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
  • 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

Book Summary

Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day. 2005 National Book Award Winner. Ages 8-12.

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 ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Click here for a comprehensive 6-page teacher's guide in PDF form at randomhouse.com
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!
  • award image

    BookBrowse Awards
    2006

  • award image

    National Book Awards
    2005

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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).

Full Review Members Only (320 words).

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

Hannah

the pendetwicks is great
Its an amazing book!

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

Write your own review!

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!

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 ...

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!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Penderwicks, try these:

  • A Greyhound of a Girl jacket

    A Greyhound of a Girl

    by Roddy Doyle

    Published 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out. Perfect for thoughtful middle-graders and young teen girls.

  • Dead End in Norvelt jacket

    Dead End in Norvelt

    by Jack Gantos

    Published 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A sly, sharp-edged narrative about a small western Pennsylvania town and a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
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!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: A Great Reckoning
    A Great Reckoning
    by Louise Penny
    Canadian author Louise Penny is back with her twelfth entry in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache ...
  • Book Jacket: Homegoing
    Homegoing
    by Yaa Gyasi
    It's all very well to challenge people to be the masters of their own destiny, but when you&#...
  • Book Jacket: When Breath Becomes Air
    When Breath Becomes Air
    by Paul Kalanithi
    When Breath Becomes Air is the autobiography of Paul Kalanithi, written in the time period between ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Who Said...

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

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.