Book Review: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

penderwicks2Title: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
Author: Jeanne Birdsall
Genre: Children’s fiction
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: I bought this last year to read to the kids, because we loved the first one.
First line: Their mother had been here in the hospital with the new baby for almost a week.

The Penderwicks was easily one of our favorite read-alouds of 2008, and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street is sure to be one of our favorites from 2009. Jeanne Birdsall has created the most delightful family of sisters since Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty are back home after their summer vacation on Arundel Estate. They miss Jeffrey, but are glad that he is happily attending a boarding school for musicians in Boston. Everything is going well with the new school year, until Aunt Claire arrives with a letter that changes everything. Mrs. Penderwick died when Batty was a baby, and she left a letter with Mr. Penderwick’s sister, Claire, to be given to Mr. Pen after a few years have gone by. Claire delivers the letter as requested, which states Mrs. Penderwick’s wish that Mr. Pen start dating again.

This announcement – and Mr. Penderwick’s reluctant agreement to try to fulfill his late wife’s wish – has the girls in an uproar, and The Save-Daddy Plan is initiated. The girls are determined to set Mr. Pen up with every annoying, incompatible woman in town so that he will give up on his search for the next Mrs. Pen.

The kids and I adore the four Penderwick sisters: Rosalind, with her maturity and sense of reponsibility; Skye, with her quick temper and mad soccer skills; Jane, with her flair for the romantic; and adorable little Batty, who never goes anywhere without Hound. Their new neighbor, Iantha, has a toddler son named Ben, who becomes fast friends with Batty, in spite of the fact that his vocabulary seems to be limited to the word “duck.”

The fact that my three boys all said, “I love these books!” when we finished – books that are about a family of sisters – show Ms. Birdsall’s talent in writing an enthralling story with delightful characters and wonderful dialogue. It took me a few attempts to get through the last few pages, wiping tears from my eyes. I noticed Natalie had a few tears of her own. Noah said, “I hope there’s a number three!” and we were all ecstatic to learn that Ms. Birdsall plans three more books in the series.

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21 Responses to Book Review: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    God love your kids! They are adorable. You are quite right, if the boys like a story about girls, this is one talented writer. I will remember this series for my kids!
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Gdansk #7 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Sandy – I really think these will continue to be family favorites for some time – they are so delightful!

  2. Andreea says:

    I’m glad your kids liked the book. Sounds like a fun read!
    .-= Andreea´s last blog ..Thank you! =-.

  3. This sounds like such a charming series. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!
    .-= rhapsodyinbooks´s last blog ..Review of “Here I Stand,” by Paul Robeson =-.

  4. Beth says:

    I love the Penderwicks. They are like a mix of the March Family (Little Women) and the Melendy Family (The Four Story Mistake). I haven’t read them to my kids yet, but I think it is time. Thanks for the review.
    .-= Beth´s last blog ..Book Review: Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Beth – I haven’t heard of the Melendy Family – I’m off to look them up!

  5. Belle
    Twitter: msbookish
    says:

    The Penderwicks is in my TBR pile – I have it in audio. Your review has inspired me to start listening tonight!
    .-= Belle´s last blog ..Fantasy Road Trip: Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle Trilogy =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Belle – I bet it’s terrific on audio! You’ll have to let me know how the reader is.

  6. Kim
    Twitter: BookstoreK
    says:

    My daughter was so excited when this book came out that she used her own allowance to buy it and she loved it.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..The Indiebound App led me to Coalesce Books =-.

  7. I read the first one (and DIDN”T like it) but was still curious to hear what happened to the family so I’m glad to read your review of it and “find out” to some extent. So, …thanks. =)

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Carrie – I’m sorry you didn’t like it, though after reading your review, I can understand your reasons. 🙂

  8. I knew that there was a 3rd coming, but I didn’t know that she planned 3 more. Awesome!

    We too love the Penderwick family, and it’s a book I always recommend to people. As the mom of a tween girl, it seems to me to be boy-friendly as well, but I’m glad to hear it.

    Now I’m going to check out why the other Carrie didn’t like it. I’m sure I read the post, but maybe not. . . . ?
    .-= Jennifer, Snapshot´s last blog ..I’m Reading the Time Traveler’s Wife =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Jennifer – it’s really amazing that my boys love it as much as they do – a testament to a great story and wonderful characters!

  9. Pingback: Mommy Brain » Big catch-up post, plus some links

  10. Pam says:

    Oh thanks for linking me. I will pick these up on the weekend to read for Addie!

  11. Pingback: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall | Semicolon

  12. Cyber Monday says:

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