I thought this lesser-known companion to the popular Cheaper by the Dozen would suffer from Sequel Syndrome but it doesn’t–the stories it contains are funny, touching, and calculated to make even a cynical reader like myself wish the book were ten times longer. While the first book is dominated by the charismatic person of their father, this sequel is a tribute to the mother who somehow managed to keep the family together after her husband’s death, put all the children through college, keep up the family business and pioneer the male-dominated world of industrial engineering.
[Why I read it: I enjoyed Cheaper by the Dozen.]
I can’t believe I didn’t get around to reading this classic until now. I think that I had a bad impression of it from my mom, who had a bad impression of it from the movie versions. At any rate, this book is hilarious and, to someone who knows big families or comes from one (like I do), it is utterly believable. It made me laugh so hard that I had to read a couple parts aloud to the family. It would make a great read-aloud book, by the way, if the reader can control the giggles. I’ve requested the much-less-well-known sequel, Belles on Their Toes, from the library, as well as an autobiography of the mother, so I have more Gilbreth escapades to look forward to in future.
[Why I read it: I wanted to find out why a couple family friends found it so amusing that I’d posted Morse code in the bathroom for the kids to learn. It seems Mr. Gilbreth had the same idea, though with a much cleverer execution…]