Friday, March 14, 2014

A Tribute to Elizabeth Enright

Today I have another great children's author.  Elizabeth Enright was truly magnificent.  I think she was one of the most clever authors of children's literature that I have ever read.  I also think that her writing is a great peek into the American 1940s and 50s.  Let's do an overview of some of my favorites of her writing, shall we?

She wrote two books called Gone Away Lake and Return to Gone Away.

They are two stories of a life-long dream of mine.  In this story, Portia and her brother, Foster, go to visit their cousin Julian in the country.  Portia and Julian discover a dried up lake and a row of Victorian lake homes. The meet the lovable sister and brother Mrs. Cheever and Mr. Payton.  They have wonderful adventures exploring the old houses full of old clothes (eek!), furniture, and fantastic cubby-holes.  In the second book, Return to Gone-Away, Portia and her family buy one of the old estates, renovate it, and turn it into their home.

One of the wonderful illustrations from the book.

The Melendys is another wonderful book set in about 4 siblings in the 40s. Their names are Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver.  Aren't those interesting and pretty names?
There are 4 books written about the children and it is some of the best writing I think I have ever read.
Here's a link from this blog with wonderful quotes from the Melendys.

My copy is a pretty, old one with lovely illustrations, but this is the only one I could find online.


The Saturdays is about the 4 Melendy children and the clever way they spend their Saturdays.  They agree to pool their money, and each Saturday one of the siblings gets to go on some outing.  Along the way they meet people and have all kinds of adventures.

The Four Story Mistake is the story of the Melendys moving to an old country house.  The house is every child's dream with a huge attic and a huge basement full of treasures.  At their new home, they skate on the frozen brook, make new friends, milk goats, and hold a huge auction to raise money for war bonds.

In Then There Were Five, the children get a new sibling named Mark who lived on a neighboring farm with his dastardly cousin.  They have more adventures like those in The Four Story Mistake.

In Spider Web For Two, Mark, Rush, and Mona have all gone to boarding school.  Randy and Oliver are lonely, and so their father puts together a list of clues leading to a big surprise.  I didn't enjoy this one as well, maybe because the three older ones weren't there.  The four children balanced each other so well and I felt that lack of balance in this book.

Enright wrote many more children's books, but these are the two series that I loved the most.  If you pick up one of her books, be sure to set aside a hefty chunk of time, because you won't want to stop reading once you start.