Author: Sydney Taylor
Publication Date: 1951 (2005 edition)
Price: $5.99 (Paperback)
Number of Pages: 189
Awards: School Library Journal’s Top 100 Children’s Novels, National Jewish Book Award for Children’s Literature
Genre/Subgenre: Historical fiction
Sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie have adventures and learn lessons in New York City.
Sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte and Gertie are called an “All-of-a-Kind” family because they are each two years apart and they look so much alike. The novel consists of a series of little vignettes about the sisters’ lives – being taught to clean house the right way, visiting their father at his store, learning a lesson at the library and celebrating holidays. The story ends with the sisters getting a new addition to their family – a baby brother!
I loved this book – I completely understand why it is a classic and I can’t wait to read the rest of the “One-of-a-Kind Family” series. It has an old-fashioned charm that won’t necessarily appeal to every young reader, but I think it would be very well-received by readers who enjoy historical fiction, girls in particular.
Why I Chose the Book:
I thought a story about a big Jewish family growing up in New York City at the turn of the century sounded fun and interesting. I also thought the illustrations on the front cover were very cute.
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
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All-of-a-Kind-Family Downtown by Sydney Taylor
More All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor
Book Talk Ideas
In the novel, the family celebrates the Jewish holiday Purim. Host a Purim party in your classroom or library.
1. The “All-of-a-Kind” sisters love to visit the library and see the “Library Lady.” What important lesson does the “Library Lady” teach the girls, and how is she important later in the story?
2. What role does the family’s religion (Judaism) play in the story?
Goodreads (2014). All-of-a-Kind-Family by Sydney Taylor. Retrieved from:
School Library Journal (2012). Top 100 Children’s Novels #55: All-of-a-Kind Family. Retrieved from:
Taylor, S (1951). All-of-a-Kind-Family. New York, NY: Yearling