June 17, 2012

Four Sisters, Two Rabbits & An Interesting Boy

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

Release Date: June 14, 2005
Publisher: Random House | Yearling
Pages: 272 pages
Source & Format: Library; Paperback

Sum It Up (from Goodreads)
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel's owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will -won't they? One thing's for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

By Its Cover: Nostalgic & Quaint
I really love this cover because it so perfectly captures the feel of this book. I love the outlines of the kids, the dog and the two rabbits. The soft blue and yellow has a warm summery feel, which is so fitting for their wonderful adventures on summer vacation.

Amen, Sister Friend: I'd Join This Family
This family is the kind of family I love reading about in books. They all genuinely love each other. They have a truly wonderful father who looks after them but also gives them space to play. He is particularly admirable in light of the fact that he's lost his wife (and the girl's mother) and raises four loving, adventurous girls all on his own.

You'll meet the eldest, Rosalind, who acts like a little mother. She keeps an eye on all her sisters, but she's also getting to an age where she has her eye on a handsome boy, too. Next is Skye, the tomboy of the family. She's always getting herself into scrapes and putting her foot in her mouth, but things usually turn out all right in the end. If she needs to clear her head, she just does a little math. Jane follows and she is an aspiring author. She has a series of books in which her heroine always saves the day. Batty is the youngest sister, and she's definitely the baby of the family. She's a little shy, but once you win her affection she's all yours.

There's also their neighbor, Jeffrey, and he becomes a part of their circle almost immediately - once they get past a little misunderstanding right at the beginning of their acquaintance. He's sweet and fits in perfectly with this family.

Literary Love: First Crush
Aside from a crush on a older teenager, there isn't much romance in this book. But the portrayal of one sister's feeling for the kind older boy are sweet and realistic in their newness.

Word Nerd: Reminiscent of Books Past
The story and the writing give this book a very nostalgic feel. The whole time I was reading it I could see similarities between this and Little Women. It is refreshing and charming - the kind of book you want to hug and ask to be your friend forever. While it is certainly it's own book, it also read a little like a homage to all the best parts of children's literature through the ages.

It is a very quiet book. Each character has their own little adventures, but it isn't a book that races along or has anything particularly "new." It is, however, an adorable tale of a sweet family.

Extra, Extra: Two Rabbits
Batty's love for two rabbits that live nearby is so sweet. She visits them frequently and wins them over with lots of treats. This part of the story was one of my favorites! I also quite enjoyed Batty's butterfly wings (which she always wears) and who or what finally causes her to take them off. PRECIOUS!

So Quotable
“The cuter the boy, the mushier your brain.” 

“People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely.” 

Bottom Line: Charming & Adorable
This book is just as good as Amy at Tripping Over Books promised it would be! I wasn't disappointed in the least. Amy actually said it best in her review, so I'm going to quote her for the bottom line: "It's quiet but not boring, sweet by not treacly, bittersweet sometimes but not a downer. It's the closest thing I've read to NORMAL in all its crazy, unassuming glory that I can recall reading in a LONG time."

6 comments:

  1. Let me get this straight. You AND Amy adored it? A win fo sho.

    Also, this sounds like one of those books that you read when you're feeling crummy or just need some bookish warmth to fill you up without being cheeseball. Love those!

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    1. This is definitely perfect for when you need some bookish warmth :) It's adorable! Amy convinced me to read it, and I'm so glad I did!

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  2. What Lisa said.

    I totally have this book, The Penderwicks, IN MY HOUSE. AND OMG I LOVE QUIET NORMAL READS.

    And the Little Women comparison?

    And the Amy quote?

    SOLD.

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    1. IT'S IN YOUR HOUSE?! OMG READ IT NOWWWWW.

      Sometimes you really just need normal and quiet.

      Seriously, why aren't you reading it right now?

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  3. Ahhh I love that you described this as a 'quiet' book because I love books like that and FAMILY. This seems like such a darling book. It's definitely one I know I would enjoy when I was younger and now too. Adding this to my TBR list. :)

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    1. YAYYYYY!!!! I would have loved this when I was younger, too. I mean, I obviously liked it now but I still wish I'd had it when I was a little girl. It's just the kind of book I would have cherished!

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