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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  3,981 Ratings  ·  184 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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Popular Answered Questions
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.
Zoe No idea, I have seen them on Amazon but don't know if those are the original covers. Maybe eBay?

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
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Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
Following on from the first book, the Melendy family move from the city to the countryside to live in a house called The Four-Story Mistake. Some of the family were sad to leave New York but soon they all discover the space and the freedom and a whole new load of adventures.

We loved following the children explore their new surroundings, it was lovely to make the discoveries as they did as we hadn't read any reviews with spoilers so everything they found was new to us too. We really enjoy Elizab
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 13, 2009 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
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, so refreshingly ordinary.

And very much a city-kids-in-the-country story, which is delightful.

I must add this quote:
That night the children dreamed all night about Clarinda and the secret room. Mona and Randy and Rush, that is. Oliver dreamed he was driving a Greyhound bus full of policemen across the Brooklyn Bridge.
I love Elizabeth Enright.
R.F. Gammon
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my old favorites.
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
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.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another absolutely charming and delightful Melendy book :-) I really love Elizabeth Enright's writing and how she makes everyday details so special.
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: realism, younger
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
Dec 12, 2011 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
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ao-heo, children
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.
Amy Kannel
Another collection of sweet stories about the Melendy family. These aren't necessarily spectacular, but the writing is great and the characters and their adventures are wholesome and fun. The series works well for road trips with kids.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Like the third volume, which I read before this one, Then There Were Five, this is a year in a small country town seen through the eyes of the four Melendy children. The oldest, Mona, begins to grow up a bit, and she, Rush and Randy (Miranda) are much interested in participating in the War Effort by buying stamps and bonds, and collecting scrap and paper. Again, they "get up a show" to that end, and everyone loves it (of course).

A wee bit too patriotic, but then it was published in wartime. A we
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-to-the-kids
This quote, which I posted to Facebook, neatly sums up my love for this book and series. Still More Adventures.

"The whole family loved Mrs Oliphant. She was kind, and funny, and original. She carried with her the memory of a long life starred with adventures, and you had the feeling that, old as she was, still more adventures lay ahead of her."
The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright
#goals #IwanttobeherwhenIgrowup
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Melendy family moves from the city to a rambling old house in the country, where they have many more adventures.

This series continues in the same charming vein. I may have enjoyed this book even more than the first. Recommended!
Moving to the country! Gonna get a house! Oh no houses are terrible.
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
Apr 24, 2015 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
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
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We read the first in this series (The Saturdays) as part of a book group, and I guess I enjoyed the characters so much that I wanted to read more about them. While I miss the NYC setting here, I felt like this was even more poetically crafted than The Saturdays. It was published in 1942, and I really enjoyed reminding myself (and occasionally being reminded by the story) of the World War II context. I assume these novels were hugely popular 70+ years ago, and I think they still hold up well.
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heard
12/2015 Yes, this is firmly in my favorites list, one I can listen to when I'm at the end of my rope. It just never gets stale.

1/2013 Stellar narration of one of my favorite books. I'm so glad that the Enright books are so available, still. I love all the characters in this book, and I especially love Enright's ability to turn a phrase. Her firefly-spangled nights ring gloriously true. One feels just how cold the brook water is, when Rush plunges in. Highly recommended.
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*
Oct 07, 2014 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.
Jun 11, 2011 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!
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Think of the things you enjoyed as a child, or the things you wished you could do. The Melendy children, among the four of them, probably did those things, or had those same wishes.
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a great book to read when you are sick or you just like adventures and happy endings.❤😊 ...more
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The funny thing is, the first thought I had when I started listening to this (audiobook) was, "This sounds boring, is there going to be any exciting story line to it?"

And then I just kept listening, and the story wound up taking me RIGHT back into my childhood, right back into that state of being a child that we lose in adulthood. Its that state of being that I usually only vaguely but very longingly remember. Its that state of being I am always trying to get back to.

And THIS STORY unlocked th
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These children adapt to change and call for work and sacrifice very well. Along the way, they use their talents and creativity, as well as admire the same in others. They aren’t pictured as perfect, but the reader enthusiastically enjoys spending time with them.

A move from their home at the outskirts of the city to a three-story (it was meant to be four-stories) older home in the country begins this tale. Their friend from the previous book, Mrs. Oliphant, appears to cheer and help them as they
Soraya Keiser
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I just love nostalgia. I am pretty sure I have been born in the wrong decade because I would love to live like the Melendy's do. Their life is so charming and beautiful. This book is so well written and fun!
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the first Melendy Family book was pretty OK but this one was even more meh than the last for me. Maybe I'm just burnt out on the quirky kids series for the time being, but nevertheless, I never got too interested in any of the four children.
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Nostalgia 1 18 Aug 06, 2008 11:17AM  
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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.” 12 likes
“He couldn't stop smelling the air in great, deep, loud sniffs. It was so delicious. It smelled of water, and mud, and maple trees, and autumn.” 11 likes
More quotes…