Book Nook: Belles on Their Toes – Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

For those who’ve never heard of this book, Belles on Their Toes is the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen.

For those who’ve never heard of either book, they both tell the story of Frank & Lillian Gilbreth and their family of 12 children (1 of their daughters died at age 6, so you only really hear about 11 of them).

Both books are written by 2 of the children (Frank and Ernestine), and each book shares stories of growing up in their household. However, the first book focuses on experiences with their father, while the second book focuses on experiences with their mother.

Belles on Their Toes picks up right where Cheaper by the Dozen ends, with the death of Frank (father). I don’t know how else to say that without it seeming like a spoiler, but this is a true story so I’m just telling you what happened. Should have studied more history, huh?

Lillian is now a single mother, responsible not only for providing for her 11 children financially, but also finding time to care for each of them.

I know that description makes it sound like a pretty dreary book, but it’s not. It’s a collection of funny adventures that revolve mostly around the children.

Each story is humorous in its own way, and I laughed out lout at several parts. However, I imagine these stories are much funnier to the members of the Gilbreth family. They seem like the kind of stories that get retold at family events, with each retelling generating more laughter.

My family has those kinds of stories, and I’m sure my siblings and I could write a book that’s entertaining enough with our experiences. But there’s no way anybody would find it as hilarious as we would.

Once again, that isn’t to say that the stories shared in Belles on Their Toes aren’t funny. My wife told me that the statements above make it sound like I didn’t enjoy the book, but I did. They’re just not my stories.

Anyway, Belles on Their Toes is an easy to read book. It’s full of entertaining and humorous stories of a family that’s similar – and yet very different – than your average family.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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