M and I just finished a fantastic read-aloud: The Mitchells: Five for Victory by Hilda Van Stockum. The Mitchells’ have five children, Joan, Patsy, Peter, Angela, and baby Timmy. As the book begins, their father is leaving to fight in WWII. After a hilarious scene at the train station, Mrs. Mitchell and Grannie get the children home to begin a difficult period of their lives, with their father gone and their family working to fight the war on the homefront.
Van Stockum’s writing is a delight, and her understanding of the dynamics of family life is amazing. I wish I could sit down for a cup of coffee with Mrs. Mitchell and compare mothering notes. The children are good-hearted but they are real children who get into mischief and concoct delightful schemes. M and I laughed a lot and symphathized with both the kids and their harried mom.
The older three children and two of their friends form a club which they name Five for Victory. They decide to help neighbors and friends earn war stamps and buy a war bond. In the process they meet a war orphan from Europe, Una, and befriend her. They also learn a lot about responsibility and helping others while having a lot of fun. Their days are filled with the type of imaginative play I wish all children had more time for. We can’t wait to read the other adventures of the Mitchell family, Canadian Summer and Friendly Gables.