Another book mysteriously missing from my childhood (or maybe I should just deal with the fact that I simply don't remember it): The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. [And now for something completely different: Here's absolutely everything you'd like to know about her maternal uncle, Frank Lloyd Wright.] I was a complete New-York-ophile from the moment I first visited the city when I was 8 years old (my mother claims I said how excited I was to be back in the city as we were leaving Central Park), I would have loved the exotic adventures of the Melendy siblings.
After bemoaning yet another dreary Saturday with nothing to do ("I'm so bored") younger sister Randy (Miranda) has the brain wave that the sibs will pool their allowance each week (a whopping 50¢) and send one of them off on a solo Saturday adventure. Randy visits an art gallery to see some French paintings. Older brother Rush goes to see Siegfried at the opera (which is described with such boyish attention to the exciting bits that I could almost envision a modern-day video gamehound wanting to see it ... almost!), while oldest sister Mona has a "day of beauty." Even six-year-old Oliver saves his money and sneaks off to the circus. The glorious freedom the Melendys revel in is absolutely delicious.
An actress and teacher named Pamela Dillman reads The Saturdays. She captures the youthful spirits of the Melendys without adopting childish tones. Each of the four sounds unique, although Mona and Randy are occasionally indistinguishable (which ultimately doesn't matter because the author does a good job of keeping the dialog straight). Dillman also has an opportunity to branch out a little accent-wise with a garrilous New Yawker hairdresser, a friendly Irish cop, and the elegant, French-tinged Mrs. Oliphant, who steps in at the end of the novel to save the Melendys' summer.
This is another one of the books I picked up inspired by Fuse No. 8's Top 100 Children's Novels, coming in at number 51. One of the many impressive things about Fuse's exceedingly impressive effort is the appearance of the original covers. I liked this one for The Saturdays.