Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Jeanne Birdsall
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
What do four little girls, one dog and one boy have in common? They have a great summer together! The four Penderwick sisters, their father, and their dog rent a vacation home for three weeks in Massachusetts. They are excited to spend time together but do not realize that they are renting a portion of the Arundel Estate from Mrs. Tifton, a snobby, stuck-up woman who does not like children of any kind. Unfortunately, she has an only son, named Jeffrey, who the Penderwick girls befriend. Mrs. Tifton does not approve of the Penderwick girls, which leads to conflict and sneakiness throughout the summer. In the end, Jeffrey’s wishes are realized when he stands up to his mother and gets to study his passion instead of what his mother deems appropriate.
The Penderwicks is a detailed adventure involving dynamic characters. The beginning started off slow, introducing the characters and setting. The adventures do not begin until about one third of the way through. For younger children, this can be frustrating and they may lose interest. Some of the problems were minuscule as well, with a lot of build up and very little action. As the storyline continued, the plot moved a little faster, especially as the reader wonders what is going to happen with Jeffrey and his future. This is the first book in a series of four (the last book came out recently) and is a good summertime read.