Summary and book reviews of The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks

A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

By Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks
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  • Hardcover: Jun 2005,
    272 pages.
    Paperback: Mar 2007,
    272 pages.

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Book Summary

Winner of the 2006 BookBrowse Sapphire Award for Most Popular Debut 2005.

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.

Winner 2005 - National Book Award.
Winner 2005 - Child Magazine's Best Books of the Year.

A Boy at the Window


For a long time after that summer, the four Penderwick sisters still talked of Arundel. Fate drove us there, Jane would say. No, it was the greedy landlord who sold our vacation house on Cape Cod, someone else would say, probably Skye.

Who knew which was right? But it was true that the beach house they usually rented had been sold at the last minute, and the Penderwicks were suddenly without summer plans. Mr. Penderwick called everywhere, but Cape Cod was booked solid, and his daughters were starting to think they would be spending their whole vacation at home in Cameron, Massachusetts. Not that they didn't love Cameron, but what is summer without a trip to somewhere special? Then, out of the blue, Mr. Penderwick heard through a friend of a friend about a cottage in the Berkshire Mountains. It had plenty of bedrooms and a big fenced-in pen for a dog--perfect for big, black, clumsy, lovable Hound Penderwick--and it was available to be rented for three ...

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    BookBrowse Awards
    2006

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    National Book Awards
    2005

Reviews

BookBrowse

First time author Jeanne Birdsall has given us a family that is idiosyncratic without being ridiculously eccentric, and a charming set of children who are opinionated but not obnoxious. Little Batty, in particular, is a winner. I look forward to seeing if Birdsall can continue to work the same magic in the follow up due to be published in 2008, which will feature the four Penderwick children and a boy called Tommy Geiger who lives across the street and loves football above all.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Zoe Baxter Buchanan - Adult & YA Librarian, Naperville Public Library, IL.

This summer I was looking for a book I could read aloud to four children: my son (age 12 - into fantasy and adventure), my daughter (age 9 - a voracious reader), and my two nieces (ages 10 - a good reader and 8- a reluctant reader and listener). I thought I would try this book because the mix of characters closely matched my group and they were on vacation in the story just like us. The book worked at all levels! They named themselves after the different characters and were begging for storytime each night. It was a great choice.

Publishers Weekly

Certain to be as sorry as the sisters are when it's time to leave Arundel, readers will hope for a return visit from this memorable cast. Ages 8-12.

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr

It is definitely a throwback to the 1950s era of summers actually puttered away out of doors or with books. TV? Video games? Forget it. If it were not for a passing mention of a computer, the illusion would be complete.... should delight younger readers while reintroducing them to a gentler genre gone but not forgotten. Ages 8-12.

School Library Journal - Allison Gray

This enjoyable tale of four sisters, a new friend, and his snooty mother is rollicking fun.....Problems are solved and lessons learned in this wonderful, humorous book that features characters whom readers will immediately love, as well as a superb writing style. Bring on more of the Penderwicks! Grades 4-6.

Kirkus Reviews

Echoes of Alcott contribute to the intimate charm of this story of "summer and magic and adventure." ...... Their adventures and near-disasters, innocent crushes, escaped animals, owning-up and growing up (and yes, changes of heart) are satisfying and not-too-sweet. Fiction 8-12.

Booklist - Ilene Cooper

Adults who have been longing to find books for children that remind them of their own childhood favorites need look no further..... So satisfying, the story begs for a sequel: it would be nice to see more of the Penderwicks.

Reader Reviews
Amanda Martin

The Penderwicks
The Penderwicks is my favorite book of all time. And thats all I am going to say. If you want to hear more, the only advice I can give you is, READ IT.

Hannah Battle

The Penderwicks
Really I think saying " Murder" is like kids and should be used in all her books. Please Jeanne don't stop that! Your books are my favorite (and I've read lots of books!) Thank you so much for The Penderwicks! And I like all the ...   Read More

Hannazo

Penderwicks reveiw
This book is awesome. My friend gave it to me for my birthday in like... 3rd grade!! I remember thinking it was the lamest present until I actually read it! My Dad helped me read it. I don't remember too much about it, but I remember it was good!! ...   Read More

Jazz

BEST BOOK EVER
I love this book, it is probably the best book i have ever read. It is so touching and sometimes I wish my sisters where like that. My favorite characters are either Jane or Batty. If you haven't read this book you´re really missing out. I read it ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Jeanne Birdsall grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia.  She says she first decided to become a writer when she was ten years old, but it took her until she was forty-one to get started. In the years in between she held many 'strange jobs' and also worked as a photographer, with some of her photos in the permanent ...

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