100 Chapter Books Project: The Four-Story Mistake

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The Four-Story Mistake (1942) is Elizabeth Enright’s third book on the Top 100 Chapter Books list: Gone-Away Lake at #47, The Saturdays at #75, and this one at #80. This is rather amazing to me as I had never even heard of Enright before this project.

What it’s about: This is the second book of four that Enright wrote about the Melendy family — Mona, Rush, Randy and Oliver. The first book, The Saturdays, was about their life in the city (New York) and this book is about their move to the country during World War II. It’s a collection of random events through their first set of seasons in the new house, the one called The Four-Storey Mistake (it actually only has three stories with an attic and cupola on top).

Age level: Grades 3-5

Best part: The adventures were more fun (and realistic) in this book, especially those like finding secret rooms and treasures from the past in the house. Ice skating down a frozen river has been a fantasy of mine ever since reading Tom’s Midnight Garden and I always wanted to find treasures from the past in my homes but, unfortunately, have never lived in a house built earlier than the 1970s or 80s.

Worst part: There were a couple of parts that were a bit too dated — like the handyman giving twelve-year-old Rush a couple of cups of black coffee and then stating that their next step was for him to try chewing tobacco.

Verdict: Borrow

I liked this book and thought it was a fun read (listen, really) but there wasn’t that spark to make me love it. I liked the kids, their sibling interactions, and their individual talents and dreams. I am trying to come up with what was missing for me but I don’t think it was anything specific, just a general contentment while reading rather than excitement. It is still a good book to share with an avid reader though.

Next I’ll be reading Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I read my first Creech, Love That Dog, two years ago for this project (strangely, right before Gone-Away Lake) and really loved it so I have high hopes for this one!

*****
Schedule – June through September
 
June 30 – #70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
July 15 – #7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)
July 31 – #65 Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
August 15 – #43 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1980)
August 31 – #77 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (1959)
September 15 – #46 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (1990)

Estella Project, Season 3 is HERE!

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Now is the time, friends! Our reading list for The Estella Project, Season 3 is HERE!

  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  • When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  • Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsay
  • It’s What I Do by Lynsay Addario

What next? Go forth and read! Choose 1, 2, 3 or MORE! As you finish a book, feel free to comment here or link up your reviews below! The challenge wraps up on September 1, and don’t forget to hashtag #EstellaProject3 on Twitter or Instragram!

100 Chapter Books Project: The Giver

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I have to admit that I didn’t have plans to ever read Lois Lowry’s The Giver (1993). Even its place near the top of the Top 100 Chapter Books list (fourth!) didn’t give me any confidence that it would be a book I would enjoy. I’m not a fan of dystopias, especially those where the protagonists are children. I also am not a fan of this cover. (This could be why I ended up choosing to get the audiobook version.) However, the fact that I spent the last week making excuses to find time to listen (I did extra weeding in the yard!) will clue you in to how my feelings about this book have changed.

What it’s about: Jonas lives in a highly controlled community where families are assigned (two parents, two children — one boy, one girl), life is about rules, and free will is unknown. Jonas is turning twelve and is about to be assigned his adult job based on his personality and skills. To everyone’s surprise, rather than a standard job, he is told he will be the new Receiver. To have this job means to be set apart from everyone else, doing a job that not many understand, a job that will change his view of the entire community and its way of life.

Age level: Grades 6-8

Best part: The community seems rigid and boring at the start but the true horror of it is only slowly revealed, leaving the reader to find everything out at the same time as Jonas. It’s a very effective way of telling this story.

Worst part: The vague ending. I’m not the only one to think this either. Apparently, readers bugged Lowry for years, asking what really happened at the end. It prompted her to write three other books set in the world of The Giver, though apparently the fate of Jonas is revealed with just a brief mention.

Verdict: Buy (Borrow)

I decided to give this a weird verdict because I wanted it to count among the best books I’ve read during this project but I’m not sure that it would be one to have on a home bookshelf. I can’t imagine ever wanting to reread it. But I think it should be in every library and on lots of reading lists. It’s a thought-provoking, life-changing story.

Have you read The Giver?

The next book I’m reading is The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright. This is the second book on the list about The Melendy family (the first was The Saturdays which I liked but didn’t love). I have a feeling I’ll feel the same about this one.

*****
Schedule – June through August
 
June 15 – #80 The Four-Story Mistake by Elizabeth Enright (1942)
June 30 – #70 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (1994)
July 15 – #7 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (1967)
July 31 – #65 Wonder by R.J. Palacio (2012)
August 15 – #43 Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson (1980)
August 31 – #77 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (1959)