"Few [families] in children’s literature are as engaging or amusing as the Vanderbeekers."
—Booklist, starred review
It’s five days before Christmas and the Vanderbeeker children — Isa, Jessie, Oliver, Hyacinth, and Laney — should be dreaming about sugar plums and presents. But when Mr. Beiderman, their seriously unpleasant landlord and third floor neighbor, says they need to leave their brownstone apartment by New Year’s, there are suddenly more pressing worries. And the Vanderbeekers aren’t the kind of kids who will sit by sucking candy canes while some grouchy old man kicks them out of the home and Harlem neighborhood they love.
While their parents bring out the packing boxes and talk about moving to the suburbs, the kids know there must be another way — convincing their landlord to let them stay. They try everything they can think of. But it’s harder than they thought to win him over, and there are other distractions too as each child has their own issues to deal with.
The day of the move approaches, and the kids know they need to pull it together for Operation Beiderman. There’s nothing they won’t do to convince their grump of a landlord to like them. It’s an operation that has to succeed.