The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
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The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  16,755 ratings  ·  2,478 reviews
A National Book Award winner, this modern classic is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager.

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 make...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published March 2007 by Yearling (first published June 14th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kathryn
Jun 22, 2008 Kathryn rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: All my friends!!!
Absolutely one of the best books I have ever read!!! My heart is so full, having just finished the book--it really touched me deeply and I absolutely love it! After just a few pages, I knew I the Penderwicks were destined to become my dear book-friends (like the March sisters and Anne and Emily of old!) and indeed the whole story was absolutely darling, charming, sweet, refreshing--everything I'd hoped for and more (because it is also remarkably sensitive, thoughtful and--I hate to say it, rare-...more
Ann
Jun 25, 2008 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone!
Recommended to Ann by: Katie - thanks for the treasure!
What a wonderful treasure!
I really couldn't tell you exactly what it was about this book that made me want to come back to it at every spare moment. It's not like there is some huge climax, or that I'm waiting to see if my favorite character makes it to the end of an adventure alive - it's not that sort of book. And yet, it is. The Penderwicks are an absolutely wonderful, lovable and endearing family made up of four sisters (from ages 4 to 12 1/2), their loving father, and their happy and protec...more
Melissa
A lovely set-up for a book, but the characters never felt real. Somehow all the ages felt off--Batty talked like someone much older than 4, I had to keep reminding myeslf that Rosalind was only 12, and Mrs. Tifton seemed like she was in her 50s, not early 30s. I just never fell in love with the characters. It was trying too hard to be sweet and charming.
I did like Hound though.
Erin
Jan 07, 2009 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2009
Charming, charming, charming. This book, which in many ways could have taken place alongside Little Women, suited me perfectly! A summer vacation in a New England cottage, a hound named Hound, a tight-knit group of sisters who look out for each other, a kind and warm housekeeper! And it's nostalgic, to be sure, but not old-fashioned. In fact, it almost seems to take place in no time, in no place. There are computers and telephones, but they only exist quietly in the background; New York and Bost...more
Rick Riordan
I’ll admit I approach award-winning children’s books with some trepidation. All too often, children’s literature awards denote books that appeal to adult librarians and book critics rather than to children. The books are like brussel sprouts on the literary table. We are told to read them because they are supposedly good for us, not because we will enjoy them.

I was happy to find that National Book Award winner The Penderwicks was an exception. Four sisters and their father take a three-week sum...more
Beth
I read this to my daughter (age 7) last summer. It's a great summer book (since the characters are on their summer vacation), but not fluffy in the least. Though it's a modern novel, there's an innocence and timelessness to the sisters and their situation. There's no encroachment of pop culture references or lingo, and their actions and emotions are age-appropriate. Now, unfortunately that's a bit of a rarity on the Borders "young reader" bookshelves, which are crammed with books about girls in...more
X
Aug 09, 2008 X rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to X by: Katie and Annie
An excellent summer book! It was such fun reading about the Penderwicks and their summer adventures. Each of the sisters was well developed, and I came to really care about them before the end of the book. I really enjoyed the writing style as well.
Alexis
Anyone and EVERYONE should read this book.
April
As I was reading, I had to keep reminding myself that the story is contemporary, that it doesn't take place in the 1950s or the 1820s. That's because the characters don't watch television, they're polite to adults, they care about their education, and they use their imaginations to fuel their leisure activities. They're awesome.

Four sisters--Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty--are vacationing in the country with their father. They've taken over a cottage on a large estate, and they meet Jeffrey, th...more
Qt
Aug 08, 2008 Qt rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: drama, humor
A perfect book for summer--charming, fun, and light, but with lots of heart! A highly pleasant tale of, as the title suggests, four sisters' vacation and ensuing adventures at a beautifully described cottage. Also, I listened to the audio version, read by Susan Denaker, and she did a wonderful job of giving each character a different voice, which no doubt added to the fun!
Philip
This book was a lot of fun. I read it outloud with Liz and Eleanor - and it was perfect for that. It seemed like like it should be read during the spring or summer... it fit, you know?

When I pictured Batty, I pictured a 4 year old version of Eleanor, my daughter. I love the wings.
Teara
Jul 02, 2008 Teara rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Teara by: no one did
This was my favorite book of all time. I thought that this book taught me about team work. I loved that a lot of events happened. The Penderwicks had fun and emotion. Each of the charaters had their own personalities. This was my favorite book I have ever read in my life.
Arminzerella
If you ever have someone looking for a clean read for ages 9 -13, this book would be a good choice. It’s similar in ways to Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and the Narnia books. The Penderwicks are a family of 4 sisters, Mr. Penderwick (their father), and Hound (breed never identified) the family dog. They take their summer holidays in a new location and the girls get into all sorts of mischief with their landlady’s son Jeffrey. Rosalind is the eldest and the most responsible, Skye is a...more
Monica!
It took me a couple years, friends, but I finally got around to reading The Penderwicks.

And if it wasn’t a darling little bit of a book! Full of soccer on the lawn and rabbits and young love and burnt cookies and befuddled fathers and six-year-olds wearing fairy wings, which all sounds terrifically saccharine when I see it written down and sort of makes me want to reach for a nice murder mystery or something filled with BETRAYAL AND RAGE.

But actually Birdsall pulled it all together in a way tha...more
CuriousLibrarian
This is a beautiful modern book with a slow, old-fashioned feeling to it. If it weren't for one mention of a computer toward the latter half of the book, it could easily have taken place in any point in much of the 20th century. It has all the feel of lazy summer adventures like I had during certain summers of my childhood (although these sisters get up to much more than I ever did!).

I really liked that there was a wide spectrum of ages for these characters, allowing the adventures to be seen f...more
Donalyn
Jun 29, 2008 Donalyn rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: girls who love the good old days
The Penderwicks will go down in my memory as some of the great sister characters of all time-- right up there with the Marches and Hilary McKay's Cassons (sorry, Indigo- boys are great, too).

The plot is simple, the Penderwick sisters, their dog, Hound, and their widower father, rent a cottage for a three week summer vacation. The cottage is part of a large estate owned by the snippy, snooty, superior, Mrs. Tifton, and her son, Jeffrey.

The girls have many adventures, some planned, many accidental...more
Jess Michaelangelo
What a fun and charming book!

This book has been on my TBR list for a while, and I have to admit that at first, it was the cover that drew me in, and then I definitely wanted to read it after finding out it was a children's book about a family of four sisters.

The Penderwicks is the perfect read for a sunny summer day. Once I began reading this, I was instantly drawn into the family's adventures, and to be honest, I was reminded of Little Women in that each of the sisters had her own distinct pe...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Absolutely enchanting, especially for fans of Five Children and It and others by Nesbit, and The Moffats and others by Estes. So nostalgic I hope it gets a much wider readership than anything this innocent is likely to.

ETA. I see that it has become fairly popular, and the sequel was good, too. Yay! For more read-alikes, I highly recommend Family Grandstand and probably others by Carol Ryrie Brink.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
I read this recently with a group of almost 4th grade girls. It was interesting to see their reactions. Though they either liked it or seemed neutral about the story, they had really paid attention to the story and the characters and we have a lovely discussion. Most admitted to wanting more adventure or action, but still seemed to get something from the book.

For me, I felt like I was reading a classic tale - along the lines of Little Women, or Anne of Green Gables - so when something like a com...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: two very bored stars of five

Old-fashioned children's title, but so boring it put me to sleep every ~10pp. I read "The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew" last year, for the first time, and didn't feel this deadening miasma of ennui...and it's hard to get more old-fashioned than that! Elizabeth Enright's "The Four-Storey Mistake" is old-fashioned, and likewise passes the well-aged test. To be fair, the latter was a re-read, so there were existing happy associations.

I returned "The Pend...more
Joel Simon
This is a fantastic book for children, ages 9-12. It is a story about a family (a father and 4 daughters, ages 4, 9, 11 and 12) who go on vacation and stay at a cottage on a property that has a large mansion on it. The girls meet a boy who lives there and the book is their story of the fun they have and wholesome mischief they get into during their two weeks there. It is written in a style that keeps you interested all the way to the end. the great thing about the book is that whatever your pers...more
Christy
A cute story. At times Birdsall captures pure, funny, quirky moments, one of my favorites being of four year old Batty and her dog:

"Mr. Penderwick looked out the window to where Batty was playing vampires with Hound. Hound was on his back, trying to wiggle out of the black towel Batty had tied around his neck. Batty was leaping over Hound's water bowl, shrieking, "Blood, blood!"

Sometimes she falls easily into cliche. Sometimes she avoids it. This book makes me wish for summer and wish for sister...more
Jessica
Sheer delight!
Small Review
I so completely love this book. If Anne of Green Gables and Little Women met, had a baby, and sent it to live in modern times the result would be this book. I adore every single thing about this book. Have you ever watched a show like Full House where you might snicker a little over how corny it is, but secretly you wish that could be your life? Maybe it's just me, but when I watched that show I wished I could live there with a dad who always knew the exact right thing to say to make me feel bet...more
Elizabeth L.

1/10/13
I just started reading the book The Penderwicks By: Alfred A. Knopf. This book is about four sisters. Their names are Batty, who is four years old; Jane who is ten; Skye who is eleven, and Rosalina who is twelve and their dog named Hound. Every year The Penderwick’s rent a house in Cape Cod by the beach. But this year someone else rented the house so the Penderwick’s couldn’t go. They thought that they were going to have to spend the whole summer at home. But minutes later the phone ran...more
Miriam
Birdsall's first book, The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, had a timeless and innocent charm. Reminiscent of many childrens' books from the earlier, it could have been set at any point in the past century. Although the summer adventures of the four sister and their friend and dog had serious elements (eg Jeffrey's miserable home life) and were sometimes dangerous (eg the bull) they were truly child-like and carefree.

The second installment open...more
Kwoomac
Such a sweet, fun book. So reminiscent of the books of E. Nesbit. This is the story of 4 siblings, who go on a summer vacation with their father to a cottage in the Berkshires. They have tons of adventures, some merely fun, others a little dangerous. As is typical of Nesbit's work, the father doesn't play much of a role, leaving the girls to supervise themselves while he tracks elusive plants in the woods. The girls are all strong and independent. The ending does wrap things up in a nice little...more
Sarah Kim
Feb 08, 2008 Sarah Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: a friend
Recommended to Sarah by: a teacher from book club
This book that me a big lesson to me...
it was about friendship and more...
There are four sisters...
Their mother died and they were on vacation.
They met a boy and the boy's mom was strict
and the boy's dad passed away.
So, the mom got a boyfriend and the mom and the
boyfriend wanted to send the boy to milatary school.
The boy wanted to learn music. they need to solve that problem
becuase the mom doesn't listen to the boy about music.
Also, the boy's mom was being mean to the girls about
their mom and sa...more
Doreen Fritz
A quick,sweet story reminiscent of *Anne of Green Gable,* *The Boxcar Children*, and so on. Four sisters (ages 12, 11, 10, and 4) and their widowed father rent a cottage on a large estate for 3 weeks in the summer and befriend the lonely boy next door, along with other "locals." The father is a professor of botany, and is mostly absent for the story, but not from their lives. He steps in with wisdom and love just when needed. Rosalind, the eldest, takes responsibility for her little "family," bu...more
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Favorite Penderwick Sister 81 159 Mar 09, 2014 01:35PM  
Who wouldn't like this book? 25 60 Nov 30, 2013 04:04PM  
Any complaints? 12 52 Mar 22, 2013 02:12PM  
THE PENDERWICKS! 15 78 Oct 13, 2012 03:32PM  
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Jeanne Birdsall grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, where she attended wonderful public schools. Jeanne had lots of great teachers, but her favorites were: Mrs. Corkhill, sixth grade, who encouraged her intellectual curiosity; Mr. Tremonte, eighth grade algebra, who taught Jeanne to love and respect math; and Miss Basehore, second and fourth year Latin, to whom Jeanne (and Mr. Penderwick)...more
More about Jeanne Birdsall...
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“And I don't know if Batty's gotten over it yet,' said Skye.

Mr. Penderwick looked out the window to where Batty was playing vampires with Hound. Hound was on his back, trying to wiggle out of the black towel Batty had tied around his neck. Batty was leaping over Hound's water bowl, shrieking, 'Blood, blood!'

'She looks all right,' he said.”
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“People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely” 31 likes
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