Chapter A Night is back! We’ll be reading The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright — join us on Wednesday, March 28th for our Chapter A Night Kick-Off!
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.
Who was Elizabeth Enright?
Elizabeth Enright was a writer and illustrator of classic children’s books. Though she wrote adult stories, her realistic and fantasy literature best captured the experience of childhood. Her stories were remarkable for their humorous and original characters who used the jargon and speech of children. Enright did not focus on the pain and conflicts of her characters as they grew up, but chose for her themes the joys of daily living and the loving support among family members.
Born in Oak Park, Illinois, on September 17, 1909, Enright was an only child. Her parents were artists who moved to New York City soon after Enright was born. Her father drew political cartoons, and her mother illustrated magazines. As a child, Enright attended the Edgewood school at Greenwich, Connecticut, and spent summers at an old house her family owned on Nantucket Island. She also enjoyed visiting her uncle, Frank Lloyd Wright, an important architect of the twentieth century, on his farm in Wisconsin. Her friends were the children of artists, like herself, who lived within walking distance of Washington Square in New York. Enright enjoyed drawing throughout her childhood. She drew faces on her bare knees when she had no drawing paper.
In the 1940s Enright created her most popular characters, the Melendy family. The four books in the series, The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two, marked a turning point for Enright, as she moved from the development of a single heroine to a group of major characters.
On June 8, 1968, Enright died at age fifty-eight. She had written several collections of short stories for adults and an autobiographical work titled Doublefields: Memories and Stories in addition to her contributions to children’s literature. Enright was regarded as “one of the few writers for children who could express herself to them in a natural, sensitive, and literate way,” stated a reviewer for Children’s Literature Review. Eleanor Cameron concluded in Horn Book, “Because the essence of any creator gets back into the system through the work he has left, it comforts me that the essence of Elizabeth Enright as an artist and as a human being will get back year after year through the children, whose minds and imaginations are fresh and hungry and eager.”
“Elizabeth (Wright) Enright.” Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, Gale, 2002. Biography in Context, accessed 28 Sept. 2017.
Plan an Adventure
In the book The "Saturdays" by Elizabeth Enright, the four Melendy children plan their own adventures. They pool their money together so that each week one sibling can do something exciting. Talk with your family about planning an adventure together.
Where will you go? How will you get there? Do you need a lunch? Make a plan and do it! Here are some ideas:
- Backyard campout
- Day hike
- Visit a museum or garden
- Trip to the zoo
- Canoe trip
- Bike trip
- Wander around your neighborhood
- See a play or musical
- Have a picnic
If you need more ideas or motivation, look here:
Consider writing your own short adventure story. Use this video to create your own "Choose Your On Adventure" short comic or story.
Make Something Together
How about making something? In The Saturdays, the members of the Melendy family have many interests: painting, music, and the performing arts in many forms. Have you explored the performing arts? Does your family like to paint, or play music or act in plays? If not, give it a try. Write your own play, or go see something new.
Take some pictures of your family doing these things or on another adventures to share with us! Have fun exploring together. Whether it’s new to the whole family, or a favorite endeavor of one member.
I have been working on learning new crocheting techniques in the past two years. Here’s a picture of my latest creation. Socks for the Three Bears!
Week 3, Ch-ch-ch-changes…
On Saturday Four, Mona decided it was time to make some changes. She went to Etienne and Edward Hairdressers and Beauty Specialists, where she decided to get a haircut.
If you could change something about yourself what would it be? Would your friends and family be surprised? Does changing your outside change your inside?
Don't forget to send to register for our Final Chapter Party which is taking place on April 25th, 6:30-8 p.m.
Ask a parent, grandparent, or another person you love, to tell you a story about a childhood adventure. Did you already know the story? Did the event change your loved one?
Randy met Mrs. Oliphant by chance at the art gallery. Mrs. Oliphant told her about living as a child in France, being kidnapped, and rescued. Mona went to the hair salon where she met Miss Pearl. Miss Pearl had a story about her childhood. She and her brother ran away from home. Together, they left the country for the city. In one chapter, Oliver ran away to see the circus. Talk about where you go if you wanted an adventure. Draw a picture of it, or write a story.
Be sure to RSVP to the Library to attend our Final Chapter Party! The party is on April 25th, from 6:30 – 8.