Cheaper by the Dozen

"Discover the heartwarming tale of 'Cheaper by the Dozen' in this timeless memoir. Dive into the chaos and love of a family with twelve children. Explore the Gilbreth family's humorous journey through life's adventures in this classic book."
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Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
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“Cheaper by the Dozen” is a heartwarming memoir written by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. First published in 1948, it narrates the humorous yet touching tale of the Gilbreth family, headed by efficiency experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The book offers a delightful glimpse into the bustling life of a family with twelve children and how their parents manage to balance work, life, and the unique challenges that come with a large household.


The book presents a lighthearted yet insightful portrayal of the Gilbreth family‘s life. Frank and Lillian, both efficiency experts, apply their principles of efficiency to parenting, resulting in a household run with precision and creativity. The family navigates everyday challenges and adventures, from getting the children ready for school to managing the chaos of a bustling household.

Each of the twelve children brings their own quirks and personalities to the story. The narrative revolves around the family dynamics, showcasing the love, laughter, and occasional chaos that ensue with a dozen children under one roof. The parents’ unique methods for handling their large brood often lead to comedic situations, but also to valuable life lessons.


“Cheaper by the Dozen” has garnered widespread acclaim for its humor, warmth, and relatable portrayal of family life. Critics and readers alike praise its ability to capture the essence of a bustling household and the Gilbreth parents’ innovative parenting techniques.

New York Times called it, “A funny book, a sad book, a heartwarming book, a wise book.” Many readers appreciate its timeless quality, as it continues to resonate with audiences across generations.

The blend of humor, insightful anecdotes, and the touching bond within the family has made it a classic in the realm of memoirs. Readers often find themselves laughing at the chaotic situations the Gilbreth family encounters, yet also deeply moved by the genuine love and care evident among its members.


“You know, if I had my way, I’d never work. I’d just stay home all day, watch Scarface 50 times, eat a turkey pot pie, and drink myself to death.” – Frank Gilbreth Jr.

“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” – Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

“Dad’s idea of punishment was sending us to bed without supper. My idea of punishment was eating supper.” – Frank Gilbreth Jr.

“The only really unhappy people are the ones who never have obsessions.” – Lillian Gilbreth


Q : Is “Cheaper by the Dozen” based on a true story?
A : Yes, “Cheaper by the Dozen” is a semi-autobiographical work based on the experiences of Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, two of the twelve children of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth.

Q : Are the parenting methods depicted in the book practical in real life?
A : While the Gilbreth parents’ methods were innovative and effective in managing their large family, not all strategies might be applicable to every family. However, their emphasis on teamwork, organization, and communication can offer valuable insights for parents.

Q : How does the book depict the family dynamics of a large household?
A : The book beautifully portrays the dynamics of a big family, showcasing the individual quirks and relationships between siblings. It captures the chaos, fun, and love that come with a household full of children.

Q : Why has “Cheaper by the Dozen” remained popular over the years?
A : The book’s timeless themes of family, love, and the humor found in everyday life resonate with readers of all ages. Its ability to balance humor with heartfelt moments makes it enduring and relatable.

“Cheaper by the Dozen” continues to enchant readers with its portrayal of the Gilbreth family’s extraordinary yet ordinary life. Its blend of humor, warmth, and wisdom ensures its place as a beloved classic in the world of literature.