It’s no secret that I am a fan of Elizabeth Enright. And that of all her books the ones with the most special place in my heart, my most beloved childhood books, were those about the Melendy family. I have written about them here, here, here, and here. This summer I began reading aloud all of the books to the kids (who are presently 8 and 10, 7 and 9 when we started.) This was, as you might guess, a very special experience for me. I loved rereading my favorite books and was super relieved that the kids seemed to enjoying them as well. Because let’s be honest-it would have stunk if they grumbled or said they were lame. But I’m happy to say the cheerful family, Enright’s beautiful writing, and engaging stories stand the test of time.
And then we read the last book, Spiderweb for Two. And this is the one book that I had never actually read, so it was new to all of us. I have say-I was pretty excited. And a little nervous. What if it wasn’t as good as the others? The big difference in this book is that Mona, Rush, and Mark are not there. Mona is living in the city and Rush and Mark are at boarding school (there’s an unwritten book there that I’d like to read.) And that is also the premise of the book–with those three away Randy and Oliver are left at home and feeling mopey. But then a mysterious letter arrives with a convoluted clue. It’s the first of many and this secret treasure hunt lasts all year long. Each chapter is unraveling the mystery of the latest clue, and usually has an adventure or story to go with it. And of course, there is a marvelous surprise at the end. Though I can’t say I loved this one as much as the others (partly because of the lack of the older kids, but probably in large part due to lack of familiarity), it was still wonderful. We couldn’t wait to find out the secret, who was behind the clues, and how the year would turn out.
I solicited a quote from Tabby as I was writing this as she says: “Spiderweb was really interesting. It was really anticipational, or however you say it. and the end was really nice. Overall I give it five stars up.” “I loved all of them.”