The Penderwicks

by Jeanne Birdsall

I felt like I deserved some light reading after The Count of Monte Cristo, and this had a cute cover. (I know, I know, but it turned out alright.) The Penderwicks are a fairly nice family consisting of four sisters, their botanist father, and their dog Hound who is rather inclined to barf. The oldest sister, Rosalind, is twelve, and it goes from there to Skye, Jane, and Batty (short for Elizabeth), who’s four.

It was kind of like a more modern, girls-only version of the Bastables; much that the Penderwicks do goes wrong despite the best of intentions, and Skye rarely has the best of intentions. The family is vacationing for three weeks at a cottage located on the large estate of Mrs. Tifton, whose husband ran off long ago, leaving her with a son, Jeffrey. None of the Penderwick girls like Mrs. Tifton but they do befriend Jeffrey, and most of their efforts during the vacation center on making his life better.

I’m starting to think that I just can’t be happy with a book, because of course it was the ending that disappointed me. It was too rushed. There was tons of dramatic buildup, the Penderwicks were leaving in the morning, nothing was resolved, and then suddenly – as they were in the driveway ready to go – Jeffrey ran up and explained how he and his mother had talked and come to an agreement about his life. Everything got fixed! Hooray!

Well, regardless of that, the four sisters are really adorable, and I enjoyed how the author was able to give them such distinct personalities. My favorite: Batty wears a pair of butterfly wings everywhere she goes. If only I had been so cool!

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One Comment on “The Penderwicks”

  1. KHL says:

    We were in a restaurant not long ago, and there was a girl wearing butterfly/fairy wings that even had blinking lights. So many fun things to spend money on for kids! Obviously–like prom dresses–there are some things that you just don’t get to wear after a certain age.


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