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Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheaper by the Dozen

4.1 108
by Frank Gilbreth, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

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Adapted into two classic motion pictures, this bestselling memoir is the unforgettable story of two parents, twelve kids, and a world of laughter and love.
Translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir,


Adapted into two classic motion pictures, this bestselling memoir is the unforgettable story of two parents, twelve kids, and a world of laughter and love.
Translated into more than fifty languages, Cheaper by the Dozen is the unforgettable story of the Gilbreth clan as told by two of its members. In this endearing, amusing memoir, siblings Frank Jr. and Ernestine capture the hilarity and heart of growing up in an oversized family.

Mother and Dad are world-renowned efficiency experts, helping factories fine-tune their assembly lines for maximum output at minimum cost. At home, the Gilbreths themselves have cranked out twelve kids, and Dad is out to prove that efficiency principles can apply to family as well as the workplace.
The heartwarming and comic stories of the jumbo-size Gilbreth clan have delighted generations of readers, and will keep you and yours laughing for years.
This ebook features an illustrated biography including rare photos from the authors’ estates.

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Cheaper by the Dozen

By Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey


Copyright © 1948 Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-5707-2


Whistles and Shaving Bristles

DAD WAS A TALL man, with a large head, jowls, and a Herbert Hoover collar. He was no longer slim; he had passed the two-hundred-pound mark during his early thirties, and left it so far behind that there were times when he had to resort to railway baggage scales to ascertain his displacement. But he carried himself with the self-assurance of a successful gentleman who was proud of his wife, proud of his family, and proud of his business accomplishments.

Dad had enough gall to be divided into three parts, and the ability and poise to backstop the front he placed before the world. He'd walk into a factory like the Zeiss works in Germany or the Pierce Arrow plant in this country and announce that he could speed up production by one-fourth. He'd do it, too.

One reason he had so many children—there were twelve of us—was that he was convinced anything he and Mother teamed up on was sure to be a success.

Dad always practiced what he preached, and it was just about impossible to tell where his scientific management company ended and his family life began. His office was always full of children, and he often took two or three of us, and sometimes all twelve, on business trips. Frequently, we'd tag along at his side, pencils and notebooks in our hands, when Dad toured a factory which had hired him as an efficiency expert.

On the other hand, our house at Montclair, New Jersey, was a sort of school for scientific management and the elimination of wasted motions—or "motion study," as Dad and Mother named it.

Dad took moving pictures of us children washing dishes, so that he could figure out how we could reduce our motions and thus hurry through the task. Irregular jobs, such as painting the back porch or removing a stump from the front lawn, were awarded on a low-bid basis. Each child who wanted extra pocket money submitted a sealed bid saying what he would do the job for. The lowest bidder got the contract.

Dad installed process and work charts in the bathrooms. Every child old enough to write—and Dad expected his offspring to start writing at a tender age—was required to initial the charts in the morning after he had brushed his teeth, taken a bath, combed his hair, and made his bed. At night, each child had to weigh himself, plot the figure on a graph, and initial the process charts again after he had done his homework, washed his hands and face, and brushed his teeth. Mother wanted to have a place on the charts for saying prayers, but Dad said as far as he was concerned prayers were voluntary.

It was regimentation, all right. But bear in mind the trouble most parents have in getting just one child off to school, and multiply it by twelve. Some regimentation was necessary to prevent bedlam. Of course there were times when a child would initial the charts without actually having fulfilled the requirements. However, Dad had a gimlet eye and a terrible swift sword. The combined effect was that truth usually went marching on.

Yes, at home or on the job, Dad was always the efficiency expert. He buttoned his vest from the bottom up, instead of from the top down, because the bottom-to-top process took him only three seconds, while the top-to-bottom took seven. He even used two shaving brushes to lather his face, because he found that by so doing he could cut seventeen seconds off his shaving time. For a while he tried shaving with two razors, but he finally gave that up.

"I can save forty-four seconds," he grumbled, "but I wasted two minutes this morning putting this bandage on my throat."

It wasn't the slashed throat that really bothered him. It was the two minutes.

Some people used to say that Dad had so many children he couldn't keep track of them. Dad himself used to tell a story about one time when Mother went off to fill a lecture engagement and left him in charge at home. When Mother returned, she asked him if everything had run smoothly.

"Didn't have any trouble except with that one over there," he replied. "But a spanking brought him into line."

Mother could handle any crisis without losing her composure.

"That's not one of ours, dear," she said. "He belongs next door."

None of us remembers it, and maybe it never happened. Dad wasn't above stretching the truth, because there was nothing he liked better than a joke, particularly if it were on him and even more particularly if it were on Mother. This much is certain, though. There were two red-haired children who lived next door, and the Gilbreths all are blondes or redheads.

Although he was a strict taskmaster within his home, Dad tolerated no criticism of the family from outsiders. Once a neighbor complained that a Gilbreth had called the neighbor's boy a son of an unprintable word.

"What are the facts of the matter?" Dad asked blandly. And then walked away while the neighbor registered a double take.

But Dad hated unprintable words, and the fact that he had stood up for his son didn't prevent him from holding a full-dress court of inquiry once he got home, and administering the called-for punishment.

Dad was happiest in a crowd, especially a crowd of kids. Wherever he was, you'd see a string of them trailing him—and the ones with plenty of freckles were pretty sure to be Gilbreths.

He had a way with children and knew how to keep them on their toes. He had a respect for them, too, and didn't mind showing it.

He believed that most adults stopped thinking the day they left school—and some even before that. "A child, on the other hand, stays impressionable and eager to learn. Catch one young enough," Dad insisted, "and there's no limit to what you can teach."

Really, it was love of children more than anything else that made him want a pack of his own. Even with a dozen, he wasn't fully satisfied. Sometimes he'd look us over and say to Mother:

"Never you mind, Lillie. You did the best you could."

We children used to suspect, though, that one reason he had wanted a large family was to assure himself of an appreciative audience, even within the confines of the home. With us around, he could always be sure of a full house, packed to the galleries.

Whenever Dad returned from a trip—even if he had been gone only a day—he whistled the family "assembly call" as he turned in at the sidewalk of our large, brown home in Montclair. The call was a tune he had composed. He whistled it, loud and shrill, by doubling his tongue behind his front teeth. It took considerable effort and Dad, who never exercised if he could help it, usually ended up puffing with exhaustion.

The call was important. It meant drop everything and come running—or risk dire consequences. At the first note, Gilbreth children came dashing from all corners of the house and yard. Neighborhood dogs, barking hellishly, converged for blocks around. Heads popped out of the windows of nearby houses.

Dad gave the whistle often. He gave it when he had an important family announcement that he wanted to be sure everyone would hear. He gave it when he was bored and wanted some excitement with his children. He gave it when he had invited a friend home and wanted both to introduce the friend to the whole family and to show the friend how quickly the family could assemble. On such occasions, Dad would click a stopwatch, which he always carried in his vest pocket.

Like most of Dad's ideas, the assembly call, while something more than a nuisance, made sense. This was demonstrated in particular one day when a bonfire of leaves in the driveway got out of control and spread to the side of the house. Dad whistled, and the house was evacuated in fourteen seconds—eight seconds off the all-time record. That occasion also was memorable because of the remarks of a frank neighbor, who watched the blaze from his yard. During the height of the excitement, the neighbor's wife came to the front door and called to her husband:

"What's going on?"

"The Gilbreths' house is on fire," he replied, "thank God!"

"Shall I call the fire department?" she shouted.

"What's the matter, are you crazy?" the husband answered incredulously.

Anyway, the fire was put out quickly and there was no need to ask the fire department for help.

Dad whistled assembly when he wanted to find out who had been using his razors or who had spilled ink on his desk. He whistled it when he had special jobs to assign or errands to be run. Mostly, though, he sounded the assembly call when he was about to distribute some wonderful surprises, with the biggest and best going to the one who reached him first.

So when we heard him whistle, we never knew whether to expect good news or bad, rags or riches. But we did know for sure we'd better get there in a hurry.

Sometimes, as we all came running to the front door, he'd start by being stern.

"Let me see your nails, all of you," he'd grunt, with his face screwed up in a terrible frown. "Are they clean? Have you been biting them? Do they need trimming?"

Then out would come leather manicure sets for the girls and pocket knives for the boys. How we loved him then, when his frown wrinkles reversed their field and became a wide grin.

Or he'd shake hands solemnly all around, and when you took your hand away there'd be a nut chocolate bar in it. Or he'd ask who had a pencil, and then hand out a dozen automatic ones.

"Let's see, what time is it?" he asked once. Out came wrist watches for all—even the six-week-old baby.

"Oh, Daddy, they're just right," we'd say.

And when we'd throw our arms around him and tell him how we'd missed him, he would choke up and wouldn't be able to answer. So he'd rumple our hair and slap our bottoms instead.


Pierce Arrow

THERE WERE OTHER SURPRISES, too. Boxes of Page and Shaw candy, dolls and toys, cameras from Germany, wool socks from Scotland, a dozen Plymouth Rock hens, and two sheep that were supposed to keep the lawn trimmed but died, poor creatures, from the combined effects of saddle sores, too much petting, and tail pulling. The sheep were fun while they lasted, and it is doubtful if any pair of quadrupeds ever had been sheared so often by so many.

"If I ever bring anything else alive into this household," Dad said, "I hope the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals hales me into court and makes me pay my debt to society. I never felt so ashamed about anything in my life as I do about those sheep. So help me."

When Dad bought the house in Montclair, he described it to us as a tumbled-down shanty in a rundown neighborhood. We thought this was another one of his surprises, but he finally convinced us that the house was a hovel.

"It takes a lot of money to keep this family going," he said. "Food, clothes, allowances, doctors' bills, getting teeth straightened, and buying ice cream sodas. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't afford anything better. We'll have to fix it up the best we can, and make it do."

We were living at Providence, Rhode Island, at the time. As we drove from Providence to Montclair, Dad would point to every termite-trap we passed.

"It looks something like that one," he would say, "only it has a few more broken windows, and the yard is maybe a little smaller."

As we entered Montclair, he drove through the worst section of town, and finally pulled up at an abandoned structure that even Dracula wouldn't have felt at home in.

"Well, here it is," he said. "Home. All out."

"You're joking, aren't you, dear?" Mother said hopefully.

"What's the matter with it? Don't you like it?"

"If it's what you want, dear," said Mother, "I'm satisfied. I guess."

"It's a slum, that's what's the matter with it," said Ernestine.

"No one asked your opinion, young lady," replied Dad. "I was talking to your Mother, and I will thank you to keep out of the conversation."

"You're welcome," said Ernestine, who knew she was treading on thin ice but was too upset to care. "You're welcome, I'm sure. Only I wouldn't live in it with a ten-foot pole."

"Neither would I," said Martha. "Not with two ten-foot poles."

"Hush," said Mother. "Daddy knows best."

Lill started to sob.

"It won't look so bad with a coat of paint and a few boards put in where these holes are," Mother said cheerfully.

Dad, grinning now, was fumbling in his pocket for his notebook.

"By jingo, kids, wait a second," he crowed. "Wrong address. Well, what do you know. Pile back in. I thought this place looked a little more run down than when I last saw it."

And then he drove us to 68 Eagle Rock Way, which was an old but beautiful Taj Mahal of a house with fourteen rooms, a two-story barn out back, a greenhouse, chicken yard, grape arbors, rose bushes, and a couple of dozen fruit trees. At first we thought that Dad was teasing us again, and that this was the other end of a scale—a house much better than the one he had bought.

"This is really it," he said. "The reason I took you to that other place first, and the reason I didn't try to describe this place to you is—well, I didn't want you to be disappointed. Forgive me?"

We said we did.

Dad had bought the automobile a year before we moved. It was our first car, and cars still were a novelty. Of course, that had been a surprise, too. He had taken us all for a walk and had ended up at a garage where the car had been parked.

Although Dad made his living by redesigning complicated machinery, so as to reduce the number of human motions required to operate it, he never really understood the mechanical intricacies of our automobile. It was a gray Pierce Arrow, equipped with two bulb horns and an electric Klaxon, which Dad would try to blow all at the same time when he wanted to pass anyone. The engine hood was long and square, and you had to raise it to prime the petcocks on cold mornings.

Dad had seen the car in the factory and fallen in love with it. The affection was entirely one-sided and unrequited. He named it Foolish Carriage because, he said, it was foolish for any man with as many children as he to think he could afford a horseless carriage.

The contraption kicked him when he cranked, spit oil in his face when he looked into its bowels, squealed when he mashed the brakes, and rumbled ominously when he shifted gears. Sometimes Dad would spit, squeal, and rumble back. But he never won a single decision.

Frankly, Dad didn't drive our car well at all. But he did drive it fast. He terrified all of us, but particularly Mother. She sat next to him on the front seat—with two of the babies on her lap—and alternated between clutching Dad's arm and closing her eyes in supplication. Whenever we rounded a corner, she would try to make a shield out of her body to protect the babies from what she felt sure would be mutilation or death.

"Not so fast, Frank, not so fast," she would whisper through clenched teeth. But Dad never seemed to hear.

Foolish Carriage was a right-hand drive, so whoever sat to the left of Mother and the babies on the front seat had to be on the lookout to tell Dad when he could pass the car ahead.

"You can make it," the lookout would shout.

"Put out your hand," Dad would holler.

Eleven hands—everybody contributing one except Mother and the babies—would emerge from both sides of the car; from the front seat, rear seat, and folding swivel chairs amidships. We had seen Dad nick fenders, slaughter chickens, square away with traffic policemen, and knock down full-grown trees, and we weren't taking any chances.

The lookout on the front seat was Dad's own idea. The other safety measures, which we soon inaugurated as a matter of self-preservation, were our own.

We would assign someone to keep a lookout for cars approaching on side streets to the left; someone to keep an identical lookout to the right; and someone to kneel on the rear seat and look through the isinglass window in the back.

"Car coming from the left, Dad," one lookout would sing out.

"Two coming from the right."

"Motorcycle approaching from astern."

"I see them, I see them," Dad would say irritably, although usually he didn't. "Don't you have any confidence at all in your father?"

He was especially fond of the electric horn, an earsplitting gadget which bellowed "kadookah" in an awe-inspiring, metallic baritone. How Dad could manage to blow this and the two bulb horns, step on the gas, steer the car, shout "road hog, road hog," and smoke a cigar—all at the same time—is in itself a tribute to his abilities as a motion study expert.

A few days after he bought the car, he brought each of us children up to it, one at a time, raised the hood, and told us to look inside and see if we could find the birdie in the engine. While our backs were turned, he'd tiptoe back to the driver's seat—a jolly Santa Claus in mufti—and press down on the horn.

"Kadookah, Kadookah." The horn blaring right in your ear was frightening and you'd jump away in hurt amazement. Dad would laugh until the tears came to his eyes.

"Did you see the birdie? Ho, ho, ho," he'd scream. "I'll bet you jumped six and nine-tenths inches. Ho, ho, ho."

One day, while we were returning from a particularly trying picnic, the engine balked, coughed, spat, and stopped.


Excerpted from Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Copyright © 1948 Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. (1911–2001) served as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy during World War II, earning the Bronze Star and Air Medal for his valor in the campaigns in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked for the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, as a columnist and reporter. His books include How to Be a Father and Time Out for Happiness, and the classics Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes, both coauthored with his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey (1908–2006) graduated from Smith College with an English degree, and worked for fourteen years as a department store buyer and manager. She wrote or coauthored five books, including two with her brother Frank, as well as Jumping Jupiter, Rings Around Us, and Giddy Moment.
In 1950, Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth were corecipients of the French International Humor Award for Cheaper by the Dozen
Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. (1911–2001) served as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy during World War II, earning the Bronze Star and Air Medal for his valor in the campaigns in the South Pacific. After the war, he worked for the Post and Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, as a columnist and reporter. His books include How to Be a Father and Time Out for Happiness, and the classics Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes, both coauthored with his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.
In 1950, Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth were corecipients of the French International Humor Award for Cheaper by the Dozen

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Cheaper by the Dozen 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 109 reviews.
GracieMae More than 1 year ago
Cheaper by the Dozen is the story of the Frank Gilbreth Children. It is heartwarming and funny! Much much better than the newer movie! They don't come close!
CayleeAddison More than 1 year ago
The book was overall pretty good. I thought the message it was sending was very important. It was reminded that family is very important, and that everyone should always stick together. The book describes a family and their adventures, as the title suggests, the parents Frank and Lilly Gilbreth do have twelve children! Always keeping them busy! I didn't like the book as much because it was very slow at times and I felt it dragged on a bit. I did enjoy reading about some of the adventures they took and how the parents would handle the kids when they did something wrong. Mr. Gilbreth was very strict at times but he knew how to care for a family. Although Mr. Gilbreth was very strict at times, he was teaching his kids great lessons, and as time went on he began to learn from the kids as much as they were learning from him. I strongly believe that family is the most important thing and this book portrays this perfectly! As I picked out the book to read I thought it was going to be better than what it was, I felt it was kind of slow sometimes, it wasn't as good as I had hoped. I would still recommend it to anybody it teaches a good lesson without being very boring.
hula57 More than 1 year ago
It is a wonderful book, wish I could find the continuation story of "Bells on their toes" this is the story of how they go on once Frank dies. Written by Ernestine and her Mother
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
A classic book about a somewhat unusual, large family in the 1920's. The original movie version from 1950 closely follows the book storyline. Told with a touch of humor. A good wholesome read. Only about 175 pages of text and some additional great pictures of the true-life family members. Would recommend this one.
InspirationalAngel531 7 days ago
Title: Cheaper By the Dozen Author: Frank B Galbreath & Ernestine Gilbreath Carey Publisher: Open Road Media Published: 11-15-2013 Pages: 292 Genre: Biographies Sub-Genre: Parenting & Families; Humor; Non Fiction ISBN: 9781480457072 ASIN: B00FTOANM2 Reviewed For NetGalley and Open Road Media Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.75 Stars Most of us have seen one of the two movies made on Gilbreth's book on raising a family and running a household on a schedule and streamlining everything down to the second. We laugh, because if you have ever raised one child you know that nothing goes according to schedule. Although I must admit that Mr. Gilbreath did manage to control the chaos in his family of fourteen. Both he and his wife, Lillian have my admiration and respect. That Being said, "Cheaper By The Dozen" is the story of one man's beliefs and life's work and applying it to the unpredictability of family life. Our reward in reading his story is laughter and the joy of sharing a home filled with love. This is a story to be savored even as it pushes you to hurry to find out what happens next. My rating is 4.75 out of 5 stars. A story for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anybody would enjoy this book...i didn't read the sequel but this book is good on it's own. A must read for all ages. Also recomended for parent/child reading (before bedtime etc.). Funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and fast read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who introduced time study and efficiency experts to the manufacturing world and eventually in other and robotics . there is a second book that tell how mother carried on the business after death of father.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey is about a family of fourteen, twelve children and the mother and father, living in the 1900’s. The Gilbreth family has just moved to a new home and they are adjusting while also working with their father to become more efficient. This of course is what the father strives to do, make everything more efficient he even has a whistle which he blows and the family has to evacuate the home as quick as possible. The major message of this book would be to have a strong, close family. This is presented in the book by the mother and children always supporting their father and her husband. I like this book because it is written like a diary which it almost is considering it was written by two of the children of this family. I wouldn’t recommend this book because it is very exciting. It’s not a fantastic book and it’s not a horrible book it is about in the middle I would say 3/5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the Most Enjoyable Books I’ve Ever Read Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth was a wonderful book that taught many important lessons. Although growing up in a large family has its disadvantages, it also gives the children a different perspective on their childhood and how they live the rest of their lives. The book shows how the family relies on each other through their own struggles, sticking up for each other, getting along, etc. Most importantly, the book shows how the father of the family tied them all together when the children were growing up. He took good care of his wife and children; he feed them, educated his children, and kept the family together. The family-like image makes the book enjoyable and creative, looking at the different outlook of how large families grew up. It is fascinating how the father’s presence ties the whole family together, yet his care and love is rarely shown affectionately. Though the stories told by the children dragged, they were entertaining to read, even for the early twentieth century. I would recommend this book for anyone who would like to read a light book about a caring, loving family adapting to living in such a huge family. It was an entertaining, humorous book that was a great read. I would most definitely read it again. Overall, I would rate it 4 ½ stars. It was very informative and amusing!
Sydney_Hauffman_lgd7 More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable and Heart Warming, Tumultuous yet Organized...Overall Great Read! Family is one of the best things one can offer. It is unique and similar at the same time. It is one where everyone is loved for who they are. The book Cheaper by the Dozen is a fantastic book! It is written by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. In the book Frank and Lily decide to have a huge family. The book describes all about their adventures and challenges as a family of 12. The family has exceptional discipline but also has many enjoyable moments in each others lives. It shows how a family can come together to overcome struggles such as any other normal family would have to. With the simplest things like breakfast or packing lunches. While the family is like others they also have their differences such as their whistle system (when frank blows the whistle they all line up from oldest to youngest). I would recommend this book any day to anyone, but most definitely to family oriented people around ages 14-20. Along with that the book is very relatable due all the different personalities of each single kid, and how nice the family is. This book also has its moments of joy and sorrow. With Frank dying when his youngest child was only two yet the family has its funny moments such making hilarious jokes about their aunt Anne. In the end this is an outstanding book of a family of 14 growing up, which provides amazing life lessons. All the while an extremely heartwarming book!!
Marcus_H More than 1 year ago
Cheaper by the Dozen, by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, is an enthralling story about how a family with twelve children can function smoothly. Written by two of the older children, Frank Jr. and Ernestine, Cheaper by the Dozen is a compilation of the several short entertaining stories. Each chapter depicted a different episode, generally including the father and the twelve children. For example, one of the chapters is called The Rena, and is all about the adventures the family would have on their boat Rena. Although most of the chapters did not connect directly, the stories were written in chronological order and did have small ties between each other. Because Cheaper by the Dozen was not a complete story, but more of a collection of stories, there were very few messages and themes. However, it was very evident in every chapter that a connected family was very important to the Gilbreths. In every one of the sections, either all of the children were included, or it was just Frank and Lillian, the parents. Due to this common aspect, the importance of family to the Gilbreths was very obvious. One of the aspects that made Cheaper by the Dozen so enjoyable was the fact that it was so lighthearted throughout the entire book. Because of this, reading was both entertaining and informative about the life of the Gilbreths. Additionally, the structure of the writing made it easy to read and it was not a "hassle" just to get through each chapter. Instead, every chapter was just the right length and kept the reader eager to read the next chapter after one finished. Conversely, I disliked the sudden ending to the story, finishing with the father's death. However, because this was a nonfiction piece, this ending was unavoidable. If a reader is looking for a light, and entertaining, yet informative novel, Cheaper by the Dozen would be a great choice to read. However, it is more of an entertaining nonfiction story rather than a factual story, so if a reader was looking more for specific information of Frank Gilbreth Sr. or any of the other family, this would not be the best choice. In general, I was very glad that I chose to read Cheaper by the Dozen due to the entertaining nature of the book. Overall, I would rate this nonfiction story an eight out of ten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey is a fun, lovable book with lots of quirky charm spread throughout. It’s fun humor is good for any age and it has an amazing message on the necessity of a close bond between families and how it is not money that truly makes a person happy but their loved ones that surround them through thick and thin. I absolutely loved how Mr. Gilbreth when driving through town would pretend he was carting a circus or an orphanage or some such thing and people believed him!! Kind of reminds me of my dad, but I don’t know maybe all dad’s have their own twisted way of showing affection or joking around. This book also has an underlying theme of family loyalty which is shown when the kids offer to change their plans for the future in order to keep the family together and help out when something bad happens. That particular part of the book flourishes a willingness to sacrifice much for the sake of others that is not often seen as much in today’s society. Due to that, I believe this book deserves a 5 star rating and much applause for being a well written and thought out thrill ride!
zoe-oe-o-ice-ice More than 1 year ago
Great book to read, very enjoyable! Cheaper by the Dozen is about a couple named Frank and Lilly Gilbreth, whom together have twelve children! They had six boys and six girls and no shortage of things to do! Frank was a very strict parent and thought efficiency was everything. Nothing was worse than wasting time, so he had his children in tip-top shape. The kids worked like a factory in all that they did, such as cleaning the dishes or painting the back porch. Lilly was much less strict than Frank and easier going. Not everything always happens the way it’s supposed to in this book, however the Gilbreth’s are constantly finding a way to get through it and have fun while doing it. The book shows a great deal of family value that most families could only dream of having. Having twelve kids one might think it’d be hard spend a lot of time together as a family and go on trips, nonetheless Frank and Lilly managed to take their children on trips quite frequently! I enjoyed reading this book because it gave the reader the feeling that the more kids there were the more love there was to go around, through all of the shenanigans no one is forgotten. Frank and Lilly know that anything they did together would be a success, so no matter what they persevered through the harder times to get to the better ones! I thought the book wasn't as good as the movie, but it was still pretty funny and entertaining to read. It’s a good family oriented, witty book that most people looking for a nice read would enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Intriguing Tales of the Gilbreth 12 Frank and Lily Gilbreth are parents with a rag tag gang of 12 kids who have a knack for finding trouble. Although they have 12 kids, which can be a hassle at times, the motion-study expert and psychiatrist have worked together as an unlikely duo and have raised them well. The fantastic duo have worked together to teach the children to line up at the sound of whistle and how to excel in school and at many other things. While neither parent in a teacher they work together to teach the children the touch system, how to multiply large numbers, and Morse code. With this family many things don’t go as planned. The mistake with the houses as they are moving to Montclair, or the time in the Foolish Carriage where a woman thinks they are an orphanage. Although parts of the book are boring, the tales of the Gilbreth 12 and the many adventures they had were great and entertaining, such as the gaggle of children getting all of their tonsils out at once, or the exaggerations such as burying a coffin of pencils for their father. Although the large family of fourteen often got frustrated with each other, as would any normal family, they know that they will always love each other in the end, and everything that happened was for their own good. They had been with each other through thick and thin, whether it was scaring off boys, needing a shoulder to cry on, or even needing someone to go against dad, the family was there to lean on like any old family. A truly heartwarming and family centered book, a good read and definitely something to recommend to a friend, a five star book worth the time to read.
mackenzie_jordan More than 1 year ago
Very Heartwarming and a Great Read! Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey is an amazing book about the lifestyle of a family with a dozen children. Not only was it interesting to gain insight into a world very few will ever know, but it was wonderful to read such a happy, lighthearted family story. I personally come from a family with four kids, and I have four cousins very close to my age. I love when we get together, and I love being a part of a big family with a lot of kids. This is why Cheaper by the Dozen intrigued me so much. In big families, there are bound to be heaps of good times and memories together, and this book shows just that. I especially loved reading Chapter 13 entitled, ‘Have You Seen The Latest Model?’ because I enjoyed the way their father dealt with his children when they were very young, and how each one of them was born and in what order. Also adding to the story is its time setting. The early 1900s seem like a time of adventure and innocence. The family’s drives in their car and their trips to Nantucket depict both these things, as driving was such a new and exciting thing to experience in this time. As the oldest girls begin to date, we see the innocence dating was back then, which gives an added lightheartedness to the story. Overall, Cheaper by the Dozen is a great family story and I recommend it to all who want to enjoy a good book.
juliet_manley More than 1 year ago
Great book but a tad slow moving! This book is about a couple, Lilly and Frank Gilbreth, who have big plans for a family. Frank, wanted to have a huge family and Lilly was all for that! So they decided that the wanted to have 12 kids, 6 boys, and 6 girls to make it equal. Frank is a very strict father and he expects a lot out of all his kids, such as he teaches them to line up from oldest to youngest at the sound of a whistle when they have company over. He is always looking for the most efficient way to do anything and he believes his family should be run like a factory. He has also set up a very strict discipline system and he does not allow any shenanigans! Lilly, the mom, on the other hand is very calm and collected and is always looking to make her kids happy and she is not the major discipline parent. In the novel, they go on many family trips and one of them consisted of going to a lake house. They arrive and it’s an old beat up house that they weren’t expecting, but as they walk around they realize this is not the one! So when they finally find it the kids are thrilled because it ends up being pretty nice. Nothing they do ever turns out as planned whether its taking a family picture or getting all the kid’s tonsils removed together. I really liked how the book was funny, but I disliked how slow moving it was, and how close you had to pay attention to detail just to get the full story. I think older people would enjoy this book because its old and it has large words and material that they would get a hoot out of. I would rate this story a 3 out of 5 stars because it was a very good book and it made me laugh, but not a full 5 because it put me to sleep at parts. Read the book though, it’s a great experience!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Gilbreth’s are Insane!!! Put this book on your list! This book is about a family with eleven kids, they’re known as a family of a dozen however when she was little the second eldest daughter died, this isn’t mentioned much in the book so I had to look her up. Mr. Gilbreth is controlling and protective, Mrs. Gilbreth is kind and caring and all of their children are hyper and take care of one another. This book is great because it’s so hilarious and adorable, they all get into mischeif and mayhem and cause others to move. My personal favorite character is Mr. Gilbreth, he loves to pass out jokes and doesn’t always take them very well at first. He’s an amazing teacher and all of his kids are at least one grade ahead. This family does everything at top speed and they learn that way too. If you’re looking for a good cute laugh and a quick, easy read I’d recommend this book for you. ~ Alanna Brock
HaleyWebbs More than 1 year ago
A great read! Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, teaches a major lesson and theme that everyone should be familiar with. Family is the most important thing in a persons life. Family is the best gift life can give to a person. This book is a perfect example of the well known saying, "Home is where the heart is." Its the place for all love, safety and growing. The book was a great example of a real life family because well, it based on the life of a real family. It gave me somewhat of a comfort as i read it because it made me realize how the Gilbreth family is just like any other ordinary family, with the exception of twelve kids. Each member of their family goes through thick and thin, as we all do. But they always manage to keep a smile on their face. The Gilbreth children had two great parents that knew exactly what they wanted for their kids, by teaching them a series of lessons.They were taught to never give up and to always work with each other and treat each other well. They learned quite well that it was useful to work as a team in order to get things done easily and more efficiently. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn't just a realistic book that i could relate to but it was humorous! You can never laugh too much! The humorous side to the book was what made it fun and easy to read unlike those books that are mainly serious or boring with one or two funny parts. I would definitely recommend this book because of its good morals, lessons, humor and ability to relate to any one who reads it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Fun Read and For People of All Ages! 12 kids?!?! Even with 6 in my own family it was fun to read about how the Gilbrith family does it with their 12 red-headed and freckly (as well as rambunctious) children! On every page there was a funny story or one that I could relate to. Between their car that acts up and the children who watch their dad take his tonsils out without medication, the Gilbrith family is one that never stops going. A first the book was a little slow, but read between the lines and you can see the family love and connection through all these little experiences. Since the book is written by two of the Gilbrith kids, the insight and first hand experiences are what really makes this a memorable story. When tragedy strikes the family, the pain is definitely defined in the way the authors wrote. Even with this part in the book I still enjoyed the book and had even a greater appreciation for it. In the end, this is a joyful story of classical family life and how family is just what you need to make everything right again.
Julie_Nguyen1231 More than 1 year ago
Fun to read! Cheaper by The Dozen is a great family based book. It is about a family and how they get through challenges that most people would think is impossible to do. For example the whistle system that the father set up, whenever the father blows the whistle the children are to line up. It is such an amazing system because the children get down to their father so quickly, and the children make some sort of a game by seeing how long it takes them. The book explains how the large family gets through many struggles that any normal family has and how they come up with such unique ways to overcome those struggles. Cheaper by The Dozen is very heart warming by how even though there are twelve children in the family the parents see a very unique difference in every child by how they act and what talents they have such as Ernestine who is the fastest typist in the family. I highly recommend this book to any person that is family oriented and a people person.
CaseyMc13 More than 1 year ago
Fantastic! I was skeptical having to read this book for school but Cheaper by the Dozen really has it all. At points I laughed, cried, and everything in between. The story focuses on the Gilbreths, a family of fourteen, and the adventures they have together. Although this book is filled with gut-busting hilarity and chaos, it deals with some of the more serious issues of growing up (dating, driving, puberty, etc). I strongly recommend this book for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such an Amazing Way to Live! In Cheaper by the dozen, focus is all on a family with, you guessed it, twelve kids! The book takes you through major pieces in this family's life and focuses mostly on the dad. Dad does lots of very interesting things to get his children to learn. He painted morse code on the walls of bedrooms and bathrooms, he taught them how to type on a type writer by blocking out letters on the keyboard, and other things that no other family would do. Also, when all of his children came down with measles, he pretended he had them too, just so he could come visit them. Because he is an efficiency expert, he believed he could run his family like a factory. He would do things in such a way just so he could shave even a few seconds off of what he had to do. He knew how to get children to be better people and have fun, too. Dad shows everyone how important family is and how parents have the responsibility of holding everyone together. He shows how great it is when families are together and how important family bonds are. I loved reading this book because I was so caught up in all of these character's lives and wondering what they would do next. Sometimes it was hard for me to remember that these were real people (the book is non-fiction!) and realize how awesome it would have been to live with them. It is a great book if you want some humor in what you read. I would recommend this book for pretty much everyone to read, and for any age. It is very humorous and made me take a step back and make sure I was trying to have fun while being a good person. I would honestly catch myself grinning while I was reading this. A truly great story to read over and over again!