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All-of-a-Kind Family (All-of-a-Kind Family #1)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  13,327 ratings  ·  518 reviews
It's the turn of the century in New York's Lower East Side and a sense of adventure and excitement abounds for five young sisters - Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie. Follow along as they search for hidden buttons while dusting Mama's front parlor, or explore the basement warehouse of Papa's peddler's shop on rainy days. The five girls enjoy doing everything togethe...more
Hardcover, 188 pages
Published August 23rd 2005 by Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers (first published 1951)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Gundula
Mar 16, 2013 Gundula rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys traditional family stories, anyone interested in Jewish-American culture
A heart-warming, gently humorous and informative family story, my one main regret is that I only recently discovered Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family (I would have loved this delightful story as a child, or a teenager, and am now keener than ever to read the rest of the series, but the sequels are, unfortunately, not nearly as readily available as the first book of the series).

Wonderful, delightful episodes show the joys, the struggles and the close family and neighbourhood ties of a Jewish...more
Lisa Vegan
I first read this book about 50 years ago (yes, I am dating myself) and the last time I read it was probably 49 years ago. I remember loving the book at the time but I think read it just the years I was 9 and 10, and I think I always read library copies. I am wondering if I even read it in third grade but I don’t remember for sure, so I’m sticking with my original read date, which was when I was in fourth grade.

I did a reread, something I’ve long wanted to do, mostly because the Children's Books...more
Melody
First re-read of this book in years uncountable.

This is the book from which I first learned about the Jewish faith. As a little heathen child, I'd been dragged to various Christian churches by friends and cousins, and I knew (I thought) all about that religion which was boring, boring, boring. But this...nobody I knew ever built a little bitty house in their backyard. Or got to eat parsley dipped in salt water. I was fascinated.

Not only was I a little heathen, I was also a little singleton. Re...more
Wendy Darling
This is a series I reread every year. No one else has ever captured the early 1900's in the Jewish lower side of New York like this, and it's fascinating to read about the holidays and customs and everyday life that this little troop of girls experiences. I still wish I could walk through those streets teeming with peddlers selling big dill pickles, candied orange slices, and spiced chick peas!

These books are great for those who love old-fashioned stories about growing up, like the Little House...more
Deb
These books are underappreciated! In my mind they rank with the Little House books - every little girl should read them!
Luann
All-of-a-Kind Family is another book I would have loved when I was younger - such a nice, wholesome story. I probably would have had to rush right out and find all of the All-of-a-Kind books. I still enjoyed the book very much reading it for the first time as an adult, and wouldn't mind reading more of them sometime. I really liked that although the family was poor, they were very happy and their lack of "things" wasn't a huge issue for them like it is in some stories. I also really enjoyed read...more
Cheryl in CC NV
It must have been a sequel that I read as a child. Only the name 'Henny' rings a clear bell here, but the nostalgic family affection shines through. I am, however, disturbed by everyone thinking it's ok that Papa can't be happy until he has a boy. I mean, I know 'someone to go to Seder with me' was (is?) important, but poor Mama! And the girls don't mind being second-class citizens, expected to cook & clean and wear three petticoats and itchy stockings their whole lives? His little Highness...more
Laura
I had chosen my books, narrowed them down to those I thought looked most promising, and begun to wait for my mother and sister to wrap up their purchases. The library sale was practically over. But while I was waiting, I figured that I might as well glance through the children's books one last time before we left..... and that's when I found All-of-a-Kind Family.

The Story.

Because All-of-a-Kind Family doesn’t exactly have a plot-line, it is difficult to describe what 'the story' is. Each chapter...more
Skylar Burris
This children’s novel, set in the early nineteen hundreds in New York City, follows a year in the life of an orthodox Jewish family with five daughters. It provides a good overview to most of the Jewish holidays and was a good way of introducing my daughter to Jewish customs. (She kept asking me, however, why only the dad went to synagogue, and I wasn’t sure of the answer.) I personally didn’t find it very interesting; it’s slow-paced and not written in a particularly alluring style, and, on the...more
Georgia Herod
What a delightful read! Although this book was published in 1951, the year after I had started school, I had only read references to it or excerpts from it, until my 8-year-old granddaughter highly recommended it. She loved Ella, Henny, Charlotte, Sarah, and Gertie, the five girls in Sydney Taylor's family that is "close and loving and loyal," where harmony prevails, where faith is lived out in every aspect of life, where life is an adventure. My granddaughters love going to the library, just li...more
Kathryn
Charming, sweet, heartwarming and thoughtful! This entire series is a gem. The family is so sweet, so tight-knit. While the book is a pure pleasure to read simply because you will love the family so much, it's also interesting from a historical/social standpoint to read about early 1900s America and this Jewish family's experience.
Hannah  Messler
Hurrah! A Jewish tenement family in turn-of-the-century LES New York. My Mom can distinctly remember being in fourth grade, in her little bedroom in their trailer in Kentucky, reading this book while her Dad called her to come to dinner. If only for that, I would love this book, but it turns out the book is TOTALLY charming.
Michelle
Wonderful! I loved the peek into daily life in a Jewish family of all girls, early 20th century NY. Charming and fun to read, with a couple of lovely plot twists toward the end. I would have recommended this book to myself around age 9-11. :)
Jennifer
I just introduced this stellar series to a fourth grade Little House reader and she came back with stars in her eyes. Ella, Henny, Charlotte, Sarah, Gertie and Charlie, the sweetest little family on the Lower East Side, you did it again.
CLM
Apr 05, 2009 CLM rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to CLM by: Ward School library
What a fabulous book! How many girls like me learned about Judaism from these books? I just picked up a copy for my nieces - I think we are having a slumber party next week and this would be great to read aloud.
Brenda
Jul 25, 2014 Brenda rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Brenda by: Classic Middle Grade read-along
I loved how All-of-a-Kind Family was short little stories about this close knit family. I loved how it wasn't just centered on the five girls points of view, but included Mama and Papa's as well. I learned a great deal about the Jewish culture and customs from how the holidays are depicted as the seasons went by. With the inclusion of their extended family of Tanta's and Uncle's I had a rich view of the Jewish-American family during the early 1900's. I also adored how Charlie and the Librarian h...more
Maggie Anton
I first read this book when I was a child and loved it, along with the sequels. I have reread it many times as I've gotten older and still enjoy it. Growing up in a secular Jewish home, this is where I learned so much about Jewish holidays and life cycle events. I proudly admit that this series was kind of a blueprint for my Rashi's Daughters, Book I: Joheved: A Novel of Love and the Talmud in Medieval France trilogy - a multivolume saga of a Jewish family with lots of daughters set in a fascina...more
Maureen E
by Sidney Taylor

I really love this family. It's one of those where I can believe that the girls would really both bicker and love each other as they do. And actually, there's not a lot of bickering. I think my favorite has always been Ella, just because she's the oldest and so am I (I tend to really identify with oldest children in books. Yes, I have problems with fairy tales.)

I also loved and love the glimpse into another culture. The family are observant Jews and their faith is the main underp...more
Cami
I give this four stars for education content.
This is a sweet slice-of-life tale of a young, large Jewish family living on the Lower East side of New York City at the turn of the century.
While reading, you get to follow around five little sisters through the neighborhood they knew at that time as well as a trip to Coney Island. The details are wonderful and kept on child-like terms, yet were still completely enjoyable and informative to me.
I read this with my 6 yr old daughter and she delighted i...more
Kate
"All-of-a-Kind Family" is a wonderful children's book, following a young Jewish family in early 1900s New York. Each chapter is a short story in itself, a vignettes of a certain season or event in the lives of five sisters - eldest Ella, mischievous Henny, studious Sarah, daydreamer Charlotte, and little Gertie.

I first read "All-of-a-Kind Family" as a child, and loved it. Having no sisters myself, I was captivated by the sisters' interactions. Also, growing up in a Christian home, I was unfamili...more
Klippels

All of a Kind Family is a genuine treasure and must read for the family. As we started to read it as a family my daughter Gwyneth enjoyed listening to it so much, she took it during the day and finished it up. I couldn't resist either, I also read ahead and finished it too. Set in the turn of the century this book is simply about a sweet family. There is a mother, father, and five little girls. What I enjoyed so much about this book was the children's adoration for their parents, especially for...more
Sarah Sammis
Back in April I read and reviewed All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown by Sydney Taylor. Having so enjoyed it I went back to read the first in the series, All-of-a-Kind Family.

This first novel introduces the family, five girls, who jokingly call themselves an "all-of-a-kind" family since they don't have any brothers. As with the Uptown novel, the is told as a series of vignettes over the course of a year. One can track the timeline by following the Jewish holidays they celebrate: Passover, Purim and so f...more
Debbie
This series was another of my favorites growing up. Five little girls (and later a brother) are growing up in New York City on the East Side in the early 1900s. They are a Jewish family living in a Jewish community with Papa's synagogue within walking distance of their tiny apartment. Almost everything I knew about Judaism when I was younger came from these books. I loved reading about their celebrations of the different holidays, of the rigorous preparations made lovingly each week for the Sabb...more
Sally
This book is just a pure joy to read. I remember reading and enjoying it as a child, but I must say, even as an adult I was completely swept away into this sweet family's life.

I clearly recall daydreaming about life in the early 1900's the first time I read it and twenty-something years later it sent me straight to daydreaming again.
A stellar children's chapter book that holds up to the test of time!
Chris
I've been going through all these books mentioned in Shelf Discovery, and most of them were just as good as I remember them being. This one let me down a little. It was a little too old fashioned and cutesy for me now. But at the time, they were some of my favorite books. As an only child, I wanted four sisters to play with, and growing up in a small midwestern town made up of Lutherans, Catholics and the occasional exotic Methodist, it taught me all about Jewish people, which I probably knew no...more
Shannon
One of those cute, happy children's books that contains quite a bit of merit. I love the author's respect for "Mama" and Mama's creative incentives for chores. I also loved seeing Mama insist that her Sarah take responsibility for her actions and make wrongs right herself instead of depending on her mother. Culture and history of a time period unfamiliar to most of today's children pleasantly make their entrance. The All-Of-A-Kind Family are practicing Jews in New York City's East side shortly b...more
Emily
Jul 03, 2010 Emily rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone with little girls
Recommended to Emily by: Mom
Of all the books I have fond memories of reading (or having them read to me) as a child-I am most fond of this one. It is the incredibly endearing set of stories about a little Jewish family with 5 girls growing up poor but happy in the East Side of New York. I just read it to Samantha and she loved it as well. I read it so many times as a girl that I still think of some stories on a regular basis-Sarah having to eat the soup before she could having anything else-the lost library book-buying cra...more
Qnpoohbear
At the turn of the 20th century, a family of five little girls, known as the All of a Kind Family, live with their Mama and Papa in the Lower East Side of New York. They enjoy visiting the library and choosing books with the kind library lady; buying and eating treats; poking around Papa's peddler shop; visiting Coney Island and celebrating holidays both American and Jewish.

This story is the first in a series. It's a series of vignettes about the seasonal activities of ordinary girls. The stori...more
Will
"A branch of the New York Public Library was only a few blocks from their home; soon the familiar brown building came into view. Through the high door and up the staircase they went. With each step, Sarah grew more despairing. They'll take my card away, she thought. I just know they will. I'll never be able to take out any more books.

Once inside the room, Sarah hung back, fearing to join the line at the 'in' desk. She looked down the staircase longingly. It would be so easy to run down the stair...more
Martha
I loved this book (and the sequels) when I read them as a young girl. They're a well-written and entertaining account of events in the lives of a Jewish family on the Lower East Side in the early part of the 1900s. Some of the stories have morals, while others just describe life in the era. Strong on details and on character (each character has her own personality and opinions).
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During the second half of the twentieth century, Sydney Taylor's series, the All-of-a-Kind Family books, were the most widely known books about American Jewish children. Read by Jews and non-Jews alike, the books were beloved from the time they were first published and continue to be beloved today. Set in early-twentieth-century New York City, the five books in the series detail the daily lives of...more
More about Sydney Taylor...
All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown (All-of-a-Kind Family, #4) More All-of-a-Kind Family (All-of-a-Kind Family, #3) All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown (All-of-a-Kind Family, #2) Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family (All-of-a-Kind Family, #5) A Papa Like Everyone Else

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