Then There Were Five

Then There Were Five

4.23 (3,823 ratings by Goodreads)
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With Father in Washington and Cuffy, their housekeeper, away visiting a sick cousin, almost anything might happen to the Melendy kids left behind at the Four-Story Mistake. In the Melendy family, adventures are inevitable: Mr. Titus and the catfish; the villainy of the DeLacey brothers; Rush's composition of Opus 3; Mona's first rhubarb pie and all the canning; Randy's arrowhead; the auction and fair for the Red Cross. But best of all is the friendship with Mark Herron, which begins with a scrap-collection mission and comes to a grand climax on Oliver's birthday.

Here is Elizabeth Enright's classic story of a long and glorious summer in the country with the resourceful, endearing Melendy bunch.

Then There Were Five is the third installment of Enright's Melendy Quartet, an engaging and warm series about the close-knit Melendy family and their surprising adventures.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Paperback | 260 pages
  • 134 x 197 x 18mm | 236g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 3rd ed.
  • Line drawings, black and white
  • 0312376006
  • 9780312376000
  • 18,706

Review quote

"The Melendys are the quintessential storybook family...[their] ardent approach to living is eternally relevant." --Publishers Weekly
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About Elizabeth Enright

Elizabeth Enright (1907-1968) was a talented writer whose many awards include the 1939 John Newbery Medal for Thimble Summer and a 1958 Newbery Honor for Gone-Away Lake. Among her other beloved titles are her books about the Melendy family, beginning with The Saturdays (1941). Enright also wrote short stories for adults, and her work was published in The New Yorker, Cosmopolitan, Harper's, and The Saturday Evening Post.
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Rating details

3,823 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 50% (1,917)
4 30% (1,154)
3 15% (559)
2 3% (101)
1 2% (92)

Our customer reviews

The Melendy children, fifteen year old Mona, fourteen year old Rush, twelve year old Miranda (Randy), and seven and three quarters year old Oliver, live with their father, their housekeeper Cuffy, and their gardner/handyman Willy Sloper, in The Four Story Mistake, an old house in the countryside near the villages of Braxton and Carthage, NY. Mr. Melendy, a widowed professor of economics, has been hired by the government for a secret, World War II related job, and must go off to Washington. Mona likes the theater. Rush is a musician. Randy is into ballet. And Oliver is fascinated with nature. As summer begins, the children, having moved from their city brownstone the previous fall, venture into their new neighborhood with the intention of helping their country. They end up making new friends, such as the Addison children, Mr. Jasper Titus, and especially Mark Herron, a boy about Rush's age, while collecting scrap metal. Mark is under the care of his abusive adult cousin Oren Meeker, who has some rather unsavory associates. Then Cuffy is called away to care for a sick cousin. Next there is a fire at the Meeker farm, and Oren is missing. Is there anything that the Melendys can do to help? What will happen to Mark? I first became acquainted with the works of Elizabeth Enright through her Newbery Medal winner Thimble Summer, and then her Newbery Honor book Gone-Away Lake, both of which I really enjoyed, so I speedily picked up Then There Were Five at a used book sale. The book is actually the third of the "Melendy Family Quartet," four books about the Melendys. Just a good, old-fashioned, fun read about a loving family and children who use their imagination, it is preceded by The Saturdays and The Four-Story Mistake, and followed by Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze. It has been described as the "story of a long and glorious summer in the country with the Melendy family." Aside from one reference to smoking a pipe, the most annoying thing about the book, something that others noticed in their reviews too, is the seemingly inordinate amount of euphemisms ( such as gosh, gee, blamed, golly, heck, darned, confounded, by gum--someone called them "objectionable slang and replacement-swear words;" Mr. Melendy even uses the term "O Lord" once as an interjection). Otherwise, there is little objectionable. However, this is not just a "nice story" about some "cute kids." There is real conflict-an abusive guardian, a fire, even a death. However, there is also a lot of good-natured humor, and in the end everything comes out right. In addition, Enright educates her readers as she entertains them. Thanks to Mark's talent for natural history, we learn about the Perseid meteor shower that comes every August and the poisonous amanita mushroom. And the scene with the social worker is priceless, especially to anyone who has ever adopted or tried to adopt more
by Wayne S. Walker
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