Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: The Penderwicks

If you have not yet met the Penderwicks, you are seriously missing out.  I confess right at the beginning that these are some of my favorite books of all time.  The four sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty and endearing and oh so flawed.  Maybe it's because I am one of four sisters myself (and a brother), but I can relate to these girls so easily.  Every time I meet them, I come away smiling or laughing.  Now that you know that this review will not be objective in the slightest, let me introduce you to the Penderwick clan.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
by Jeanne Birdsall
Alfred A. Knopf, 2005
All Grades
Reviewed from personal copy.
Meet the Penderwicks, four different sisters with one special bond.  There's responsible, practical Rosalind; stubborn, feisty Skye; dreamy, artistic Jane; and shy little sister Batty, who won't go anywhere without her butterfly wings.  When the girls and their doting father head off for their summer holiday, they are in for a surprise.  Instead of the cozy, tumbledown cottage they expected, they find themselves on a beautiful estate called Arundel.  Soon the girls are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts.  But the most wonderful discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel's owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.  The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as please with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble.  Which they will--won't they? (blurb comes from the book cover)

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
by Jeanne Birdsall
Alfred A. Knopf, 2008
All Grades
Reviewed from personal copy.

THE PENDERWICK SISTERS are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return. (Goodreads.com)


The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
by Jeanne Birdsall
Alfred A. Knopf, 2011
All Grades
Reviewed from personal copy.

When summer comes around, it's off to the beach for Rosalind... and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey.  That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick) - a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor. But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind's directions about not letting Batty explode? Will Jane's Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty - contrary to all accepted wisdom - the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune? And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family? (Goodreads.com) 


As I mentioned above, these books are delightful. Not only is the writing very fine, but the characters feel so real, both the talents and flaws of Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty, and their friend Jeffrey show up loud and clear.  This third book has a special surprise in store for Jeffrey, a plot twist that I should have picked up on before I did, but I was so involved in the sisters antics that I didn't notice it at first. I won't say more than that because I don't want to spoil it if you haven't read it yet. Happy sigh. Only problem now is that I'll have to wait for the next one.

2 comments:

  1. I always see the Penderwicks whenever I am in the library or in the bookstore, but I haven't had the chance to really read through this - that is why I was very interested when I saw you that you reviewed them. Your description kind of reminded me of Madeleine L'engle's family in A Wrinkle in Time - only more playful and more of-this-world. I hope I can check these titles out soon. =)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for visiting. It's been a long time since I've read Madeleine L'Engle's books, but I did love them when I was younger. Hope you enjoy the Penderwicks.

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