While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away (1958) by Mary Nash ⭐⭐⭐⭐
While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away is the first in a three book series written about the Persever family. This was a cute story about three siblings, thirteen year old Malcolm, six year old Theobold (they call him Toad), and sister Molly (I’m unsure of her age, but she is the middle child). They spend the summer home alone, due to the fact that their father is away managing a mine in New Zealand and the housekeeper, the titled Mrs. Coverlet, is called away to help a sick family member.
The housekeeper has to leave immediately to catch a train, and since there is no time for Mrs. Coverlet to make arrangements for guardianship of the children, it is understood that the children will arrange for themselves to be taken care of. It was previously arranged by the father that if an emergency arose, the older siblings were to go to the minister’s house, while Toad would go next door to Miss Eva’s house. This last arrangement is a problem, because Toad does not like Miss Eva, although she’s a perfectly nice lady. It’s just that she makes him scrub and eat lots of vegetables.
To avoid this Miss Eva business, they decide not to tell anyone at all that Mrs. Coverlet is away, and they commence to take care of themselves all by their lonesome. It’s all going very nicely until they get wind that the money that their father had left them in the bank for expenses is dwindling, so they need to think of ways to make money so that they don’t have to write their father about it. If they write their father about it, he would come home, as he had nothing to send them since his mine business had not taken off yet, and then he’d have to take a normal job at home when they could do perfectly fine on their own. And they do!
It’s sometimes funny, and has hilarious and telling character names, such as Mr. Romaine, the grocer, and the minister named Mr. Forthright, a chauffer named Wheeler, a veterinarian named Dr. Furry, and not to mention that the children’s last name is Persever – obviously a play on ‘persevere’, which is exactly what they do all summer.
4 stars – would recommend!