ALL OF A KIND FAMILY DOWNTOWN
Sydney Taylor has not lost her touch for recreating the everyday experiences of an early 1900's Jewish family with uncloying warmth and appealing immediacy. Here she revisits the five little girls before their move uptown; brother Charlie is still a baby and Charlotte still young enough to cradle blazing coals from the stove in her pinafore (but not too young to be ashamed when her dress catches fire and Mama has to roll-her, wrapped in a rug, across the kitchen floor). Linking the incidents here is the family's concern with Guido, a poor fatherless Italian boy whose mother dies of consumption during the course of the story; he shares their feasts for the Jewish Succos and the American Thanksgiving, as does Miss Carey, the settlement house nurse who had lost her own son and husband and who announces at the end her adoption of Guido. The unabashed sentimentality is made disarming as usual by lovingly evoked textures of Lower East Side life (the Hebrew school play, the settlement house party, the Simchas Torah celebration) and sympathetic humor.