Excerpt from The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Penderwicks

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

by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jun 2005, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2007, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

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 weeks in August. Mr. Penderwick snatched it up, sight unseen.

He didn't know what he was getting us into, Batty would say. Rosalind always said, It's too bad Mommy never saw Arundel--she would have loved the gardens. And Jane would say, There are much better gardens in heaven. And Mommy will never have to bump into Mrs. Tifton in heaven, Skye added to make her sisters laugh. And laugh they would, and the talk would move on to other things, until the next time someone remembered Arundel.

But all that is in the future. When our story begins, Batty is still only four years old. Rosalind is twelve, Skye eleven, and Jane ten. They're in their car with Mr. Penderwick and Hound. The family is on the way to Arundel and, unfortunately, they're lost.

"It's Batty's fault," said Skye.

"It is not," said Batty.

"Of course it is," said Skye. "We wouldn't be lost if Hound hadn't eaten the map, and Hound wouldn't have eaten the map if you hadn't hidden your sandwich in it."

"Maybe it's fate that Hound ate the map. Maybe we'll discover something wonderful while we're lost," said Jane.

"We'll discover that when I'm in the backseat for too long with my younger sisters, I go insane and murder them," said Skye.

"Steady, troops," said Mr. Penderwick. "Rosalind, how about a game?"

"Let's do I Went to the Zoo and I Saw," said Rosalind. "I went to the zoo and I saw an anteater. Jane?"

"I went to the zoo and I saw an anteater and a buffalo," said Jane.

Batty was between Jane and Skye, so it was her turn next. "I went to the zoo and I saw an anteater, a buffalo, and a cangaroo."

"Kangaroo starts with a k, not a c," said Skye.

"It does not. It starts with a c, like cat," said Batty.

"Just take your turn, Skye," said Rosalind.

"There's no point in playing if we don't do it right."

Rosalind, who was sitting in the front seat with Mr. Penderwick, turned around and gave Skye her oldest-sister glare. It wouldn't do much, Rosalind knew. After all, Skye was only one year younger than she was. But it might quiet her long enough for Rosalind to concentrate on where they were going. They really were badly lost. This trip should have taken an hour and a half, and already they'd been on the road for three. Rosalind looked over at her father in the driver's seat. His glasses were slipping down his nose and he was humming his favorite Beethoven symphony, the one about spring. Rosalind knew this meant he was thinking about plants--he was a professor of botany--instead of about his driving.

"Daddy," she said, "what do you remember about the map?"

"We're supposed to go past a little town called Framley, then make a few turns and look for number eleven Stafford Street."

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall Copyright © 2005 by Jeanne Birdsall. Excerpted by permission of Knopf Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...
  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Imperial Wife
    by Irina Reyn

    A smart, engaging novel that parallels two fascinating worlds and two singular women.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Spinster
by Kate Bolick

A bold, original, moving book that will inspire fanatical devotion and ignite debate.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!