I read Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks many years ago in elementary school at the recommendation of a friend, and while I remember liking it, I remembered nothing else. When I saw it at the library (yes a lot of my book reviews start this way. I like the library, how could I not? FREE BOOKS), I decided to reread it and see if the positive impression of it held up now that I was older.
A National Book Award winner, this modern classic is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager.
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they 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 best 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 pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will—won’t they? One thing’s for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.
Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.
Normally I roll my eyes at whatever praise is included in a book description (because come on publishers, I’ll make up my mind myself), but whoever wrote the description for The Penderwicks hits the nail on the head. The Penderwicks is “deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty [and] this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day.”
Although modern, the Penderwick sisters have good old fashioned adventures outside which gives the book a timeless quality and reminded me very much of the books of E. Nesbitt I read as a child. There is conflict in the book, but most of the problems faced are self contained mini stories which make this book a breezy, easy read. It also left me very nostalgic for childhood summers with endless days of warm weather and free time for playing.
I wanted to stay in the happy world of the Penderwicks for longer, but luckily there are sequels. This is an incredibly charming book and I recommend it for adults and kids alike. Kids will be sucked into the fun antics the four sisters get up to, and adults will recall their own childhood summers.
Stay magical readers!