Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheaper by the Dozen

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Overview

The #1 New York Times–bestselling classic: A hilarious memoir of two parents, twelve kids, and “a life of cheerfully controlled chaos” (The New York Times).

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.
   

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480457072
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 11/05/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 207
Sales rank: 28,880
File size: 4 MB

About 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

Read an Excerpt

Cheaper by the Dozen


By Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

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



CHAPTER 1

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.

CHAPTER 2

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.


(Continues...)

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.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • Foreword
  • Preface
  • 1. Whistles and Shaving Bristles
  • 2. Pierce Arrow
  • 3. Orphans in Uniform
  • 4. Visiting Mrs. Murphy
  • 5. Mister Chairman
  • 6. Touch System
  • 7. Skipping Through School
  • 8. Kissing Kin
  • 9. Chinese Cooking
  • 10. Motion Study Tonsils
  • 11. Nantucket
  • 12. The Rena
  • 13. Have You Seen the Latest Model?
  • 14. Flash Powder and Funerals
  • 15. Gilbreths and Company
  • 16. Over the Hill
  • 17. Four Wheels, No Brakes
  • 18. Motorcycle Mac
  • 19. The Party Who Called You …
  • A Biography of Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

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Cheaper by the Dozen 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 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.
gamermom2004 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this story. I have read it several time and love how Mr. Gilbreth was into motion study and how to save time in everything. Though I would not have liked to be part of the mass tonsilectomy!
Camethyste on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A thoroughly amusing book written by two of the dozen children of efficiency experts Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth. They tell of many amusing incidents in their lives up until the death of their father in 1924. A light-hearted and interesting read.
AspiringAmeliorant on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A family classic. The antics of the Gilbreth family, with motion-study expert father and psychologist mother never cease to amuse. While this is not a story so much as a series of anecdotes, those anecdotes serve as wonderful exposition to a very amusing family, as well as a look back at times when cars were new, bathing suits had tights, and short hair was a serious hurdle to be overcome with protective parents.To those who have seen the recent movie--The Gilbreth family is run with an efficiency and efficacy that Steve Martin could never dream of. They are not the same at all. Please read the book; it's also funny, but in a much more sophisticated way.To those who have seen the older movies with Myrna Loy, etc: That movie does an excellent job incorporating many of the funniest anecdotes in the book, while creating a story line for them to hang on. The book includes a few more (you might be particularly interested in "Kissing Kin" and "Chinese Cooking," which detail the family's visit to relatives, "Nantucket" and "The Rena" which describe summer escapades, and "Touch" which tells the story of 'Moby Dick,' the white typewriter).
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am probably going to be flayed alive by fans of this classic bit of kiddie lit, but I didn't love it. As a matter of fact, far from wondering what it would have been like to have grown up in their family, I was beyond grateful that I didn't. Usually I am all for daydreaming and inserting myself in the appealing, old-fashioned world but not in this instance. I do understand that writing this book was probably a labor of love on Gilbreth and Carey's parts. And I am quite certain that they would be horrified to know that I found their father, at least as depicted here, to be an unpleasant sort. The idea of running a family as a factory or business might seem quaint and entertaining from a distance but it struck me as distasteful. I was particularly interested in the assertion by the authors that he respected children and that's why so many children liked him. Then, completely without irony, they said that he would cut off their dinner conversation by declaring it "not of general interest" and go on to expound on whatever had fascinated or consumed him that day. Respectful? Wow. That's not my understanding of the word. But the look at the times and the inner workings (even if unusual) of a large family was interesting. Mother Lil was really rather marginalized in this book but I suspect she takes center stage in the next book so perhaps the pair are intended to be seperate portraits of their parents in the milieu that the children knew them best: the family. It is also worth noting that there was only about one year in which all 12 children were at home since the age span between the first and the twelfth is great enough. And since Frank Sr. died when the youngest was merely two, his jovial response to people's wonder at so many children that they come cheaper by the dozen was really only true at the very tail end of his life. The book is almost episodic in nature, with the interesting bits recounted, leaving the narrative flow a bit choppy. And figuring out who all the children were? Don't count on it as they aren't described distinctly enough to differentiate amongst them. But this is a classic and people do love it so perhaps I was just in a terrible mood or completely missed the elusive something that draws readers to a book. The family antics were occasionally entertaining but I had a hard time getting past my dislike of the not quite so genial patriarch. Heresy, but I prefer the movie versions.
gillis.sarah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I first read this book in fifth or sixth grade and found it really entertaining. It's the story of a real family, the Gilbreths, whose parents were industrial engineers and efficiency experts and seemed to have a system for everything. They also had twelve children. It's a cute, funny story that is an easy read.
RachelPenso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After the last book I read, I needed a book like this. Short, easy to read, cute, and fun. I didn't realize, however, that the stories in the book are true, as remembered by two of the twelve Gilbreth children.
Canadian_Down_Under on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this book because I love the movie by the same name. Of course, I refer to the movie starring Clifton Webb and not the cheap remake with Steve Martin. I wanted to love this book and, in fact, I did love this book, but one thing kept me from giving it 5 stars. I could not get past the subtle (or not so subtle) racism from the mother. She had a habit of saying when something or somebody was unsavoury or dirty, that they were being "Eskimo". I know that the time of this book was the early 20th century and that this kind of racism was common and acceptable but today it is not and it left me with a mild distaste for the book as a result.That aside, this book nicely tells about an amazing family headed by a remarkable man and woman who were ahead of their time when it came to efficiency studies.
Redbud on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Funny and bittersweet, this is a not-to-be-missed story.
Kace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read and re-read this story so many times. It was so much fun to get involved in the family dynamics. If you look to deeply, or attempted this type of "managed" family approach, the kids would probably need therapy. Just goes to show you how soft kids are these days :)
MereYom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A favorite for the large family to read together. Be aware of mild language.
callista83 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wow! I don't even know hot 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.
AMcComas12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was not expecting this to be a good book when I picked it up because it was writen so long ago, so I was happily suprised when I started reading. This is a light-hearted and inspiring book. It chronicles the life of a family of twelve living under the roof of a motion study engineer. Everything is done in the most productive way and the strive for efficiency makes for a humorous story. The closeness of this rather large family and their support for one another represented perfectly in this humorous novel.
Nikkles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favorite stories. It really holds up over time, so I think modern children will really enjoy it as i did.
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of the Gilbreth family is amusing and touching, particularly if one ignores the travesty that was the most recently produced movie 'based' on this book. It is the story of how two people decided to have twelve children and then proceeded to do just that and how their father managed to keep a tight ship running with the use and knowledge of time study. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the time period, has enjoyed reading about other family-type biographies or simply likes a touching story.
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very fun story of a family and the interesting peccadillo's of their father and his parenting ideas. Much better than the new movie, and also better than the old movie.
librarianlou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The adventures of a most unusual family in the early part of the century
ashishg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A humourous and anecdotal quasi-biography of family of 14 in early 19th century America. Interesting and funny incidents in households with dozen children and how their parents (notable motion study experts) dealt with them occupy majority of the book. Father and his methods as efficiency expert are also notable and charming. Quick and simple read with poignant end.
sflax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More than a fun story about a large family in the early twentieth century, though it is that. The standout character in this book is the father, an unconventional efficiency expert who happens to be hilarious. I suppose it's low on plot; it's a vignette-based text, but those vignettes are generally amusing and always well-told. The recent movie has very, very little to do with this book.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year 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