The Moffats, by Eleanor Estes, is listed on several wonderful book lists for children. My oldest daughter has enjoyed this book, along with the rest of the series, but I had never read it.
I thought it was about time to rectify this omission.
The Moffats is the first in a delightful series of books about a family of four children being raised by their widowed mother who supports her family as a seamstress. The story takes place in a time of coal-burning stoves and horse-drawn buggies. Each chapter contains a small adventure with one or more of the children.
Even though each of the children are involved in the stories, Janey takes the lead role. It is she who first sees the “For Sale” sign being tacked onto their rental house. The imminent possibility of their home being sold and having to move from the only house they remember is a looming shadow over the children’s lives throughout the book.
I love that all the children are all good natured (without being goody-two-shoes). Their little mishaps and adventures will be interesting to kids who now live in a very different world where they won’t accidentally drive off in a buggy without the owner, or get caught in a train and taken to the next town, or wind up falling asleep while hiding in a bread box.
One of my favorite things about this story is how close-knit the Moffats seem to be. The children, over-all, get along well and stick up for each other.
In the end, the Moffats do have to move. But the book ends on a note of hope rather than sadness. Janey runs over to the new house before the movers and ends up meeting a girl her age, a new best friend.
For kids facing an impending move, this book could be cathartic. Moving, or any kind of change, can be so difficult for kids (even when you aren’t moving far). Experiencing both the positive and negative emotions through a fictional character might help kids sort out their own thoughts and feelings. I wish I had known about this book when we were moving.
This book would make a fantastic family read-aloud or independent read for your elementary to middle school-aged child. I listened to the audiobook, which was also very well done.
Do you have a favorite book that talks about moving?