All-of-a-Kind Family, the mid-century classic Sydney Taylor children’s series of Lower East Side literature, is back!
And not in an “Oh how awful, they tarted up 80’s kid favorite Strawberry Shortcake” kind of way. Lizzie Skurnick has gone from reminiscing fondly about the books for Jezebel to re-releasing the novels—about a loving, working-class Jewish family of five girls and, finally, a baby brother they can all dote on—in all their retro, timeless glory.
Chapter titles are straightforwardly descriptive: “Dusting is Fun,” “Purim Play,” “The Sabbath.” Topics remain mundane: library ladies, Roman candles, getting lost for a minute on Coney Island. Middle children remain boring: whereas the oldest, Ella, is adventurous (responsibly, as befits a good Jewish girl), and the youngest girl, Gertie, is rambunctious and fun, poor Sarah is, in short, the worst.
The charm lives on in the details: the way the girls snuggle in bed together and get dressed around the kitchen stove to keep warm, chomp on pickles and penny candy, and tromp to school. Basically, the series is the big-city answer to Little House on the Prairie, and if you missed it in its first go-round, you now have a chance to make things right.
Curl up with a children’s librarian and hear the stories read aloud: