Miriam's Reviews > All-Of-A-Kind Family

All-Of-A-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
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's review
Jul 21, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: children-s, eastern-european-immigration
Read in June, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This is a very enjoyable book, with a simple story composed of vignettes linked together by a few plot threads. I thought that the explanations it provides of the different Jewish holidays were very interesting.

I just had a few quibbles with it. As with many books written during this time period, I felt that there were some stereotypes that could have been avoided. At one point the book mentions how the girls were proud of their slender, graceful mother, who wasn't dumpy like other Jewish women with a lot of children (or words to that effect). Also, there is a scene in the father's junk shop where several men are sitting around a stove, and they are described as a stout Pole, a swarthy Italian, etc. It doesn't ruin the book for me, but if I were to read this with a child, I would use these scenes as an opportunity to talk about how you can't generalize about people.

My other quibble was that the family wasn't really that poor. I've probably read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn too many times, but when I think of a poor family in New York during the early 20th century, this family isn't what comes to mind. The family definitely isn't rich, or even middle class, but they aren't struggling for existence the way a lot of other people probably were. I realize this book was written for children and wasn't going to portray the squalor and despair that may have existed in some areas, but I think the girls could have counted their blessings a little more. That might be another good talking point.

Overall, however, this book provides a solid portrayal of a loving and unified family, and does a good job of setting a scene.

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