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The Saturdays

(The Melendy Family #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  8,113 ratings  ·  559 reviews
Saturdays can make dreams come true when the Melendy
children take turns to spend their pooled allowances. Actor Mona 13 recites poetry and Shakespeare at the drop of a hat. Engineer Rush 12, mischievous, builds Meccano bridges. Miranda "Randy" 10 dances and paints pictures. Oliver, 6, calm and thoughtful, is a train engineer. Father writes. Housekeeper Cuffy mothers.
Hardcover, 177 pages
Published 2002 by Henry Holt and Company (first published 1941)
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Amanda If you like Edward Eager or Eleanor Estes, you'll like this.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) That's too subjective. I liked it, you might hate it. All you can do is try and see. If you don't want to spend money on a book you're not sure about,…moreThat's too subjective. I liked it, you might hate it. All you can do is try and see. If you don't want to spend money on a book you're not sure about, check your local library.(less)

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4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,113 ratings  ·  559 reviews

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Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Hilary by: Lisa Vegan
We loved reading about this family of two sisters, two brothers, dad, and Cuffy who has looked after the family since their mum died.

We were sent a different book than the one we had paid for ( was refunded and told to keep the book) sadly this copy had a hideous cover, even worse than the one pictured here ( why do they feel the need to replace a beautiful old cover with something new but much worse? it happens all the time) which also meant it had no illustrations.

After a page or two we reall
Sep 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
6/11 Re-read. I don't know if I think this book is practically perfect because I know it by heart, because I love each and every one of the characters, or because the writing is stellar. Maybe all of those things. Enright was a genius, and it makes me sad when people have never heard of her.

This time through, the Isaac-the-dog storyline seemed somehow more touching than usual. I love Mona's sadder-but-wiser moment, and Oliver's adventure. But my favorite favorite is the story of Gabrielle and th
Elizabeth Enright captures the drama, joy, and adventure of childhood in the books that make up her Melendy family series—true classics of children’s literature. The Saturdays , originally published in 1941 and the first novel in the series, introduces us to the New York City based family: Mona (13), Rush (12), Miranda/“Randy” (10), Oliver (6), Mr. Melendy (a writer), Cuffy (the beloved housekeeper), and Willy Sloper (the handyman, who maintains the old coal furnace).

The story begins on a rain
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing

See, I wouldn't really describe this book as "amazing," not because it's NOT amazing, but because "amazing" seems too modern a word for a book which was published in the nineteen thirties or forties; the word seems wrong somehow. These were really, really swell (see, that's more fitting for the time period) books. They're like an extinct species. Authors just don't write like this anymore. Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling....all of my favorite authors, practically, the ones from this age anyway, t
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A favorite preteen read that I believe I obtained as part of a Scholastic Book Club Reprint. I'd love to get a copy of this book again because it was so much fun.
Sweet story. The Melendy family is a good example on how to treat each other and admit your faults. I definitely recommend this for all kids.
Mariah Mead
Oct 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rereading this classic was wonderful! The Melendy's are a delightful bunch, full of spunk, fun and have a tendency to get into trouble.
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was not an obvious choice as a read-aloud for a nine-year-old boy (it was one of those times when I didn't have a book for him waiting on deck, and had to delve into my own shelves in desperation), but it worked surprisingly well, even the beauty parlor chapter. T laughed a great deal at Rush's witticisms, which surprised me -- I know the book so nearly by heart, I'd almost forgotten that a lot of his lines are meant to be funny and surprising, and not as inevitable as the rising and settin ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
Elizabeth Enright's books are exactly the kind I would want to write if I wrote children's books. And her characters' adventures are exactly the kind I would want to have if I could be a kid again.
The Melendy Family series has always been one of the most beloved, influential, and significant books of my childhood and my life. I first read it at a very young age, and read it over and over and over again in the following years. It's remained a top favorite ever since. Reading these books again feels like coming home, and I feel like I know the characters as well as I know my own family. I remember almost every single chapter and scene so vividly. Somehow, it's been years and years since I l ...more
HP Saucerer
This was such a satisfying and wholesome read. What an absolute joy it was spending time in the company of the delightful Melendy family.

The story transports us back in time to 1930s New York, where we meet the four Melendy children: Oliver, Rush, Randy and Mona. Tired of wasting their Saturdays doing nothing, the children decide to pool their allowances and take turns having adventures in the Big Apple. Each fun-filled adventure is brought to life vividly through beautiful description and is ch
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Enright is a treasure. This is funny and warm and happy and exciting - and really well-written - and a great example of the "summer book" genre -

I have no idea why it took me so long to reread this.

By the way, Mona gets her hair cut and styled and her nails done for $1.50. Times have changed.

This was published in 1941, and there are two mentions of Hitler and one of Mussolini and the Blitz. Mostly, though, the Melendys run around in a glorious idyllic sprawling city, where the days ar
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"It would have to rain today," said Rush, lying flat on his back in front of the fire. "On a Saturday. Certainly. Naturally. Of course. What else would you expect? Good weather is for Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday; and rain's for Saturday and Sunday, and Christmas vacation and Easter."

"Oh, Rush, do stop grousing," said Mona, turning a page peacefully. She wasn't even listening to what he said; all she heard was the grumble in his voice. (3)

Thus starts The Saturdays, Enright's first bo
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Quartet of books are ostensibly children's books, but they are much more than that.

I read The Saturdays with my son when he was about 6 years old and we enjoyed it very much. This last year I read it again with my 5 year old daughter and it has only gotten better on the second pass.

The story is of four children from the ages of 6 to 13 in 1930s New York City who have decided to pool their weekly allowance. Each week one then takes the pool to use the money to go on a
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Delightful. 1941 - four siblings decide to pool their allowance and each Saturday one takes it all (a whopping $1.50) to do something special - go to a museum, an opera, the circus. A Very special book filled with great warmth and good humor. Episodic and easy to read, this is a classic for good reason.
An Odd1
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Mixed feelings, upped rating after considered comments.

Adults who allow and encourage cruelty to children is not acceptable here. Housekeeper Cuffy "fat in a nice, comfortable way" p 9, with harsh soap scrubs, makes baths and hair painful. Mona 13 spends her fair share of pooled Saturday allowances on professional haircut and manicure. I had the same too-heavy long blonde braid, private exhilaration, public approbation. Manicures heal and prevent infected fingernails. Called "silly .. vain" p 98
JG (The Introverted Reader)
What a fun story of a sweet little family! I had never heard of this series before but it's apparently a classic. Fans of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall should absolutely pick this up.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charming! I'm a little bothered by how the family reacts to Mona's outing, but other than that, I really enjoyed being with the Melendy Family.

2019 challenge: A book by an author whose first and last names start with the same letter
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In The Saturdays we are introduced to the Melendy family. There's an often absent but loving father; a strict but kind housekeeper/cook/nanny, and of course the children: Thirteen-year-old Mona who is going to be an actress; Twelve year old Rush, a piano prodigy who wants to make music AND be an engineer; Randy (Miranda) age 10 1/2, who dances like a fairy and wants to be both an artist and a dancer; Olivier, age 6, thoughtful and determined. Bored with their ordinary lives, the Melendys decide ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy live in New York City with their father and a housekeeper. The city is full of sights to see and great experiences, especially for children who dream of becoming dancers, actors, and musicians, but it’s also a bit expensive when you only get an allowance of fifty cents a week. One rainy Saturday, Randy gets the idea of pooling their resources: each Saturday, one of the four will get all of the allowances, resulting in a sum that, in the 1940s, is enough for ...more
Brandon Miller
Mar 06, 2019 rated it liked it
When I finished this last night I was like... well that was a long ramble of pleasant words. Was it a story? Maybe? Was it believable in any sense of the term? No, though I do believe that there is a special place in a six-year-old child's imagination where an unsupervised trip to the circus would go that smoothly. Was there any semblance of a plot or an obstacle to overcome? No, not really.
Did any of those things keep me from enjoying the read? Ha, no.
These words (rambling as they may have been
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had read the rest of the series but had somehow skipped this first one, so I finally read it and enjoyed it immensely!
Luisa Knight

Attitudes/Disobedience - 8 Incidents: A girl tells a lie because “she was enjoying being difficult.”
A girl disobeys her father in order to see the circus. She gets kidnapped and learns her lesson.
A girl decides to get a short haircut and get her nails polished even though she was aware that her father would not approve. (There is a discussion about outward beauty with her nanny and father later). A boy and girl decide to run away from an abusive step-mother. A girl is upset and whe
Maureen E
The Saturdays is one of those books that I read over and over again when I was younger. Like Swallows and Amazons, it had a family doing adventurous things that I would never have the chance to, partly because of the accidents of location. (Believe me, I tried to make up for it–remind me to tell you how I made my sister pretend to be Nancy and Peggy Blackett with me.) Anyway, the Melendys were always an enchanting family. Despite being the oldest, and therefore having a great deal of sympathy fo ...more
Leah Beecher
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a very charming book. Very old fashioned without being too out of touch. A simple tale of four children living in NYC during the 1930s. Like almost all books set before circa 1980s it shows children who know how to entertain themselves, creatively. I love this, and have long tried to impress this on my children. Reading books that show children doing just that makes for great reading. The author, Elizabeth Enright in her introduction confesses being an only child, but perfectly pegs what ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Juliana by: Children's Books Group
I always like children stories like this, when everything was so much simpler. No TV, no cellphone, no video games. Just the children, sometimes with the dog, and the backyard or playground.

Reading The Saturdays reminds me a lot of my own childhood. I am so lucky to have been raised in a small city in Papua island, in the east of Indonesia. Our house was near the sea. The beach was only 10-15 minutes walk. I remember watching the sun rises from our windows. Running around and playing in the dirt
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Somehow I missed out on Elizabeth Enright while I was growing up, an oversight I intend to avoid for my children! "The Saturdays" is exactly what children's literature should be: innocent, erudite, interesting, and fun. I enjoyed reading about a New York City in which 10 year olds could be allowed out on their own without anyone calling the cops having the parents arrested for endangerment and neglect. And I loved the fact that what our kids wanted to do on their days off was visit an art museum ...more
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love these books. I hate, hate, hate the new covers. Hate. What in the world could be better than Maginel's little girl's watercolors? Ahem.

Oh how I love Enright's books. This one has a special place in my heart, naturally. They all do. This one has the alligator! Oliver! The bob! The opera- though even Enright failed to make me appreciate opera in real life.

One must never forget Enright's keen eye for botanizing. One can rest assured that if Enright says it's blooming, then it is in fact bloo
Jan 02, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Kathryn by: Quasar
Shelves: stalled
March 28, 2008 Well, as this is a library book and as I'm becoming toooo busy with wedding-preparations, I have to stall on this one. But, I'll hope to return someday as it began very sweetly.

So nice to read a book about children who knew how to be creative with thier childhoods; knew how to play and be imaginative. (This was written in the early 40s!) So far, reminds me a bit of an "All-of-a-Kind Family" sort of tale. We shall see how it progresses...
Amy Kannel
Sweet, lighthearted story about four likable children and their adventures in 1940s New York City (which are nearly impossible to fathom...9yo going out on her own for the day?!?). My 8yo wasn't super into this but the 5yo *loved* it and was begging to listen to more Melendy stories.
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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

Other books in the series

The Melendy Family (4 books)
  • The Four-Story Mistake (The Melendy Family, #2)
  • Then There Were Five (The Melendy Family, #3)
  • Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze
“All over the city lights were coming on in the purple-blue dusk. The street lights looked delicate and frail, as though they might suddenly float away from their lampposts like balloons. Long twirling ribbons of light, red, green, violet, were festooned about the doorways of drugstores and restaurants--and the famous electric signs of Broadway had come to life with glittering fish, dancing figures, and leaping fountains, all flashing like fire. Everything was beautiful. Up in the deepening sky above the city the first stars appeared white and rare as diamonds.” 4 likes
“And for heaven’s sake don’t play Bach,” ordered Randy. “It’s so jumpy for today.” Rush” 0 likes
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