This is a rare de-lurk to ask for help from the vast collective knowledge of the Straight Dope. I get slightly cross when people post asking for help in tracking down books they could have found themselves by expending some time with Google, and I promise I have spent a long time seeking for myself before turning to you. The problem is that my memories of this book are very vivid, but the details I remember aren’t the sort that help you track down a book using a search engine. I can only hope that someone out there remembers it, based on my fragmentary details. Here goes:
The book (or it may have been a series) was about a large family, perhaps eight or ten children. My memory is that the family was conveniently alternating girls and boys, and that their names all started with ‘M’. I think the oldest two children were called Mona and Mark. I seem to remember a grandparent also living with them. The family moves (from a flat in a city, I think) to a house in a clearing in a forest, and the stories are about the children’s adventures in the forest. I remember a ‘foreigness’ to the setting which makes me think the book may have been translated, perhaps from a scandinavian language. The winter is certainly very cold, I remember that. I think I was quite young when I read the book, but I was a precocious reader, so it may have been aimed at older children. It must be quite an old book by now, as I was born in 1972 so was probably reading it in the late 1970’s.
I would love to find this book and re-read it. I’ve been on a nostalgia kick recently, tracking down and reading such favourites as Bogwoppit, Finn Family Moomintroll, and My Naughty Little Sister.