Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Review: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boyis a delightful story of four very different sisters: Rosalind, the dependable and sensible oldest sister, Skye, the wild, brash, brainy sister, Jane, the budding authoress and voracious reader, and Batty, the shy animal-loving littlest sister. The four sisters, along with their father, take a summer vacation at a cottage rented by the very strict Mrs. Tifton. What they weren't expecting was Jeffrey - Mrs. Tifton's son.

Things I Liked:
I adored the sisters - each of them was unique, interesting, and lovable in their own ways. I found myself identifying with each of the girls in different ways. The story of their summer made me want to figure out which one I was most like - and it turns out I have a little of each! The story itself is also very sweet, but has undertones of serious subjects. Jeffrey is written just as I would imagine someone in his situation would react. The relationships between the girls was what I loved the most - their family is close and loving, even those sisters who don't always get along. A perfect book for grade school girls.

Things I Didn't Like:
I wish I had this book back when I was 10 or 11. I loved the girls and the humorous stories of what they did and how they got into trouble, but it was a little too young for me to enjoy as an adult. I would have devoured it much more quickly if I had been able to still see from a child's perspective (oh, how I wish I could)! The ending was a bit too nice, but hopeful - which is what I would have wanted anyway.

The sisters reminded me of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy from Little Womenby Louisa May Alcott
A bit like a Roald Dahl or E.L. Konigsburg.

I loved what Birdsall said on the book jacket:
"Each week I'd go to the library hoping that one of my favorite authors had written something new. Or even better, maybe I'd find a new author who wrote just the kind of books I loved best. But most weeks I'd have to take home books I'd already read, some of them eight, nine, or ten times. I promised myself then that I'd become a writer someday, to give readers like me a few more books to discover and enjoy."
s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****


  1. I really loved this book! I wished that I had had it as a child, too. I also enjoyed the sequel. So cute!

  2. I've got to pick up the sequel sometime soon!

  3. I am going to add this to my kids Future read list. I really love how you put read-alikes on your reviews. Thanks.

  4. elnice, welcome! Thanks and I am sure your kids will love your list - I've started making a future kid reading list too!

  5. I call this a Modern Melendy Quartet!


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