Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Reads: The Penderwicks

When I first heard people talking about this book, I kept getting it confused with the Pickwick Papers.  *guffaws*  So. Not. The. Same. Book.

The Penderwicks
by Jeanne Birdsall

For: 8-12yos

Genre: Contemporary, Timeless

Published: 2005

Description: 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.

Why I liked it: I know it sounds silly, but reading this book was like taking a breath of fresh air.  The story wasn't fast-paced or incredibly funny or full of exciting suspense--it's a decidedly "quiet" book--but I found myself reinvigorated by their quiet adventures, like I had personally gone on vacation with the Penderwick family.  It reminded me of my own childhood summers on my grandparents' farm.  Quiet and peaceful, but with just a touch of excitement, enough for me to want to return again and again and again.
I'd love some recommendations on vacation books, or "quiet" books for middle-grade readers.  Got a title you'd care to share?  Please do!

And happy weekend reading!


  1. I listened to this book a few years ago and I also loved it. Definitely a breath of fresh air. It was a wonderful world to inhabit.

    1. Now I don't feel nearly as silly calling it a breath of fresh air! I'm glad you loved it, too.

  2. I'm a Harry Potter/Narnia/Percy Jackson/Alcatraz sorta girl--and I LOVED Penderwicks! I don't think it's just because I'm a mom who was born a long time ago. My girls love them, too, and it's one of the few books/series we'll buy without knowing anything about them in advance.

    1. Me, too, Rose! I love those adventure/fantasy books, but this book still spoke to me. I'm glad to hear your girls like them, too. Sometimes I worry that I like something that the target age group might not. Thanks for sharing that with me.

  3. I’m so glad you posted this. The Penderwicks was an affirmation for me that the old style kid-lit was not only still viable somewhere, but it was forever beloved by the intended audience and beyond. The ‘good old days’ are still here.

    1. I am writing an old-style WIP right now, and I was concerned that no one would want to read it. Well, they still may not, because I am not as great as Jeanne Birdsall, but at least I know there are some books still out there and people still love them.

      I'm glad you liked it, too.