Cheaper by the Dozen

Cheaper by the Dozen


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One of the best-loved American memoirs of an oversized family and the parents who held them together.

What do you get when you put twelve lively kids together with a father—a famous efficiency expert—who believes families can run like factories, and a mother who is his partner in everything except discipline? You get a hilarious tale of growing up that has made generations of kids and adults alike laugh along with the Gilbreths in Cheaper by the Dozen.

Translated into more than fifty-three languages and made into a classic film starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, this memoir is a delightfully enduring story of family life at the turn of the 20th century.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780871292285
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/28/1950
Edition description: ADAPTED

About the Author

Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. was born in 1911 in Plainfield, New Jersey, and graduated from the University of Michigan. He became a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II and received a Bronze Star and Air Medal. In 1947, he joined the staff of what is now the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina. A columnist and reporter, he authored and coauthored several books, including Belles on Their Toes (with Ernestine Gilbreth Carey), How to Be a Father, and Time Out for Happiness. In 1950, he was corecipient (with his sister) of the French International Humor Award for Cheaper by the Dozen. He died in 2001.

Ernestine Gilbreth Carey was born in 1908 in New York City and graduated as an English major from Smith College. In 1930, soon after graduation, she began fourteen years of New York City department store buying and management. Meanwhile, she married and had two children. A writer and lecturer, she has authored and coauthored seven books, including Belles on Their Toes (with Frank Gilbreth Jr.), Jumping jupiter, Rings Around Us, and Giddy Moment. In 1950 she was corecipient (with her brother) of the French International Humor Award for Cheaper by the Dozen. She lives in Reedley, California.

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Cheaper by the Dozen 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 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.
Leanne Allen 4 months ago
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.