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The Saturdays

The Saturdays

Автором Elizabeth Enright

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The Saturdays

Автором Elizabeth Enright

4.5/5 (16 оценки)
164 pages
2 hours
Nov 10, 2015


Meet the Melendys! The four Melendy children live with their father and Cuffy, their beloved housekeeper, in a worn but comfortable brownstone in New York City. There's thirteen-year-old Mona, who has decided to become an actress; twelve-year-old mischievous Rush; ten-and-a-half-year-old Randy, who loves to dance and paint; and thoughtful Oliver, who is just six.

Tired of wasting Saturdays doing nothing but wishing for larger allowances, the four Melendys jump at Randy's idea to start the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club (I.S.A.A.C.). If they pool their resources and take turns spending the whole amount, they can each have at least one memorable Saturday afternoon of their own. Before long, I.S.A.A.C. is in operation and every Saturday is definitely one to remember.

Written more than half a century ago, The Saturdays unfolds with all the ripe details of a specific place and period but remains, just the same, a winning, timeless tale. The Saturdays is the first installment of Enright's Melendy Quartet, an engaging and warm series about the close-knit Melendy family and their surprising adventures.

Nov 10, 2015

Об авторе

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 quickly demonstrated a talent, for writing.  Throughout her life, she won many awards, including the 1939 John Newbery Medal for Thimble Summer and a 1958 Newbery Honor for Gone-Away Lake. Among her other beloved titles are her books about the Melendy family, including The Saturdays, published in 1941. Enright also wrote short stories for adults, and her work was published in The New Yorker, The Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, The Yale Review, Harper’s, and The Saturday Evening Post. She taught creative writing at Barnard College. Translated into many languages throughout the world, Elizabeth Enright's stories are for both the young and the young at heart.

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The Saturdays - Elizabeth Enright

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For Lisa


Quite often I receive letters from children asking to know if the Melendys are real. Are Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver really alive? they ask. Or were they ever? Was there once a real Cuffy, or a real Isaac? Or a house called the Four-Story Mistake?

The answers to these questions are mixed. It must be admitted that such a family, made of flesh and blood, whom one could touch, talk to, argue with, and invite to parties, does not actually exist. Yet in other ways, as I shall try to show, each of these people is at least partly real.

Once, when I was a child, I heard of a family named Melendy. I do not know how many children were in this family, or what kind of people they were; but for some reason I liked their name and stored it away in my mind to borrow for the Four-Story children at a much later date. So they began, at least, with a real name.

As I went along I borrowed other things: qualities, habits, remarks, events. I borrowed them from my children, from my own childhood, even from the dogs we have had; and from the conversations and recollections of many of our friends and relatives.

Mona and Randy, for instance, are partly made of things I remember about myself as a child (only the better things, of course), and things that I wish I had been, and that I would like to have had in daughters of my own. In Mona I also recognize my dearest cousin, a well as my roommate in boarding school who was going to be an actress, and who was frequently discovered acting the part of Joan of Arc in front of the bathroom mirror.

In Randy I recognize two of my long-ago best friends, as well as two of my long-ago best wishes: to be a dancer and to be an artist.

In Oliver I have borrowed liberally from the things I know and remember about my sons, and from many other little boys besides. Large patches of him are invented, of course, which is also true of the others. I never knew of a boy of six, for instance, who got away with an adventure like Oliver’s Saturday excursion, but on the other hand I have been intimately concerned with a boy who collected moths just as ardently as Oliver did. The whole family was involved in this hobby of his: all of us went through the grief of caterpillars lost, strayed or perished; through the inconvenience of cocoons hung up in the wrong places, and the foragings by flashlight for special leaves to feed ravenous larvae while the forgetful collector slept in deepest calm.

Reminders of my sons’ characters also occur in that of Rush, though not so often as in the case of Oliver. In Rush I trace memories of other boys I knew: one who played the piano marvelously well, and one who was a curly-haired rascal with a large vocabulary and a propensity for getting into, and neatly out of, trouble.

Cuffy is someone I knew when I was five years old, and someone else I knew when I was twelve. One of them was rather cross, the other very gentle. Both of them were fat people, elderly, and, in their different ways, knew how to love children so that they felt comfortable and cozy.

Father is composed of several fathers of my acquaintance, all of them kind and hard-working and deeply interested in their children.

As for Isaac, except for the fact that he is a male and not pure-blooded, he is exactly like our own fat freckled cocker spaniel who was gloriously won in a raffle by the father in our family.

The house which is called the Four-Story Mistake is made out of several queer old interesting houses that I have seen and is set in the kind of country which I have enjoyed the most: country with plenty of woods, hills, streams, and valleys.

Wishing has played a large part in these stories too, as you can see. The Melendys have and do all the things I would have liked to have and do as a child. There are plenty of them, for one thing, and I was an only child. They live in the country all year round, for another, and I lived in the city for most of it. They discovered a secret room, built a tree house, found a diamond, escaped from dangers, effected rescues, gave elaborate theatrical performances at the drop of a hat, got lost, and did many other striking things, all of which I would have liked to do.

So the Melendys, you see, are a mixture. They are made out of wishes and memory and fancy. This I am sure is what all the characters in books are made of; yet while I was writing about these children they often seemed to me like people that I knew; and when you are reading the stories of their trials and adventures I hope that you, too, will sometimes feel that they are real.

Elizabeth Enright, 1947


Saturday One

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.

But it isn’t enough just to have it plain rain, continued Rush in the same tone. Oh, no. Today it has to go and be a sousing slopping pouring wet kind of rain that you can’t do anything about; not even if you put on a lot of truck like rubbers.

He was quite right. It was a very wet rain. It plinked and splashed and ran in long curly streams down the skylight. The windows were speckled and running, and occasional drops even fell down the chimney and hissed into the fire. All the city sounds that could be heard above the rain were wet sounds; the long whish of passing automobiles, damp clopping of horses’ hoofs, and the many voices, deep, or high, or husky, that came hooting and whistling out of the murky rivers at either side of the city.

"It is disgusting, agreed Randy wholeheartedly from the trapeze where she was sitting. There’s nothing to do!"

But Oliver took no part in the discussion for he was perfectly happy. He was drawing pictures at his own little table which had been Mona’s little table first, and then Rush’s and then Randy’s, all depending on who was small enough to fit at the time. He was drawing with his whole being—red in the face, tongue between his teeth, feet wrapped around chair legs. It was intensely hard work. The pictures were of battleships, only they all looked exactly like teapots because they had such big spout-shaped bows and great steamy plumes of smoke coming out of the tops of them. But Oliver was very pleased with them, and whenever he made an especially good one he stuck it into the wall beside him with a thumbtack; there were about seven pinned up already.

There were four Melendy children. Mona was the eldest. She was thirteen, and had two long thick butter-colored braids that she was always threatening to cut off. Rush came next, he was twelve; dark, with mussy hair and a look of mischievous wickedness. Miranda (always called Randy) was ten and a half, with dark untidy hair like Rush’s. And Oliver was the youngest, six years old; a calm and thoughtful person.

The room in which they were sitting might have been called a playroom, schoolroom or nursery by most people. But to the Melendys it was known as the Office. It was at the very top of the house so that they could make almost all the noise they wanted to and it had everything such a room should have: a skylight and four windows facing east and north, and a fireplace with a basket-shaped grate. The floor was covered with scarred red linoleum that didn’t matter, and the yellow walls were encrusted with hundreds of indispensable objects: bookcases bursting with books, pictures both by the Melendy children and less important grown-up artists, dusty Indian war bonnets, a string of Mexican devil masks, a shelf of dolls in varying degrees of decay, coats and hats hanging on pegs, the leftover decorations from Mona’s birthday party, and other articles too numerous to mention. In one corner of the room stood an old upright piano that always looked offended, for some reason, and whose rack was littered with sheets of music all patched and held together with Scotch tape.

In addition to various chairs, tables, and toy cupboards there was a big dingy sofa with busted springs, a blackboard, a trapeze, and a pair of rings. That was all but I think you will agree that it was enough. The Melendys seemed to go on and on collecting precious articles that they could never bear to throw away. The Office was their pride and joy, and what it lacked in tidiness it more than made up for in color and comfort and broken-down luxuries such as the couch and the piano. Also it was full of landmarks. Any Melendy child could have told you that the long scars on the linoleum had been made by Rush trying out a pair of new skates on Christmas afternoon, 1939; or that the spider-shaped hole in the east window had been accomplished by Oliver throwing the Milk of Magnesia bottle; or that the spark holes in the hearth rug had occurred when Mona tossed a bunch of Chinese firecrackers into the fire just for fun. Melendy history was written everywhere.

There’s that leak again, said Rush in a tone of lugubrious satisfaction. It’s getting bigger than it was last time even. Boy, will Cuffy be burned up! He lay staring at the ceiling. It’s a funny shape, he remarked. Like some kind of a big fat fish. And there’re lots of other old dried-out leaks that have funny shapes. I can see a thing like a heart, and a thing like a baseball mitt, and a kind of a lopsided Greyhound bus.

You’ve missed Adolf Hitler, though, said Randy, thumping down off the trapeze and lying on the rug beside him. See up there? That long fady line is his nose, and those two little chips are his eyes, and that dark place where you threw the plasticine is his mustache.

I’m going to throw some more plasticine and make it into George Bernard Shaw, said Rush.

Who’s he? inquired Randy.

Oh, a man with a beard, said Rush. I’d rather look at him than Hitler.

Mona put down

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16 оценки / 13 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright was one of the titles mentioned in the Excellent Books for Early and Eager Readers that I reviewed not too long ago and one of the first from my holds list that I picked up to read. Firstly, even though this book was written in the 1940s it's still very readable for a contemporary middle grade (or adult in my case) audience. The book follows the 4 Melendy children (Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver) who are described (and drawn) with loving detail by the author along with their father, Cuffy the housekeeper, and Willy Sloper the handyman. The basic premise of the book (which is the first in a 4 part series by the way) is that the four children form a club to stave off their boredom wherein they pool their weekly allowances so that every Saturday they can each afford to go on solo adventures and do something that they really want to do (but which will likely not appeal to anyone else). Their interests much like their personalities were realistic for the time period in which the book was written although they feel somewhat far-fetched in comparison to today's children (one of the kids is obsessed with opera). Each of their Saturday adventures comes complete with peril (of the lightest variety) and life lessons learned so that there are built-in morals (sometimes heavy-handed) built into the narrative. I liked it but it's probably not going to be the first book I think of to recommend...unless the kid really digs the opera in which case I am ready. 6/10
  • (5/5)
    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 a ticket to the opera or ballet, and various other adventures besides. Along the way, they also discover that the most enjoyable experiences are sometimes serendipitous (and free), and they make many new friends on their adventures.This was lovely! I don’t know how I missed these charming stories until now. I ran across a mention of them in comparison to The Penderwicks, which is certainly apt. I’d also recommend them to fans of E. Nesbit, Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family, and Noel Streatfeild. I wish I could go back and recommend them to my childhood self!
  • (5/5)
    A childhood favorite that still brings a sense of joy and peace.
  • (4/5)
    Another favorite from childhood, which Mom passed to me (I passed it back when I found my own copy).
  • (5/5)
    Such a fantastic, classic, children's book. Funny that I only read it for the first time at age 31. When I was a kid, I really enjoyed and actually sought out books that took place in New York City. I found it so thrilling to read about city kids and their adventures taking the subway and walking around Central Park. This story is so sweet and funny and really, really well written.
    I can't wait to read more Elizabeth Enright.
  • (5/5)
    The first and perhaps the best of a series about a family of talented, independent-minded children growing up in the 1940s. In this first book they are living in New York and by pooling their allowances they give each child a Saturday adventure. I enjoyed these stories as a child and still do; my wife who did not know them as a child read them for the first time recently and also enjoyed them.
  • (5/5)
    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 the Gypsies. But Willy Sloper on opera is classic, and close to my heart.

    Seriously, just read this book, okay?

    1/10 Re-read of an old favorite. I love it, but not as much as I love the Gone-Away books. It's somewhat dated, but not in a painful way. It's particularly odd to read about a family who lives in New York City who have a house and a yard and who are decidedly not rich.

    This book feels less like a whole book to me now and more like an introduction to the family who one comes to adore over the next two books. It's a capsule, a moment, and a series of character sketches. All of the characters are interesting but it's the barest hint of what comes next, how we come to know them in The Four Story Mistake and Then There Were Five. I will confess publicly to having no memory whatsoever of Spiderweb For Two, though I remember carrying it home from the library in my daisy-adorned bicycle basket.

    I'm impressed with the sheer staying power Enright's images have- so many things I remembered as crisply as if I'd read them for the first time last week. Who can forget Randy on the trapeze in the Office? Or Oliver at the circus? Cuffy's teeth in a glass? The vignettes are very vivid, and in a lot of ways I think this book is a love poem to a vanished New York.
  • (5/5)
    The Melendys consist of 4 children: Rush, Mona, Randy and Oliver, one housekeeper, Cuffy, and one largely busy with his own life Dad. The mother is dead. Action takes pace in 1941 in a brownstone on 57th St. in Manhattan.

    The chldren, aged 13, 12, 10 and 6, receive an allowance every week. They decide to pool their resources on rainy saturdays so that each child gets a chance to use the whole amount on whatever she likes. With permission from the father, the children may leave the house on their own so long as they return by 5:30 for supper.

    Saturday 1 Randy goes to an art gallery to look at French paintings, runs into Mrs. Oliphant, a family acquaintance, who treats her to tea and stories.

    Saturday 2 Rush goes ot the opera, and finds a dog.

    Saturday 3 Mona gets her day of beauty.

    Saturday 4 Oliver goes to the circus

    Saturday 5 there is a picnic, with gas poisoning back home

    Saturday 6 tea with Mrs. Oliphant and an invitation for the summer

    Saturday The Lighthouse for the summer. Renovations to the house.

    Just about the most charming book ever.
  • (3/5)
    In the early 40s, a quartet of resourceful siblings pool their allowance money so that each Saturday, one of them can do something fun in the city. They also manage to almost burn their own house down. Twice.
  • (5/5)
    I ran into a comment about this book and remembered reading the Melendy Family Quartet many, many years ago. I was addicted to Nancy Drew mysteries and my Mother took me to the bookstore and told me I could pick out any book as long as it wasn't Nancy Drew. I remembered loving this book and, over the years, have remembered many scenes from the books. So I bought them again to see if they were as good as I remembered. They were -- admittedly they're very much of their time (1940's) but the warmth and fun is there and ageless. I'd recommend these books to any child (and, frankly, any adult looking for a little innocent fun). All of the first three books are about the same in quality -- the only one that can be skipped is Spiderweb for Two -- which suffered a little from the lack of two of the four children.
  • (5/5)
    This is such a cute book! Four siblings are bored, bored, bored on a Saturday. While they all receive an allowance, it's not enough for them to each do something every weekend. They decide to form the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club. Every Saturday they pool their allowances and one Melendy child gets to spend the entire day doing something adventurous of his or her choosing. Ten and half year old Randy goes to the museum to look at art and meets Mrs. Oliphant on the first Saturday. Twelve year old Rush goes to the opera and finds a dog (who he names Isaac, get it?) on the second Saturday. Mona, the only teenager in the bunch, gets her hair cut. Even young Oliver at six years old sneaks to the circus when it is his turn.
  • (4/5)
    Summary:The Melendys are a family that live in a brownstone in New York City. Their family is made up of Mona, Rush, Miranda, Oliver, their father, and their housekeeper Cuffy. Cuffy is seen to the children as taking on many different roles ranging from a cook, nurse, mother, grandmother, and an aunt.Review:This book is an intermediate level reading book which addresses the family topic of single-parent households. Like many single-parent households, the children of the Melendy family have a guardian role model which is not one of their parents. Their housekeeper Cuffy has been taking care of all of there needs as we commonly see grandparents doing to children. Book is an easier read for students of this reading level.
  • (4/5)
    The Melendy kids are such a delight. The Saturdays makes a great children's book. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the quartet.