Saturday, October 7, 2017

BOOKS: The Penderwicks, books 2-4 by Jeanne Birdsall

I listened to the first Penderwicks book, The Penderwicks: The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and One Very Interesting Boy, to start the summer.  It was very sweet and my library had the whole series on audio. The first book was published in 2005, and then every three or so years, another book was published. I love when I find a series like this, when it is already 4 books in and the books don't come every year.

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street(2008) picks up the year after the summer of the first book. The girls are still fans of Jeffrey who is at school in Boston. Now we get to meet all the people in their neighbourhood, where kids are free to wander around, and intergenerational play is the norm. The girls still have their MOOP meetings (Meeting of Older Penderwicks) to sabotage their father's dating plans, the boys down the street play lots of sports, and we meet a lovely widow next door with a two year old boy. Foreshadowing alert.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (2011)
Things are progessing, and it is another summer with the Penderwicks. The oldest, Rosalyn, spends the summer with her friend, the youngest three girls go to Maine with Aunt Claire, while their dad is on his honeymoon. The girls face challenges, they grow, they bug and help each other. Jeffrey comes to Maine and  discovers some interesting things about his past. Still a quiet charm, and delightful story.

The Penderwicks in Spring (2015) 
Bold choice here to bump the story forward about five or six years, so Batty is now around ten, and Ben is the previous age of Batty. Rosalyn is off in college, Nick comes home from the war (Iraq or Afghanistan? it's one of the only time markers in the book, but could just as easily been Vietnam or WW2). Batty is still into music and lots of stuff happens. Keeping the focus on the youngest of the kids is what keeps the charm in these books. There are enough even younger children in the family to keep the story fresh.