- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 20, 2008

Join Oliver, the dreamer; Rush, the adventurer; Mona, the self-conscious; and Randy, the ungraceful as they enjoy a summer they’ll never forget! With the whole summer ahead of them full of unknown excitement and adventure, the four Melendy kids are eager to get started. Elizabeth Enright, the author and illustrator of “Then There Were Five,” creatively weaves an intriguing tale sure to exceed your expectations.

With their father away on a business trip and their nanny visiting a friend in New York, anything can happen.

It all starts with the building of the pool, then the scrap metal drive, which leads to an unexpected friendship. Soon they become friends with a boy named Mark, who is living with his cruel uncle. Once Mark’s house burns down taking his only relative with it, Mark needs somewhere to call home.

The book comes to a great climax at the Red Cross auction, which includes a surprising twist, and ends with Oliver’s birthday party.

Just a few days before Oliver’s birthday, he is up late at night as usual watching the moths at his bedroom window. His flashlight attracts many different flying insects to his presence. It is on this night for the very first time that Oliver spots a luna moth, which he always thought was one of the most beautiful moths of all. This appearance makes his birthday all the more special.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope to read the other installments in this series soon. The focus of this book is designed for children ages 9 to 12 who can follow a plot that can be bewildering at times.

Each chapter focuses on a Melendy sibling as they tell of their summer story and learn an important lesson in life. Just a few of these lessons are accepting help, never being too prideful and how to handle a house on your own. I loved the detailed sketches illustrating the story throughout the chapters. Overall, this was an enjoyable and delightful tale of the Melendy children.

RATING: 4 stars

BOOK: “Then There Were Five,” book three in the Melendy Quartet series

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Enright

PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends, January 2008, hardcover, 272 pages

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 to 12

PRICE: $6.99

INFORMATION: us.macmillan.com/FeiwelAndFriends.aspx

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