The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes, was published in 1941 by Harcourt.
I am a huge fan of continuity and chronology, so when I saw that Ginger Pye was on the list of Newbery Medal winners, I knew that I would first have to read the Moffat books that came before it, if only to familiarize myself with the characters. (Note: I now of course realize that Ginger Pye is a completely separate book, but in the moment I forgot!)
I have, of course, read The Moffats before—they were right up there with the Melendy family as my favorite childhood “family.” And even now, after all these years, this book is familiar to me—the hitching post, the sailor’s hornpipe, and the Salvation Army truck were all things that I remembered. Then, of course, there were the things I didn’t remember, like the ghost, the For Sale sign, and the adventurous trip to get coal.
I’m not sure why I enjoy books that are so centered on childhood adventures. Perhaps it’s because I love books that focus on family. Perhaps it’s because the adventures are usually things that are so close to what could actually happen, and yet seem as if they would never happen to anyone. It’s that dance between reality and fiction that I like, I think. It matters that I can see it happening, even if I know it probably would never happen.
I feel as if I am much more familiar with some other Moffat books than this one, but some I have no recollection of at all, so I’m excited to revisit them. I think, perhaps, I enjoy Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy family more—Enright is a better writer—but I can tell that I will really enjoy the Moffats.