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

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The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Is that any fun? For sure the summer will be unforgettable.


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The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Is that any fun? For sure the summer will be unforgettable.

30 review for The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rick Riordan

    I’ll admit I approach award-winning children’s books with some trepidation. All too often, children’s literature awards denote books that appeal to adult librarians and book critics rather than to children. The books are like brussel sprouts on the literary table. We are told to read them because they are supposedly good for us, not because we will enjoy them. I was happy to find that National Book Award winner The Penderwicks was an exception. Four sisters and their father take a three-week sum I’ll admit I approach award-winning children’s books with some trepidation. All too often, children’s literature awards denote books that appeal to adult librarians and book critics rather than to children. The books are like brussel sprouts on the literary table. We are told to read them because they are supposedly good for us, not because we will enjoy them. I was happy to find that National Book Award winner The Penderwicks was an exception. Four sisters and their father take a three-week summer vacation to a rented cottage behind Arundel Hall, and become involved in the fate of the young boy who lives in the mansion. The book is funny, sweet, gentle and moving. The characters are perfectly drawn. The book is also very accessible. I read it in a single afternoon, and I’m not a fast reader. Here is a book driven by character and atmosphere rather than by plot, and yet, unlike some other books that used to drive my students crazy because “nothing happens,” this one never loses the reader’s interest. Highly recommended for girls. It will still be a tough sell for boys, but I would not cringe to see The Penderwicks taught in the classroom. That’s more than I can say for many Newbery picks.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    4.5 stars People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely. The Penderwick sisters are summering with their father on a "cottage" (aka part of the Arundel estate). There's Rosalind (12), Skye (11), Jane (10) and Batty (4), and (of course) their dad and their dog (Hound Penderwick). They girls soon discover that this summer will be one that they will remember forever. Arundel is nothing like the neglected little cottage they imagined. Each of the girls have their own room, the sprawlin 4.5 stars People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely. The Penderwick sisters are summering with their father on a "cottage" (aka part of the Arundel estate). There's Rosalind (12), Skye (11), Jane (10) and Batty (4), and (of course) their dad and their dog (Hound Penderwick). They girls soon discover that this summer will be one that they will remember forever. Arundel is nothing like the neglected little cottage they imagined. Each of the girls have their own room, the sprawling grounds as their backyard and the adventure of a lifetime. Parents almost always want what's best for their children. They just don't always know what that is. However, Mrs. Tifton (the owner) is something else. She's mean, and stuffy, and rude, and just about everything in between. Her son, Jeffery, seems alright, but with a mother like that , just how will the girls have any fun? “Don't kill her now, just when we've gone to all that trouble to rescue her," said Jeffrey. Ahhh. This was truly a cute book. It reminds me a lot of Little Women (and I mean that in the best way. The characters are so sweet - and sassy - with each of their personalities rounding out their sisterhood. I really liked how the plot meandered from one adventure to the next. It's nice to get those slice of life books sprinkled here and there. It felt refreshing and I adored it. Onward to the next book! This is what made a book great, she thought, that you could read it over and over and never get tired of it. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat @miranda.reads Happy Reading!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I'm upping to 5 stars on reread. This is a timeless, heartwarming middle grade story of the Penderwick family and their three week vacation one August in a rental cottage in the Berkshire mountains, in western Massachusetts. It may not sound too exciting, but with the Penderwicks, everything is an adventure! The family consists of: ❧ Mr. Penderwick, a widower who loves plants and randomly speaks in Latin to his daughters; ❧ Rosalind, age 12, who's taken on the caregiver role for her younger sist I'm upping to 5 stars on reread. This is a timeless, heartwarming middle grade story of the Penderwick family and their three week vacation one August in a rental cottage in the Berkshire mountains, in western Massachusetts. It may not sound too exciting, but with the Penderwicks, everything is an adventure! The family consists of: ❧ Mr. Penderwick, a widower who loves plants and randomly speaks in Latin to his daughters; ❧ Rosalind, age 12, who's taken on the caregiver role for her younger sisters; ❧ Skye, 11, an adventurous girl whose blunt, occasionally ill-considered words sometimes get her in trouble; ❧ Jane, 10, aspiring author and soccer player. Often speaks as though she's writing one of her heroine's adventures ("For although Sabrina Starr had enough courage to face her adversaries, it was nice when she didn't have to."); ❧ Elizabeth ("Batty"), age 4, animal lover extraordinaire who wears fairy wings every day; and ❧ Hound, Batty's faithful companion. They meet Jeffrey (the "Very Interesting Boy" of the title); his alarmingly stern high society mother, who is renting the cottage to the Penderwick family, the handsome teenage gardener Cagney and his two pet rabbits, a belligerent bull in a pasture, and more. And they all learn and grow just a little in the course of their three-week stay in the Berkshire cottage that summer. I'm convinced that telling a middle grade tale well enough to charm both young and old is a truly difficult thing to pull off well, and takes a lot of talent. I bought this book about ten years ago for my daughter, who was about 9 years old at the time, and we both loved it. The Penderwick girls are vivid, quirky and varied personalities; I never had trouble remembering which girl was which. A recommended read, especially for young girls! Now to try to lay my hands on copies of the sequels ... Original post: I remember this as a completely delightful middle grade book about a family of young sisters and their family vacation one summer, but I haven't read it for years. For some reason it grabbed my attention today, even though I should be reading other books. We'll see how it holds up on reread!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read!!! My heart is so full, having just finished the book--it really touched me deeply and I absolutely love it! After just a few pages, I knew I the Penderwicks were destined to become my dear book-friends (like the March sisters and Anne and Emily of old!) and indeed the whole story was absolutely darling, charming, sweet, refreshing--everything I'd hoped for and more (because it is also remarkably sensitive, thoughtful and--I hate to say it, rare- Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read!!! My heart is so full, having just finished the book--it really touched me deeply and I absolutely love it! After just a few pages, I knew I the Penderwicks were destined to become my dear book-friends (like the March sisters and Anne and Emily of old!) and indeed the whole story was absolutely darling, charming, sweet, refreshing--everything I'd hoped for and more (because it is also remarkably sensitive, thoughtful and--I hate to say it, rare--in that it portrays a modern family who genuinely love one another and are genuinely nice, helpful people and good friends with one another). In my opinion, Birdsall's book deserves all the praise heaped upon it--but that does nothing to diminish the sheer joy of discovering for yourself just how wonderful it really is. I highly recommend all my friends to read it this summer!!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    emma

    there is no book more lovely and summery and sweet than this one. man oh man. this is a story about sisters that my sisters and i used to read growing up, and it is just as delightful (this book makes me use words like delightful!!) at 21 as it was at nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve. (i read this book a lot. like, a lot a lot.) i love these four sisters, and their friend Jeffrey, and their dad and their dog Hound. i love this setting and this summer. i could read this book again and again (a there is no book more lovely and summery and sweet than this one. man oh man. this is a story about sisters that my sisters and i used to read growing up, and it is just as delightful (this book makes me use words like delightful!!) at 21 as it was at nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve. (i read this book a lot. like, a lot a lot.) i love these four sisters, and their friend Jeffrey, and their dad and their dog Hound. i love this setting and this summer. i could read this book again and again (and in about an hour. it is very short. so on top of everything, my reading challenge loves it too). basically: I LOVE SISTERS AND SUMMER AND DOGS AND FRIENDSHIP. and this book is about all of those things!!!! dreamy. i intend to try to read the rest of the books in this series, mostly because i can't remember if i've read them before. i'm very excited. bottom line: YAY! -------------- what could BE more summery than rereading a book with the subtitle "A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy" ?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    A lovely set-up for a book, but the characters never felt real. Somehow all the ages felt off--Batty talked like someone much older than 4, I had to keep reminding myeslf that Rosalind was only 12, and Mrs. Tifton seemed like she was in her 50s, not early 30s. I just never fell in love with the characters. It was trying too hard to be sweet and charming. I did like Hound though.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Hackett (SuperSpaceChick)

    4.5 stars - This books is wonderful! It has all of the magic of a classic and I love the relationship between all of the sisters. Plus Hound is such a fun character!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ririt Rachma Miranti

    Book review: Tittle : The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Twi Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy Name : RIRIT RACHMA MIRANTI Tidar University, English Education skill class two, students number 1710302053 A good novel about childhood can make the reader feels rewind their childhood time. One of the best books for children and also the reader is a book from Jeanne Birdsall entitled The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. This book was publ Book review: Tittle : The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Twi Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy Name : RIRIT RACHMA MIRANTI Tidar University, English Education skill class two, students number 1710302053 A good novel about childhood can make the reader feels rewind their childhood time. One of the best books for children and also the reader is a book from Jeanne Birdsall entitled The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. This book was published in 2005, it has 262 pages of content. After released this book rapidly established itself as A Child Magazine Best Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book, A publishers Weekly Best Children’s book, A School Library Journal best Book of the Year and immediate bestseller status. The story about summer time of enchantment and adventure, this book is focusing on simple outdoor fun, lack of electronics, and four creative, intelligent sisters seem to belong to a different era than the twenty-first century. The Penderwicks is a story about responsible older sister Rosalind, 12 years old ;who has a temperamental and stubborn sister Skye, 11 years old; another little sister who likes daydreaming and budding writer Jane, 10 years old; and little Batty, 4 years old; also their botanist father. The do not have mother because she had passed away to a terminal illness just after Batty was born, also the sisters have formed a fierce bond. They journey of a summer vacation is at a rented cottage on the Arundel estate in the Berkshires is written in this book. On Arundel the Penderwicks sisters meet Jeffrey, a person who has talent in musical and a son of Mrs. Tifton, the arrogant owner of the Arundel estate, and Cagney, the teen groundskeeper. After some early social messes, the Penderwicks girls and Jeffrey get to be good friends, and Rosalind have a crush on Cagney. But Mrs. Tifton, reinforced by her likewise mean and snobbish beau Dexter Dupree, does not accept of the Penderwick girls also their friendship with her son. After an unhappy and terrible birthday party for Jeffrey, they hear his mom and Dupree will het to marry and send Jeffrey to military school. Jeffrey is shocked, and when his mother did not listen to his appeals, he plans to run away. Then the Penderwick sisters make it a mission to save Jeffrey from a terrible fate. Whether rescuing escaped rabbits or Batty from a bull's pen, barging into Mrs. Tifton's garden competition, searching through attic trunks to find old-fashioned dresses to wear to Jeffrey's birthday party, eating homemade gingerbread, the girls' adventures are always appealing and fun. And in the course of the summer, the sisters come to realize their own talents, challenges and changes. Even though this is a bestseller book, but I still find something that I do not like from the content of this book so I decided to write a review from this book. Some problematic events that appear in this novel are mostly concerning the message about lying. It is told when the two middle sisters agree to lie to their father and older sister about nearly letting the littlest Penderwick get gored by a bull. Another, story of lying is repeatedly in this episode, maintaining that their little sister was caught in a rose bush. I was really hoping that eventually the plot story would show the girls learning some sort of lesson about lying, but sadly, no. The message about lying here is certainly that one can lie with latitude and no guilty conscience. So, I think this is the lack of this book. Another detail thing that I really disliked was a subplot about Rosalind, the oldest Penderwick at 12 years old, having a huge crush on Cagney, the 19 years old gardener. I found this both ridiculous and inappropriate, when Rosalind discovers she is being foolish: “I’m an idiot, [Rosalind] thought. I’m only twelve years old -well, twelve and a half,- and Cagney’s much too grown-up to be my boyfriend.” Then, another negative aspect of the book: the name-calling from the children. Skye, the 11 years old, has a bad temper and is the worst culprit, saying bad things like: “Darn that Dexter. Double darn that lousy rotten no-good creep.” She also calls her littlest sister a stupid idiot and midget. However, there is a character development about her learning she needs self-control: “She sat up and swung her arms around wildly. This controlling her temper wasn’t going to be easy.” The 10 years old, Jane, calls names such as “fish head” and “silly git” playfully while practicing soccer. This is portrayed as meant merely in fun. Even though that are some bad or negative aspect from this book, but this book still has positive messages. Some of them are about being courageous, pursuing your dreams, loyalty to family and friends, kindness, and forgiveness. In this book tell about the four sisters each of them have a unique, strong personality to which tween girls will easily relate. Rosalind is kind and responsible. Skye is independent, hot tempered, and smart. Jane is a creative, aspiring writer. Batty is a dreamy animal lover. I do appreciate for all the positive interactions between Mr. Penderwick, a widower, and his four daughters. Although a tad absent minded, Mr. Penderwick is a refreshingly loving, affirming father figure who is always willing to listen. He also notices and empathizes whenever a daughter is upset and encourages each daughter to develop her particular talents. Mr. Penderwick is a foil to the neighbor boy Jeffrey’s overbearing mother who tries to force him into military school when he really wishes to be a musician. I thought this part of the plot was handled exceptionally well. The Penderwicks encourage Jeffrey to be honest with his mother, and have the courage to tell her that he wants to attend a Music Conservatory instead. Jeffrey and his mother are able to come to a compromise thanks to the Penderwicks’ advice. Well, that is my review about the book, but after you read this book it is better to read the sequels this is The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. It still tells about the Penderwicks sisters but in different stories and adventures.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    This is like a re-imagined 'Little Women' for the modern age. It is different and similar. There are 4 girls with a neighbor boy who have lots of adventures over a summer where they grow up a little. The Penderwicks can't go to the beach for their month long summer vacation this year which is a little disappointing, until they see the huge cottage they are renting for 3 weeks on the property of a huge mansion. The boy in the mansion - Jeffrey, welcomes the chaos that the girls bring with their f This is like a re-imagined 'Little Women' for the modern age. It is different and similar. There are 4 girls with a neighbor boy who have lots of adventures over a summer where they grow up a little. The Penderwicks can't go to the beach for their month long summer vacation this year which is a little disappointing, until they see the huge cottage they are renting for 3 weeks on the property of a huge mansion. The boy in the mansion - Jeffrey, welcomes the chaos that the girls bring with their fun. One sister is a writer, like Jo. Another sister is a tough outspoken tomboy, like Jo, then there is the 4 year old sister and the sister that falls in love. They live with their father, their mother is dead. They have to help Jeffrey fix his life while they are all having fun together with rabbits and hounds and gardens. This book had the magic of summer to it. That time when the world feels right and life feels easy and the world is waiting to be explored. The sisters were a whole lot of fun to get to know. They sure did give Jeffrey's mother a difficult summer, but maybe she needed that. I see why this is such a popular series. I don't know if I will go on, but I am glad I read this first one. It's a wonderful book in the middle grade genre for kids and anyone young at heart. My heart is heavy for the time being and I can't figure out why. I think that's why this story didn't go deeper. I did enjoy the story, but it just didn't hit that place in my heart and I don't think it's the books fault necessarily. It could just be difficult to penetrate whatever has me down. I'm struggling in school right now and I've got to look for a place to work and life seems difficult right now. I just couldn't feel that carefree nature that the girls had during this story. So, I think it's simply where I'm at and not the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    m a r y l i z

    Oh my stars! This book was the sweetest, most touching thing I've ever read. It completely captured the essence of childhood. Honestly, the book was such a sensitive and touching portrayal of childhood. It made me tear up more than once as I really saw the characters in such a raw, honest way. They felt so real and relatable. The writing itself made me feel all cozy and comfortable. It was blissfully nostalgic, heralding back to the classic children's stories of the past. And it held a certain Oh my stars! This book was the sweetest, most touching thing I've ever read. <3 It completely captured the essence of childhood. Honestly, the book was such a sensitive and touching portrayal of childhood. It made me tear up more than once as I really saw the characters in such a raw, honest way. They felt so real and relatable. The writing itself made me feel all cozy and comfortable. It was blissfully nostalgic, heralding back to the classic children's stories of the past. And it held a certain magic to it--the magic of summer days. Fireflies, climbing trees, cozying up with a book in the shade...all the things that make summer such a magical time. SO YES. I absolutely positively adored this book! <333 Definitely going on my favorites shelf. ^_^ (Oh, and if you're not already convinced, there are brownies and gingerbread and Narnia references. THIS BOOK HAS IT ALL, PEOPLE.) // Re-Read June 2017 // This is a story that will never ever get old. It's a slice of childhood--the book equivalent of comfort food. I will never stop loving The Penderwicks. <3

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brian Yahn

    The tale of the Penderwicks is the epitome of a middle grade masterpiece. Adults that just don't get it, a summer vacation in a strange new land, hopeless love, heartbreak, best-friends-at-first-sight friendships, a family so close you wish you were a part of it. Jeanne Birdsall takes everything you loved about your childhood and whittles it down to a couple hundred pages. The Penderwick children have enough personality to fill a series and I look forward to continuing the series and seeing where The tale of the Penderwicks is the epitome of a middle grade masterpiece. Adults that just don't get it, a summer vacation in a strange new land, hopeless love, heartbreak, best-friends-at-first-sight friendships, a family so close you wish you were a part of it. Jeanne Birdsall takes everything you loved about your childhood and whittles it down to a couple hundred pages. The Penderwick children have enough personality to fill a series and I look forward to continuing the series and seeing where Jeanne Birdsall takes them. This might just be my favorite non-fantasy middle grade book of all time.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    Bullet Review: This was a lot of fun, very reminiscent of quirky, family adventure books I read as a child. I would heartily recommend to this age group or anyone who is a child at heart who loves fun. That said, there were a few eye-twitching parts/moments that keep this from a higher rating. Although I rated it 3 stars, this is not me hating on the book! It is me saying it was "Okay". A book I would definitely recommend, but not want to pursue further books in the series. Full review: The Penderwic Bullet Review: This was a lot of fun, very reminiscent of quirky, family adventure books I read as a child. I would heartily recommend to this age group or anyone who is a child at heart who loves fun. That said, there were a few eye-twitching parts/moments that keep this from a higher rating. Although I rated it 3 stars, this is not me hating on the book! It is me saying it was "Okay". A book I would definitely recommend, but not want to pursue further books in the series. Full review: The Penderwicks - Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty (what an eclectic bunch of names!) along with Dad and Hound - are vacationing in a cottage at Arundel, the home of Mrs. Tifton and her son, Jeffrey. While they are there, numerous adventures and escapades occur - the discovery of Jeffrey, bunnies, a raging bull, a Garden competition, a birthday party, a secret crush, etc. But the threat above all is this: will Mrs. Tifton send her son to Military School to be like his grandfather? Eons ago (at least, it feels that way now), I wanted a fun summery read and was recommended this (thanks, THT!). Unfortunately, as these go, by the time I bought it, I wasn't itching for a summer read - and it went unread for 3 years. Now, I was traveling and I just HIT that vein where I wanted to read short, fun books and weed through my collection of books such as this. I found this book a fun read, though at times, it sent my eyes a'twitchin'. Don't get me wrong; this was a fun, light-hearted read, and it felt like those books I would read as a child - a classic "any time period" feel where kids acted goofy and silly and sometimes dumb, where summer was full of adventure and possibility. That said, I'm an adult now, not 12, so there were things that I just couldn't blow past. For instance, many of the kids felt oddly aged. Rosalind felt much older than 12, especially crushing on the much older Cagney. Now yes, when I was 12, I was more than capable of crushes, but coupled with the way she acted like the Mom (even more than the Dad acted like a dad), it just felt weird. Speaking of Dad, he was barely present in the book, unless to give encouragement or to be called upon when the girls acted like, well, brats. (Because, yes, some of what they did was truly bratty and wouldn't have happened if there was even a modicum of parental attention.) He was in this so little, I almost wondered why bother writing his character at all (which was, of course, goofy, eccentric dad - yawn!). I didn't care for how Mrs. Tifton and Dexter were treated. I got the impression Mrs. Tifton would be in her 50's and 60's, so I was shocked when she was described as being near Mr. Penderwick's age (roughly 30's). Also, I felt that she was very justified in being irritated by how often the girls would run into her gardens and, well, wreck things. Honestly, when she said the girls were brats and unruly and unsupervised - she was right. The dad rented the cottage, not the entire mansion. And while Dexter's reaction to Jane's book may seem rude, the fact is, it's probably more realistic than we'd like to admit. In general, good people are good to the Penderwicks, bad people are bad, in that childish black/white characterization. It's passable for a child, but irritating for adults. But I feel I need to stop myself now. Because I'm making this book sound horrible - and it's not. It's fun. It's timeless (minus mentioning a laptop, which was quite weird to be honest, since the book felt as if it could have been written in the 1950's!). It's just a bunch of kids having quirky adventures over a summer time. You can't really bring too much thought and inspection into something like this - you ruin the beauty of a story like this. And so I rate this 3 stars; it was "good". I enjoyed myself, but still had qualms. Would I recommend this and/or buy this for a child of the appropriate age? You betcha! Would I read/buy another book of this series for myself? Probably not. That ship has sailed - but at least, I can recommend this to the child and the childlike at heart.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Joey T

    Wow O.o Adorable book I loved everything about it and would recommend it for anyone! Go... read it

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    What a wonderful treasure! I really couldn't tell you exactly what it was about this book that made me want to come back to it at every spare moment. It's not like there is some huge climax, or that I'm waiting to see if my favorite character makes it to the end of an adventure alive - it's not that sort of book. And yet, it is. The Penderwicks are an absolutely wonderful, lovable and endearing family made up of four sisters (from ages 4 to 12 1/2), their loving father, and their happy and protec What a wonderful treasure! I really couldn't tell you exactly what it was about this book that made me want to come back to it at every spare moment. It's not like there is some huge climax, or that I'm waiting to see if my favorite character makes it to the end of an adventure alive - it's not that sort of book. And yet, it is. The Penderwicks are an absolutely wonderful, lovable and endearing family made up of four sisters (from ages 4 to 12 1/2), their loving father, and their happy and protective dog, Hound. The book tells the story of the four girls' summer vacation at a cottage on a huge estate. And while most of the book consists of tiny stories and daily events, we see as the book progresses that author Jeanne Birdsall has managed to create adventures and climaxes fitting for the Penderwicks, that build and span the entire book - each character achieving their own arc. So, while perhaps the Penderwicks aren't out to save the world, they have adventures of their own that need to be tackled - anywhere from helping their new friend stand up to his self-centered mother, to rescuing a runaway rabbit. And all the while, Birdsall has filled these characters with wonderful heart and individuality, so that by the third chapter you won't be getting the sisters confused with each other, and you will be anxious to hear more about each of them. The story seems truly timeless - it's a modern story, but you'd really never know it aside from the mention of a car and a few mentions of a computer. It could be as relevant today as if it were written one hundred yeas ago, or one hundred years from now. I hope you'll read it! It's truly excellent!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Donalyn

    The Penderwicks will go down in my memory as some of the great sister characters of all time-- right up there with the Marches and Hilary McKay's Cassons (sorry, Indigo- boys are great, too). The plot is simple, the Penderwick sisters, their dog, Hound, and their widower father, rent a cottage for a three week summer vacation. The cottage is part of a large estate owned by the snippy, snooty, superior, Mrs. Tifton, and her son, Jeffrey. The girls have many adventures, some planned, many accidental The Penderwicks will go down in my memory as some of the great sister characters of all time-- right up there with the Marches and Hilary McKay's Cassons (sorry, Indigo- boys are great, too). The plot is simple, the Penderwick sisters, their dog, Hound, and their widower father, rent a cottage for a three week summer vacation. The cottage is part of a large estate owned by the snippy, snooty, superior, Mrs. Tifton, and her son, Jeffrey. The girls have many adventures, some planned, many accidental. The plot is fairly predictable-- in a book this sweet we know it will all turn out OK in the end. But it is Birdsall's characters that make this book something special. The term "old-fashioned" has negative connotations these days, but an old-fashioned book like The Penderwicks reminds me of Doris Day movies, front porches and fireflies-- in a good way. The Penderwicks reminds me of Heidi, Marguerite Henry, Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary, all of the books and authors who made me into a reader when I was little. It was refreshing to read a book that I could share with my most innocent students or my nine-year old daughter. There is a new Penderwicks' book out-- I cannot wait to read the next adventures of these timeless characters.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Reread 5/10/18: Oh, wow! This book is just as good as ever. I just love it. Now that I can understand Latin, Mr. Penderwick is 100000x better. xD Original Read(s)?: This is simply one of the best children's books I ever read Reread 5/10/18: Oh, wow! This book is just as good as ever. I just love it. <3 Rereading it, I think the girls are probably a little more mature than their ages would warrant - except Batty, perhaps - but I can overlook that. Perhaps it will inspire children to try to be more grownup (in an acceptable childish way, of course) and become nicer people! ;P Now that I can understand Latin, Mr. Penderwick is 100000x better. xD Original Read(s)?: This is simply one of the best children's books I ever read. It is so amazing! :)

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brigid ✩

    *Hugs book to chest* This was so cute and I enjoyed it immensely! I've been struggling to catch up on my 50-book challenge for the year so I've been trying to read some short middle grade books to meet my goal. I remember my teenage sisters liking this book a lot when they were younger, and my 10-year-old sister recently became enamored with them, so I decided to give the first book a try. And I'm so glad I did! The Penderwicks has a very nostalgic quality to it––both the book cover and the conte *Hugs book to chest* This was so cute and I enjoyed it immensely! I've been struggling to catch up on my 50-book challenge for the year so I've been trying to read some short middle grade books to meet my goal. I remember my teenage sisters liking this book a lot when they were younger, and my 10-year-old sister recently became enamored with them, so I decided to give the first book a try. And I'm so glad I did! The Penderwicks has a very nostalgic quality to it––both the book cover and the contents of the story. Stylistically, it reminded me a lot of all the classic children's books I read as a child, like E. Nesbit and Edward Eager. The somewhat old-fashioned style sometimes seemed a little strange in a more modern setting (at least I think it was modern? ... it was a little unclear), but somehow I didn't mind it. It was pleasantly quirky. But over all, it's a really sweet story about family and sisterhood and friendship, and it filled my heart with rainbows. I'm excited to read the other books in the series. (Also––if there's ever a movie of this book, I want it to be directed by Wes Anderson please.)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hart

    This is a delightful book that will charm adults and children alike. The story captures that timeless magic of an imaginative and happy childhood spent exploring the outdoors experiencing adventures both humorous and frightening with family and friends. This is book 1 of a series and it stands alone with no cliff hangers that leave the reader without a satisfying ending. However I found myself growing very attached to the three-dimensional characters, and enjoyed the author's writing style so mu This is a delightful book that will charm adults and children alike. The story captures that timeless magic of an imaginative and happy childhood spent exploring the outdoors experiencing adventures both humorous and frightening with family and friends. This is book 1 of a series and it stands alone with no cliff hangers that leave the reader without a satisfying ending. However I found myself growing very attached to the three-dimensional characters, and enjoyed the author's writing style so much I have ordered book 2 in the series. The Penderwicks and their summertime adventures made me laugh. I loved every second of this sweet, coming of age story and I highly recommend it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I read this out loud to my 4, 8, and 10 year kiddos. After reading all the glowing reviews, I was ready to dive in, head first, and read the entires series to my kids. I envisioned my kids seeing me as the coolest mom, ever, for sharing such an awesome book with them. I can testify, that it really is a fun book that caused us to giggle throughout the pages and we all earnestly looked forward to our lunch time reading sessions. It did hold a nostalgia that creates a longing to be transported into I read this out loud to my 4, 8, and 10 year kiddos. After reading all the glowing reviews, I was ready to dive in, head first, and read the entires series to my kids. I envisioned my kids seeing me as the coolest mom, ever, for sharing such an awesome book with them. I can testify, that it really is a fun book that caused us to giggle throughout the pages and we all earnestly looked forward to our lunch time reading sessions. It did hold a nostalgia that creates a longing to be transported into the pages. Each character is full of life. The adventures were realistic and exciting at the same time. I would honestly recommend it to others to read, but, I want to toss some mild precautions to those who might be more sensitive to certain subjects or language. Here is a list of things, that while reading, I either skipped over or changed the wording while reading to my kids. 1. The Lord's name is used in vain two times. 2. A sentence was written to imply language that I personally don't use, such as, " Your Daddy can go to____," spat Mrs. Tifton. 3. The mother drinks wine at a birthday party. 4. There is a page or two explaining why, Jeffery, doesn't know who his father is and it goes into how his mother was divorced. I understand this happens, but it was written in a really awkward way. 5. Lastly, the oldest sibling is 12 years old and throughout the story she begins to have "feelings" for a teenage boy. It explores her emotions of maybe falling in love with him. Then, there is a chapter where Mrs. Tifton even goes as far as saying that if the eldest daughter doesn't be careful, someday she will "loose her innocence" to some boy. I know we can't protect our children from everything, but I was just want other parents to know that these are present in this choice of writing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Els

    Did I have ten quadrillion things to do today? yes. Did I brutally sacrifice my academic, social, and family life to read, not even my beloved American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, which I've been trying to find the time to read for half a year, but two cHILDREN'S BOOKS? yes. I did that. 700 pages of junior fiction. Who's the fool now, Els, my dear? Did I have ten quadrillion things to do today? yes. Did I brutally sacrifice my academic, social, and family life to read, not even my beloved American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, which I've been trying to find the time to read for half a year, but two cHILDREN'S BOOKS? yes. I did that. 700 pages of junior fiction. Who's the fool now, Els, my dear?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)

    Oh how I love the Penderwick family. This book reminds me of a sort of mash up between a modern Little Women (four sisters, who all have distinct personalities and roles in the family, and a wealthy neighbor boy who becomes one of them) and To Kill a Mockingbird (so many adventures, and a wonderful father who nonetheless is a little absent or at least absent-minded). It's charming. It's delightful. It's beautifully written. It feels like a classic, both in the way the story is told, it's simple Oh how I love the Penderwick family. This book reminds me of a sort of mash up between a modern Little Women (four sisters, who all have distinct personalities and roles in the family, and a wealthy neighbor boy who becomes one of them) and To Kill a Mockingbird (so many adventures, and a wonderful father who nonetheless is a little absent or at least absent-minded). It's charming. It's delightful. It's beautifully written. It feels like a classic, both in the way the story is told, it's simple pleasures, and also in its notable absence of any technology. It's all about the kids and their adventures and scrapes. If you haven't read this book DO. IT. It's so good. One of my favorites. Even if you don't normally read middle grade novels, this is one of those that transcends the age group it's intended for. Just, summertime childhood perfection.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    While the general premise and set-up of Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy certainly does have a delightfully old-fashioned feel to it, the anticipated all-encompassing enjoyment that I had fondly expected (and that the glowing reviews of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by very many of my Goodreads friends also seemingly were predicting) has, I am sorry to say, never rea While the general premise and set-up of Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy certainly does have a delightfully old-fashioned feel to it, the anticipated all-encompassing enjoyment that I had fondly expected (and that the glowing reviews of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by very many of my Goodreads friends also seemingly were predicting) has, I am sorry to say, never really fully materialised or me. For indeed, although The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy has generally been a pleasant and engaging enough reading romp for me with much that has made me smile with reading joy and appreciation, there are sadly also two main issues with Jeanne Birdsall's text, with the content of the author's printed words which have rather majorly bothered and frustrated me. And yes, these scenarios definitely have negatively affected my reading pleasure and in fact to the extent that I cannot really consider more than a relatively low and even kind of grumbling three stars for The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. Firstly, the entire family dynamics of the Penderwicks are in my humble opinion generally much too permissive (and yes, especially how lax the father tends to often be, this really does cause me to shake my head at times). Because really, throughout The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, there are rather a few instances of the four sisters acting out and doing things that are either potentially dangerous or problematically rude and indeed sometimes even a bit deliberately destructive. However, for the majority of these presented peccadilloes and even when the father might attempt to be critical, everything is usually simply justified, everything is kind of explained away and considered at best to not be all that significant anyhow (in particular when the girls repeatedly mess up Mrs. Tifton's gardens, which should at least in my opinion have resulted in some consequences and the girls not continuously repeating this, not to mention that even with regard to their family dog, proper training and having Hound not continuously behave badly seems to be something that the Penderwicks really do not even want to consider). Even more of a potential issues for me though and secondly, albeit that Mrs. Tifton and Dexter Dupree are in The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy total (and also to and for my reading tastes rather much too stereotypical) villains and simply and utterly horrid, the casual narrational acceptance and lack of consequences for Mrs. Tifton's neglected and henpecked son Jeffrey running away and thereby of course totally freaking out and worrying his mother, this really does tend to make me feel more than a bit uncomfortable. For honestly, while I can of course readily understand why Jeffrey wants to run away, should Jeanne Birdsall have depicted this act of potentially dangerous defiance in as positive a manner as she does and should especially Mr. Penderwick not immediately have contacted Mrs. Tifton when Jeffrey shows up unannounced at the cottage and in the middle of the night? Therefore, while much of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy has certainly been a delightful way for me to spend a few reading hours, the above mentioned personal reading issues with Jeanne Birdsall's narrative, they most definitely did make me majorly annoyed at times and also rather uncomfortable. And in particular the constant lack of parental guidance and the absence of adequate consequences for bad and unacceptable behaviour (and yes, even if this behaviour might rather be a bit justified on a deep and philosophical level), this has definitely rendered The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy not as magical a general reading experience for me as I had wanted and expected, still mostly sufficiently enjoyable, of course, but not nearly enough so for me to truly wax too uninhibitedly positively and with praise about The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

    Awwwww. :) While I wouldn't say that this really became a favorite, I'll definitely have to try to finish the rest of the series at some point, to see if (and how) the ships sail, etc. I think my favorite character might have been Rosalind. She was so sweet and also relatable in some ways. But then, I don't know, I liked all the Penderwicks, and Cagney, and Jeffrey . . . Solid book! :)

  24. 4 out of 5

    MsAprilVincent

    As I was reading, I had to keep reminding myself that the story is contemporary, that it doesn't take place in the 1950s or the 1820s. That's because the characters don't watch television, they're polite to adults, they care about their education, and they use their imaginations to fuel their leisure activities. They're awesome. Four sisters--Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty--are vacationing in the country with their father. They've taken over a cottage on a large estate, and they meet Jeffrey, th As I was reading, I had to keep reminding myself that the story is contemporary, that it doesn't take place in the 1950s or the 1820s. That's because the characters don't watch television, they're polite to adults, they care about their education, and they use their imaginations to fuel their leisure activities. They're awesome. Four sisters--Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty--are vacationing in the country with their father. They've taken over a cottage on a large estate, and they meet Jeffrey, the owner's son. They do have some adventures, but they're the normal kind you probably had when you were a kid, the kind that happen without magical intervention or time travel or monsters. The Penderwicks and their friends seemed very familiar to me, and I realized that it's because I've read these kinds of stories before: Ramona Quimby, Jo March, Mary Lennox, and Anne Shirley could have walked through the pages of this book and been right at home. It's nostalgic but not sappy, and it just made me feel good.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    Ah...this was okay. The writing was fine, and the characters had promise. Unfortunately, a quarter way through the book everyone and everything became way too predictable and contrived. At times the characters felt believable and at others not so believable. To me the best characters are the ones who seem to act on their own accord, write themselves, and manipulate the author. And there were times when the Penderwick sisters felt like those kind of characters. But then... Then there were other tim Ah...this was okay. The writing was fine, and the characters had promise. Unfortunately, a quarter way through the book everyone and everything became way too predictable and contrived. At times the characters felt believable and at others not so believable. To me the best characters are the ones who seem to act on their own accord, write themselves, and manipulate the author. And there were times when the Penderwick sisters felt like those kind of characters. But then... Then there were other times (too many times) where the puppet strings became all too obvious. National Book Award winner??? Not by my standards, but then I'm not on the voting committee. I have four kids, which means I read lots of children's literature, and though I didn't hate it, it came far from wowing me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Charming, charming, charming. This book, which in many ways could have taken place alongside Little Women, suited me perfectly! A summer vacation in a New England cottage, a hound named Hound, a tight-knit group of sisters who look out for each other, a kind and warm housekeeper! And it's nostalgic, to be sure, but not old-fashioned. In fact, it almost seems to take place in no time, in no place. There are computers and telephones, but they only exist quietly in the background; New York and Bost Charming, charming, charming. This book, which in many ways could have taken place alongside Little Women, suited me perfectly! A summer vacation in a New England cottage, a hound named Hound, a tight-knit group of sisters who look out for each other, a kind and warm housekeeper! And it's nostalgic, to be sure, but not old-fashioned. In fact, it almost seems to take place in no time, in no place. There are computers and telephones, but they only exist quietly in the background; New York and Boston and Pennsylvania are mentioned, but I kept thinking I was reading about England. This really reads as a labor of love, the author's homage to the books she read and loved as a child. The Penderwicks are also C.S. Lewis' Pevensies, Madeleine L'Engles Austins, Alcott's Marches, and Arundel is Misselthwaite Manor, Green Gables.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lilian

    oh my word xDDD

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aria

    OH MY GOODNESS, THIS IS AMAZING. I absolutely love the old-fashioned feeling! It reminds me very much of The Melendy Quartet and The Moffats, which I loved as a child. I really enjoyed the gentle humor - I literally laughed out loud at so much. It was SO sweet, and EEEP WOW.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Birdsall's first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, had a timeless and innocent charm. Reminiscent of many childrens' books from the first half of the twentieth century, it could have been set at any point in the past century. Although the summer adventures of the four sister and their friend and dog had serious elements (eg Jeffrey's miserable home life) and were sometimes dangerous (eg the bull) they were truly child-like and carefree Birdsall's first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, had a timeless and innocent charm. Reminiscent of many childrens' books from the first half of the twentieth century, it could have been set at any point in the past century. Although the summer adventures of the four sister and their friend and dog had serious elements (eg Jeffrey's miserable home life) and were sometimes dangerous (eg the bull) they were truly child-like and carefree. The second installment opens with the girls' mother dying of cancer. Not so carefree! Then it moved forward a few years to their father's half-hearted attempts to date for the first time since losing his wife, and focuses on his daughters' fears of having a stepmother. It also brings in the girls' romantic and school difficulties. Although the writing style and the sisters' personalities are consistent the feel of the story itself is markedly different from the prior volume.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jessika

    What a fun and charming book! This book has been on my TBR list for a while, and I have to admit that at first, it was the cover that drew me in, and then I definitely wanted to read it after finding out it was a children's book about a family of four sisters. The Penderwicks is the perfect read for a sunny summer day. Once I began reading this, I was instantly drawn into the family's adventures, and to be honest, I was reminded of Little Women in that each of the sisters had her own distinct pe What a fun and charming book! This book has been on my TBR list for a while, and I have to admit that at first, it was the cover that drew me in, and then I definitely wanted to read it after finding out it was a children's book about a family of four sisters. The Penderwicks is the perfect read for a sunny summer day. Once I began reading this, I was instantly drawn into the family's adventures, and to be honest, I was reminded of Little Women in that each of the sisters had her own distinct personality and set of characteristics. These are characters that I know I won't soon forget, and I'm anxious to read the next Penderwicks story (apparently Birdsall is in the process of writing a total of five Penderwicks books). There's Rosalind, the oldest, who reminded me quite a bit of Beth from Little Women. Skye, a feisty tomboyish girl, who never hesitates to speak her mind. Jane, a dreamy ambitious writer, who, at the age of 10 has written four of her own books starring her heroine, Sabrina Starr. Batty, the youngest at four, who likes to wear a set of wings to pretend she's a bug, who has an enormous imagination, and who likes to count her dog, Hound, as her closest ally. Even the father, Mr. Penderwick, Jeffrey, the boy who resides at Arundel, and Jeffrey's mother, Mrs. Tifton, have memorable characteristics. The antics of the Penderwicks' summer vacation were enough to keep me entertained for the day or two that it took me to read this quick read. This is perfect for young readers, especially with little glimpses of Latin and algebra here and there (just enough to get the gears turning without being overly complicated). I often had to remind myself that this book has a current-day setting, but I'm not complaining about that by any means. This is a story celebrating the simple pleasures in life, including friendship and family, and often, the children play outside and use their imaginations to entertain themselves, which was refreshing. While being a feel-good story, the characters do run into some conflicts, including Jeffrey, with a mother who seems to think she knows what her son wants better than he does, and Mr. Penderwick, who is criticized for not being a "good enough" parent. Everything ends happily, but not in an eye-rolling way. Another thing that I particularly enjoyed was how funny this book was at times. There were lines and situations that had me laughing out loud, such as the time when four-year-old Batty is outside playing "vampires" with Hound, upon whom she has tied a black towel like a cape and is screaming about the water in his bowl being blood. A lovely addition to the world of children's literature, I'd recommend this one to anyone looking for an easy, breezy, yet extremely entertaining escape and to those who cherish classics like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables.

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