When was the last time you held a new book and knew you’d love it? There’s just something about the way the font scatters across the cover. Or maybe it’s the overall impression of the front image?
I can’t give you the magic formula, but I know is this: When I first saw The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, I knew I’d love it.
The Penderwicks is a “summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy,” and it reminds me of lazy childhood summers spent reading. I’d say it’s more middle grade than young adult, and while it’s set in modern day, it reminds me of sweet yesteryear.
The four Penderwick sisters, ages 4 to 12, live with their absent-minded, but good-hearted father. Their mother passed away, as the mother always seems to do in children’s literature. Their father rents a cottage for the summer on the estate of Arundel in Massachussetts. Unbeknownst to the family (I’m assuming he didn’t check VRBO reviews or Google images), the cottage rests behind an enormous mansion surrounded by immaculate gardens.
A Pretentious (that capital “P” is on purpose), narrow-sighted woman lives in the mansion with her sweet son, Jeffrey, whom falls in with the Penderwick sisters immediately, much to his mother’s dismay.
The sisters fill their days with exploring dusty attics, playing soccer, writing novels, feeding pet rabbits, treating the dog like a human, and daydreaming about the handsome, teen-aged garden keeper. Doesn’t that just scream “childhood”?
While the books (there are five in the series) are intended for young-ish children—maybe 8-10-year-olds—I can’t rave enough as a 30-year-old. And I intend to make my way through all five books.
The Penderwicks reminds me of sweet family ties in The Boxcar Children, Anne Shirley’s spunk throughout Anne of Green Gables, and the camaraderie of sisterhood in Little Women.
Though, to be honest, I’ve never read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have, however, seen the movie numerous times, which makes me wonder…
Whatever happened to Winona Ryder? After all…