The Saturdays is written by Elizabeth Enright. It was first published in 1941 by Henry Holt; the one I read is the 1997 Puffin edition. This is the first book in Enright’s Melendy family quartet. Learn more about Enright and her books here.
“Imagine if you had one day a week that was all your own, with enough money to do whatever you wanted…
The four Melendys do. In fact, they’ve started their own club, I.S.A.A.C. (the Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club). They’ll pool their allowances, and each Saturday one of them will explore New York City—where there are enough things to do for a lifetime of adventures. And no one knows how to have adventures like Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver Melendy!”
What I Liked:
As much as I love the Gone-Away books, I love this series even more. I’ve read it so many times that I know the lines, the scenes, etc. The Melendy family is like an old friend that I go to visit every once in a while, and enjoy spending time with them every time.
This book is funny, much funnier (in my opinion) than Gone-Away, but maybe that’s because there’s simply more people in it (or seems to be more people, anyway). The Melendy children all have their own quirks, their own interests and dislikes, and that makes them seem much more like real people. The dialogue is also very realistic and seems more like things that children will actually say and think and do.
I absolutely love the oldies feel to it (this is set in the WWII era, and was published during the same time) and the absence of PC. I love that the kids can walk in New York City by themselves, that policemen are viewed in a positive light (rather than the often negative, manipulative, or incompetent light found in a lot of children’s and YA books today), and the old expressions, technology, etc. I love the family’s outrage at Mona’s painted nails. I love the stories, the shenanigans, the small bits of drama. I simply love everything about this book (and the series, for that matter).
What I Didn’t Like:
Recommended Age Range: 10+
Genre: Children’s, Realistic
“If you do get lost,” she continued, “you can always go up and ask—”
“A policeman!” shouted Mona and Randy and Rush in unison.
“Do you think it’s polite to take the words right out of people’s mouths?” inquired Cuffy, pretending to be offended. “And another thing—”
“DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS!” they cried.
“Well,” said Cuffy, giving up. “I can’t say much for your manners but I’m glad to see you’ve got the right ideas at least.”
“What about strange policemen?” said Rush, looking innocent.
“I guess I’m going to get a scolding when I go home,” Oliver told the policeman. “Maybe I’ll get a spanking too.” All the shine was gone off the day.
“Why, what did you do?”
“Will you promise not to arrest me?” said Oliver cautiously.
“I doubt if it will be necessary,” said the policeman, so Oliver told him.
“Well, I’ll let your family take care of the penalty,” the policeman decided. “It’s a very serious offense all right, but it seems to me you’ve been punished almost enough as it is.”
The traffic cop at Fifth Avenue looked at the mounted policeman and Oliver and said, “You’ve run in another big-time gang leader, I see.”
The Saturdays is a wonderful beginning to the Melendy family quartet. It’s a classic children’s book, to be sure, and one that is incredibly realistic in its dialogue and scenes. You will immediately fall in love with the characters and eagerly await their next adventure. Enright knows how to make a book interesting, and keep it interesting, for people of all ages.
You can buy this here: The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet)