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The Moffats Chapter Books

Eleanor Estes once said that, as a writer, she hoped to reflect “the true image of childhood.” And she did just that in the nearly twenty books she authored over a period of forty-six years, including the much-loved series about the charming Moffat family.

Who Are the Moffats?

The Moffat family consists of four children (Sylvie, Joe, Jane, and Rufus), their widowed mother, and Catherine-the-Cat. They rent a little yellow house in the village of Cranbury, where Mama works from home as a dressmaker.

Although written in the 1940s, the series is set during Estes’s childhood (circa 1915) and is said to be semi-autobiographical. Old-fashioned details like horse-drawn carriages, kerosene oil lamps, and hitching posts give readers a peek into history.

The Moffats - the first book in The Moffats Chapter Book Series

The Moffats are a kind and loving family who work hard to make ends meet. The children have good intentions, but they usually end up in some kind of trouble along the way—and their shenanigans will make for lots of fun during your family read-aloud time!

Take our free Moffats Series Checklist to your local library!

About the Author

Eleanor Estes was born in 1906 and, like Jane Moffat, was the third of four children. Estes worked as a children’s librarian, and began writing children’s books in the 1930s while recovering from tuberculosis. Her first book, The Moffats, was published in 1941. During her career, Eleanor Estes wrote twenty books, including three more books about the indomitable Moffats.

In 1952, Eleanor Estes received the Newbery Medal for Ginger Pye. She also received Newbery Honor Book awards for The Middle Moffat, Rufus M., and The Hundred Dresses.

About the Books

In the first book in the series, The Moffats, we’re introduced to the Moffat children. Concerns arise when a man tacks a “For Sale” sign to the front of their beloved yellow house. Although the children attempt to intervene, the threat of the home’s possible sale continues throughout the book. The children’s other escapades include an impromptu freight train ride for Rufus, the creation of a “ghost” in the attic (to scare a troublesome neighbor), and the devastating loss of a $5 bill.

The Middle Moffat - Book 2 in The Moffats Chapter Book Series

Jane is the star of The Middle Moffat, a Newbery Honor book. As the title suggests, the story follows Jane’s adventures as she navigates life as “the Middle Moffat.” Despite the children’s best efforts, the yellow house has been sold. The entire Moffat family must adjust to life in a new house on a new street, where Jane makes a new best friend and takes it upon herself to be in the middle of everything.

Seven-year-old Rufus takes center stage in Rufus M. In this Newbery Honor Book, Rufus faces many personal challenges, such as learning to write his name so he can get a library card, impatiently trying to grow beans, and attempting to knit a washcloth to help the war effort.

The final book in the series is The Moffat Museum. The book opens with a new idea from Jane: “The Moffats should have a museum!” Jane envisions the museum as a place for the Moffats to house their favorite things and celebrate their memoriesan especially important project because the children are growing up and life is changing for the Moffat family. This heartwarming series finale was written in 1983, forty years after Estes wrote the first three books.

The Moffats Series at a Glance

Rufus M. - the third book in The Moffats Chapter Book Series

Author: Eleanor Estes
Genre: children’s fiction, humor
Interests: family life, friendship, childhood, growing up
Suggested age range: 7 to 12
Gender preference: boys and girls
In the series: 4 books, 210 to 256 pages each

The Moffats Series Library Checklist

Do your kids need extra encouragement to read?

Take The Moffats Series checklist to your local library and have your child check off books as he reads them.

Looking for more great chapter books? We’ve got you covered!

FREE Chapter Book Library Lists

All About Learning Press, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All proceeds from our partnership with Amazon.com will be donated to local libraries.

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Fam Bless

says:

What can I do iffy boys (age 8 and 9) don’t want to read but only comics books. Every time I make them read other books , there is always a cry when that happens.
Is that normal since all I have is boys and will they grow out o fit? Any suggestions will really help out.

Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It does seem that many children go through a stage, around those ages, of wanting to read only a certain kind of book. It might be comic books or graphic novels, but it might also be only books from a certain series. One of my sons only wanted to read books in the Basil of Bakerstreet series (a children’s version of Sherlock Holmes featuring a mouse) but as the series has been out of print for a long while it was difficult finding him the books. He wasn’t interested in reading anything else, not even other mouse mystery books.

If you are exposing your boys to other literature through reading aloud to them and through audiobooks, then they are likely to want to branch out to other kinds of books in time. However, if they aren’t experiencing the joys of literature in other ways, they may not. For this reason, and others detailed in this blog post, I highly recommend you read aloud to them daily.

With the other books that you require them to read, are you sure they are on your boys’ easy to comfortable reading level? It is especially important when you trying to expand a child’s reading to make sure you choose books that they will not find difficult to read. This is not the time to worry about “grade level”. If they haven’t been interested in 3rd grade level books, try 2nd grade level and lower. Also, if they struggle with reading in anyway way, it is better to address their struggles and learning gaps than to just keep choosing books hoping they will enjoy one sooner or later. Reading must be a comfortable thing to do before it will an enjoyable thing.

If they have no reading struggles and you have a book in mind that you think they will enjoy, start by reading a chapter or two aloud to them. Once they get interested in it, put it down. When they beg for “One more chapter, please!” let them know that you are busy (or your voice is tired) but they would be able to read the book themselves if they like. This doesn’t always work, but it sometimes does.

Another idea is to find books that have exciting covers on topics they are interested in. Then leave these books laying around the house. Keep in mind that non-fiction books are just as good as chapter books and novels. If they love Minecraft, find a book or three about Minecraft (there are LOTS of them out there). If they love Lego building, pick up a Lego book. Your library will helpful in this as you won’t know which of these books will catch their interests.

I hope this helps some. Let me know if you have further questions. I’d love to hear how it goes over the next month or two.

E.

says:

I love these books, and hope more children will discover them!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We agree!

Kelly Levesque

says:

This series looks so interesting! I believe the Moffats is on Mensa’s book list as well! Our goal is to read close to every book on each of the grade lists.

Beth C

says:

We loved the first, so excited to see its part of a series!

Crystal Hatlewick

says:

These look good! Will definitely have to get them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope you enjoy them, Crystal!

S

says:

I had no idea there were so many books in the Moffats series. I must look out for them in the library.

Olivia

says:

My boys and I enjoyed another Eleanor Estes book Ginger Pye.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Olivia,
Ginger Pie is such a fun story! My kids still talk about “Uncle Bennie”, and they are 20 and 18.

Marifer

says:

I’ve been wanting to read this series with my girls!

Catrina Persinger

says:

Printed the list – now for a trip to the library.

Janet Williams

says:

I have always used this series and students really enjoy them.

Amanda Lynch

says:

I have never read these! Thank you for the recommendation. I am so excited!

Dawn

says:

Can’t wait to go to the library and look for this series! Thank you for all the helpful hints!

Donald Knight

says:

Thanks for the suggestions you make.

Joy Lockwood

says:

Looking forward to trying these! Thanks!

Diane Behm

says:

YOur program looks very interesting and kid friendly. I am using the Susan Barton program and like it very much. I teach 3rd grade, however, and would like something that teaches the same concepts to a group of kids, rather than one-on-one.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Diane,
We have more information about using All About Reading and All About Spelling in a classroom in this blog post.

Ellen

says:

These books look great. We have never heard of them before and now can’t wait to read them!

Tara

says:

Sounds fun- we finished the Gooney Birdie series- so we will try this next :)

Abbey F

says:

Thank you for this post. We love the All-of-a-Kind Family books and the Noisy Village books, and are always looking for other high-quality, family-oriented series.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Abbey,
I haven’t heard of the Noisy Village books, but I’ll have to go check them out! We have loved the All-of-a-Kind Family books.

I’ve never seen these! Sounds like fun Summer Reading!

Jessica H

says:

These books look so good even I can’t wait to see what they are all about myself!! I think they would be perfect for my 7 yr old son and I to read together❤️ I love that even have so much history in them as well!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Your son is going to benefit from your enthusiasm about these books!

Melissa

says:

My daughter is enjoying all about reading.

Amy

says:

I am excited to read this series with my boys! Thanks for the info!

Amy Bryant

says:

Sounds like a delightful book set that would be an enjoyable read! I will have to check into these for my daughters!

Amanda

says:

I haven’t heard of these, they sound great!

Vanessa

says:

I have heard wonderful things about this program and am excited to learn more!

Lindsay

says:

Never heard of these books! Excited to try them out for our kids!

Julie

says:

I’ll have to check these out for summer reading

Emily Gibson

says:

I love the book recommendations!! Keep them coming!! :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We will, Emily!

Tonya Williams

says:

The Moffats are a fun group that my kids always enjoy! Will be using these books for years to come!

Margarita

says:

Hm these look pretty cool. I’ll definitely try reading one of these to my son.

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