the WWII era. The four Melendy children move from the city to the country, and there they live an idyllic, adventurous-but-believable childhood. The first chapter or two probably was a little slow to my kids, but once the foundation was laid, they begged me to keep reading each night. What's fascinating about the book is that it doesn't have some huge, overarching plot, but instead it reads like a collection of little minor events such as learning to...more
Heidi Hertzog
I just "re-read" this book via audio book and was as charmed with it as always if not more. It's fun when a book you loved as a child still holds up when you re-read it as an adult. In fact, I think was even MORE charmed by it as an adult than I was as a child, as I appreciated the author's writing style even more as an adult. It's still a book that makes me wish I could be transported right into the book and into the lives of the Melendy children and experience the Four-Story Mistake myself. Ca...more
The Melendy Quartet is one of the most delightful children's series I've ever read. I thought so when a camp counselor first read them to our cabin as bedtime stories when I was 10. A recent re-read at age 26 proves that this is still true.

In the forward, Enright explains that readers often asked her whether the Melendy children were real. She goes on to say that they are based in part on herself, her own children, people she knew over the course of her life, and imagination. She ends, however,...more
This is really a delightful series--I especially liked the piano lesson! Go to for my review.
The second humorous book in the Melendy family series. The four children adjust to life in the country in their house called The Four-Story Mistake. Their father spends time writing and lecturing away from home often. Cuffy, their housekeeper and nanny, gives them structure and discipline. Mona, Rush, Miranda (Randy) and Oliver discover new interests and hobbies as they explore their new surroundings. They dance, act, play fabulous piano and gather moths. They become friends with many differing...more
It hasn't taken long, but I think Enright is now solidly on my list of favorite writers.
In Four-Story Mistake, there is a another fabulous house, plenty of adventures, and some truly great characters. I love how WWII is an undercurrent throughout, but not a huge focus. And Oliver. I adore Oliver, especially since I've known boys like him.
Parts of Enright's writing is just luminous--I wanted to take a pencil and underline some of her wonderful sentences. Alas, it is a library book, so I resisted,...more
This was one of my favorite books when I was little, and I reread it while I was home sick.

It's an adorable tale about 4 children who have to change a little when they are moved to a new town, and who then decide to earn what money they can to help support WWII by buying war bonds. So they put on a show and some of them get jobs. It is so unbelievably sweet that at times it may make your teeth hurt, but it is a very quiet and relaxing story.

I believe this is the book that taught me to like scars...more

Each time I return to my favorite book, I am overjoyed by the barefoot-adventures of the Melendy family as they explore their quirky new house and surroundings. Centered around the new home known as the four story mistake, the four protagonists discover the history of their house and new town, as well as offer a new history with secrets for the next inhabitants. Elizabeth Enright's simple, yet elegant story of adventure is one which should be in the lives of all young people.
Mary Taitt
The Four-Story Mistake, by Elizabeth Enright. This is another children’s book, one that was originally published in 1942. It’s a delightful story about the Melendy children when they move to a new house called the Four-Story Mistake. It’s full of secrets and enchantments. There is sadness, too, but it’s engaging and sweet. I really enjoyed it and am going to pass it on to my granddaughter. And I am going to put the next two on my wish list and maybe buy them for myself some time soon.
I remember feeling, like Randy, that moving to the country was a horrible mistake, but like her, I fell in love with the Four-Storey Mistake very quickly. These children have adventures but never outside the scope of what could happen and the quiet love and happiness in the books is very appealing.

The descriptions of the surroundings are evocative and it's a wonderful addition to the series.

I wish our house had a cupola.
I find that I just love the Melendys and wish I'd found these books as a child - I would have loved them. Although they were written in the early 1940's, they don't really seem dated at all. I loved the country house and adventures, but was so sorry to see them leave NYC. When I was a little girl, I dreamed of living at the Plaza, just like Eloise, so I wish they'd stayed at the city house and just gone to the country in the summer.
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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...
The Saturdays (The Melendy Family, #1) Gone-Away Lake (Gone-Away Lake, #1) Thimble Summer Then There Were Five (The Melendy Family, #3) Return to Gone-Away (Gone-Away Lake, #2)

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