Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

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Stars: ****

Read for the Book to Movie Challenge

Wow! I don’t even know how they can call the movie ‘based on’ this book when the two are NOTHING alike. The ONLY similarity between the book and movie are that there are 12 children. That’s IT!

The book is about the Gilbreths who grew up between 1900-1930 so as you can imagine, their lives were nothing like the kids depicted in the movie version. The father is an engineer who studies motion. His job is to study how people do certain jobs and figure out how they can do them faster.

In the book, there are 6 girls and 6 boys. In the movie there are 5 girls and 7 boys. In the book the father is tall and plump. In the movie he’s tall and thin. Even the order of kid’s is wrong. In the book, the oldest three are girls. In the movie It’s boy, girl, girl. In the book, they used to have a collie but when he died, they didn’t have another dog. In the movie they have a pitbull. In the book there are no multiples. In the movie there is a set of twins. See what I mean?

Anyways back to the book. It was really interesting to read about life in the 1910’s. Although the kids all went to school, the father taught them things at home like languages, astronomy and morse code. The methods are described in the book and I found them interesting and in some cases, worth trying. There are some great ideas for homeschoolers in the book.

My favourite part is when the Mother is recruiting women to help with church fund-raising. One woman says she would help if she had the time but with three young sons, she is quite busy. She asks the mother if she has any children. The following continues:

Mother: Oh, yes.
Woman: Any boys?
M: Yes, indeed.
W: May I ask how many?
M: Certainly. I have six boys.
W: Six boys! Imagine a family of six!
M: Oh, there’re more in the family than that. I have six girls too.
W: I surrender. When is the next meeting of the committee? I’ll be there, Mrs. Gilbreth, I’ll be there

I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. Don’t be fooled by the movie (which I did enjoy, number #2 as well) this book is quite different. In fact I’d like to see a movie that is REALLY ‘based-on’ this book. Oh and I guess they wrote more books about their family too. They will be added to my TBR list.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.