All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown

by Sydney Taylor

Book, 1958



Call number

J 501 TAY



New York, NY Madison Publishing Associates 1958


The further adventures of five sisters and their baby brother growing up in New York during World War I.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Lisa2013
recommended for: all readers who’ve read and enjoyed All-of-a-Kind family & More All-of-a-Kind Family

I loved being back with this family.

Hilarious first chapter!

Henny grew on me a bit in this book because she’s the one who’s so good with youngest sibling and only brother Charlie. It’s
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always been Sarah & Ella and Charlotte & Gertie and now I feel as though Henny has a pairing too. Also, I admired Henny’s role in the play and her ability to work with others and help implement original ideas.

It was fun to watch the kids grow up. I’m still particularly fond of Sarah, and of Ella, but all the daughters had a bit of the spotlight in this book.

I’m still deciding whether or not to read the Downtown and Ella books. I’ve loved the original, More, and this Uptown so much, and I’ve been told the other two have a different writing style. They were written long after the three I’ve read. Some people have recommended I skip them; others have encouraged me to read them. If I do read the remaining two books, it’s likely that it won’t be in the near future.

In this book, I learned a bit about what the WWI era was like in NYC.

As with the other books in this series, this book would make for a perfect family (or classroom) and/or bedtime read aloud. Each chapter works wonderfully on its own, as a short story, while at the same time contributing to the novel as a whole.
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LibraryThing member MerryMary
The five sisters (whose surname is never mentioned - how odd) are growing up. Ella, the oldest, has a boyfriend, and all of the girls have school adventures and go to parties. The stories still show us what Jewish life was like at that time and place - although the place has changed from the East
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Side to the Bronx.

Part of the story arc concerns Ella and a boy she meets named Jules. She and Jules and her friend Grace and his friend Bill have a glorious day sightseeing in New York before the boys ship out for France in World War I. Ella's efforts to occupy her time with a boyfriend "Over There," and her increasing family responsibilities when Mama is ill show her maturing into a well-rounded young lady. By the end of the book, Bill is missing in action and Jules is wounded. The homecoming chapter is especially well done, and happy endings seem assured.
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LibraryThing member suesbooks
Another in the series providing much learning about life in the Lower East Side and Bronx communities of traditional Jews. The humor and love are very endearing and help to mitigate the sexism that was so prevalent then. My grandson enjoyed it for his second time, and that is what is important.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
From the hilarious opening chapter to the triumphant final one, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown draws the reader in, involving her once again in the lives of the eponymous All-of-a-Kind Family (surname: unknown). Having now moved to the leafier Bronx, the family are just beginning to find their way
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around, and the girls set out at the beginning of the book, together with little Charlie, to visit their Aunt Lena in her apartment, a few blocks away. Being unfamiliar with the way floors are reckoned in this new place, they make a mistake, one that is at first embarrassing, but that also leads to laughter, and to the making of a new friend. No sooner is this adventure over, than a more serious one arises: Mama must be taken to the hospital, in order to have her appendix out, and the girls (Ella in charge) must cope with running a house on their own. Ella's beau Jules, introduced in More All-of-a-Kind Family, returns here, and enlists in the US Army, shipping off to Europe to fight in World War I. Jewish holidays and customs - keeping the Sabbath, the P'Idyon Ha-Ben ceremony - still play a central role in the girls' lives, but their horizons expand in this new home, and they have new Christian friends, in the form of the Irish-American Healy family, who live downstairs from them. The book closes with the return of the soldiers from World War I, and their triumphant march through New York City...

Although there seems to be some disagreement, regarding the correct order of Sydney Taylor's series, given that the fourth book to be published, All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown, chronicles events occurring between All-of-a-Kind Family and More All-of-a-Kind Family, I have always considered this book, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, to be the third one in the series, rather than the fourth. Leaving that issue aside, this is one that is every bit as delightful as its predecessors, with a story that swings effortlessly from hilarity to pathos, chronicling the ups and downs in the life of one Jewish family, residing in New York City in the early years of the twentieth century. It was interesting to see the girls getting older, with Ella's romance becoming more serious, and Sarah struggling so to win her history prize. As a young girl, I found the romances between Ella and Jules, and Grace Healy and Bill, very compelling stuff, and I cannot read the chapter where the four young people ride around New York City on a double-decker bus, singing songs that eventually involve all the riders in an impromptu concert, without smiling in delight. Similarly, I cannot read the scene in which Ella and Jules are parted, or the one in which Bill is declared missing in action, without getting a shiver. Taylor has a light touch here, and one never feels overwhelmed with despair, but she definitely is as capable of evoking sadness and fear in her readers, as she is good humor and happiness. Highly, highly recommended, to all those readers that have read the earlier two stories about this family, with the further recommendation that, if you are not one of those readers... what are you waiting for?!?
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Original publication date



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