Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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

I am currently taking a Children's Literature course and in this course we have to read/review 100 items from different categories.  Luckily, we can read "up and down" as we see fit, so I can continue to read from my YA department.  But, I also have been reading a large amount of middle grade and younger books.

Our text book mentioned The Penderwicks as an old-fashioned feeling contemporary fiction book, and it is a book that my boss said has gotten great reviews, so I figured I would give it a shot and see what the fuss was about.  Am I glad that I decided to read this book, ignoring its amazingly dated cover.

The story takes place over a summer vacation where four girls and their widowed father rent a cottage on the estate of Arundale from a miserly old woman.  Mrs. Tifton (who owns Arundale) doesn't care for the sisters, and only wants her garden to win the summer garden competition, and for her son (Jeffrey) to grow up just like his grandfather.  The sisters:  Rosalind (12), Skye (11), Jane (10), and Batty (4) get into all sorts of mischievousness, and end up becoming best friends with Jeffrey.  This story is a vignette of how the Penderwick sisters' change the Tiftons' and their own lives over their summer vacation.

This book had a warm and wonderful old fashioned feel.  It made me think of being outdoors as a kid, and spending time at summer camp.  The writing reminds me of my old favorites Anne of Green Gables or The Secret Garden.  There is just something so delicious and romantic about this story and the writing.  I liked all of the characters, and had a hard time deciding which sister I related to the most (either Rosalind or Skye I'd say).  This book warmed my heart and I can't wait to read more of the Penderwicks' adventures.