Ten Good Books (and then some) Featuring Big Families

Today I talked about ten of my favorite “big family” books, but so many more didn’t make it onto the list.  Here are the ones I included.

(I know they ought to have authors’ names, but if that’s the worst of the problems with this list, (a) it’s a frickin miracle and (b) I almost bit through my own fist in a rage, trying to get the stupid, stupid thing to stupid do what I stupid wanted it to do, and between Amazon’s clonkiness and WordPress’s persnickety proprietary nonsense, and me being in the “all irate all the time” trimester, this is how it turned out. Think of it like an adventure!)

All-Of-A-Kind Family  (the series)

Cheaper by the Dozen

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

The Father Who Had 10 Children

Heckedy Peg 

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folk Tale

Mr & Mrs Pig’s Bulk Buy and the rest of the Mrs. Pig books

Nanny McPhee (Widescreen Edition) (the movie, which is not a book, but a movie)

The Weasley family in the Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7)

Half Magic

and the ones I wish I had had room for:

The Five Chinese Brothers

The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes

Five Children and It  and other E. Nesbit books

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy and the rest of the series

The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet)

and the ones I am not familiar with, but which others recommended (thanks for your help! If I weren’t such a lazy swine, I’d link back to you all, not that you need it):

Classic Starts: Five Little Peppers and How They Grew 

The Relatives Came 

A Christmas Like Helen’s

The Bear That Heard Crying 

So Many Bunnies: A Bedtime ABC and Counting Book

Ten Kids, No Pets 

The Seven Silly Eaters

McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm: Three Tall Tales

It’s Too Noisy!

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

I Remember Mama: Play in Two Acts


Spencer’s Mountain

Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo

The Happy Hollisters series

The Wouldbegoods 

Happy Little Family (Fairchild Family Story)

The Family Minus

Come join us at the Register and add your favorites to the list!

Oh, and if perchance you are inclined to buy any of these books, my Christmas present savings fund, which we keep raiding for frivolous flights of fancy like dryer parts and, um, extra bone marrow for my poor sick grandmother, would love it if you would click through from my blog here, because I get a small percentage of each sale.  I forget if I’m supposed to mention that or not.  If you’re from the Amazon Associates program, please practice the following remark, “Aw, that dizzy broad don’t know what she’s talking about.  Nothing to see here, legal department — let’s move along.”

Yay, books!  Yay, small percentage!  Yay, big families!


  1. Instapundit and Ann Althouse mention that they’re associates and you should buy through them ALL THE TIME.

    So I think you’re OK. 😉

    I’ve been an Amazon Associate for 5 years now, and earned a grand total of…. $0.53. Which is fine with me, because I mostly became one so I could easily link to images of books when I talk about them. But they must think I’m pretty pathetic! 🙂

    • Oh, thanks! I haven’t made much money through books, but occasionally someone clicks through a review and then decides to buy some monstrously expensive electronic equipment that I can’t even identify, so that’s nice! As far as I know, you can’t buy pistols or gin through Amazon, so my readers can rest assured that any funds really will go to something more or less wholesome.

  2. “The Seven Silly Eaters” is one of the best picture books EVER. I love that the house in the book looks like my house – stuff everywhere, many kids sharing one bedroom, that sort of thing.

    Also, “The Family that Nobody Wanted”. Terrible title, but true story, often funny, about a family that kept adopting until they wound up with….10 kids, I think? The family was multiracial, too, which made it all the more unusual in the ’40s and ’50s. My mom read it to me when I was a kid and it planted the idea of adoption in my head. I now have 5 kids, three of them adopted.

    • Oh yeah, The Family That Nobody Wanted is really good! I remember the part where they win some kind of prize at Christmas, and these phony media types push into their house and cram it full of useless, expensive junk, and they are all kind of stunned and miserable. I would love to see that story rewritten with more detail – maybe from the father’s point of view?

  3. Another series for your list is “What Katy Did” by Susan Coolidge. It features the Carr family. They have 6 kids. It was written in the 1800s and it’s accessible and really entertaining. I read it as a kid and loved it so much that I wanted to name a future daughter Katy Clover. Husband said no.

    Thanks for putting this list together. We have 8 kids and I’m always looking for books/movies that feature big families in a positive light.

  4. It’s not a kid’s book but “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio” is an awesome, wonderful memoir of a woman determined to better her family through contest winnings. It’s sad in some parts, because the father is alcoholic and obviously a jerk at times, but it’s wonderfully written.

  5. The Seven Silly Eaters is definitely one of our all-time favorites! I’ve never minded a request for that one, even as many, many times as I’ve read it. The illustrations are entertaining and wonderfully done, and Mary Ann Hoberman’s rhyming prose is sing-songy and just plain fun.

  6. The County Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes is one of my favorite childhood books. It was so special to me because my grandma would always read it to me. I have the battered old copy from when I was a child. Years later when I saw it new at a book store I bought it to keep for “one day” when I had my own kids. Now I read it to my children. It always makes me cry even though it’s not a sad story, it must be the memories of my grandma. Thanks for putting it on the list.

  7. @ Priest’s wife – I appreciate the Romeo and Juliet reference so much. My husband is usually the only one who gets that one.

    Simcha. I am constantly having to fight the urge to buy more books, and here you go with a very long list, which others keep adding to, of books that I haven’t read and now must.

    We don’t even have kids yet. But do you think that if I surround my husband with books about large families, he’ll forget that he wants a smallish one?

  8. Awesome book/movie list! One of our fave “old” movies is “Yours, Mine and Ours” with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. LOVE that movie! My kids LOVE it, too!!

  9. A truely tempting list.

    “The family from One End Street” by Eva Garnett was written in the ’30s and has 7 children in it. It was the first book written about a working class family, where the father is a dustman and the mother takes in laundry. All the charaters are wonderful and the children get up to all sorts of things.

  10. I’m surprised you don’t know Hilda van Stockum! “The Mitchells”, “Canadian Summer” and “Friendly Gables” are about a WWII-era family who grows from five to eight children over the course of the series. I’ve always loved them.

  11. The Little House books and the Narnia books have four children – big by today’s standard! And cool that they’re very popular and will be seen by “normal” small families. Love this list!

  12. Simcha, I shop at Amazon a LOT. Is there a way that I can always “go through” you? Not sure how that would work, other than say, bookmarking this post and clicking through one of the links? That would be the least I could do to pay you back for some of the hysterical laughter you’ve induced in me through your fantabulous writings. :)))

    • Aw, thanks, Kate! Eventually I’m going to have a new site, and there will be an Amazon button on the sidebar. In the meantime, I feel compelled to mention that many of your favorite blogs and websites probably have an Amazon button somewhere, and that’s what that’s for — to help people snag a little bit of profit; so if you have a mind to, you could keep an eye out for those next time you plan to do some shopping.

      I have the nicest readers!

      • I just saw your reply! I’m glad that I can help add to your “small percentage”. 🙂 For now, I’ll just bookmark this post, and click through it every time I get into trouble on Amazon. Yay!!!

  13. thanks for this list Simcha, my boys enjoyed receiving four of them for Christmas presents. I love the illustrations in Heckedy Peg and they love The Seven Silly Eaters.
    God bless,
    Sarah in New Zealand 🙂

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