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

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,461 Ratings  ·  3,189 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
Paperback, 262 pages
Published March 2007 by Yearling (first published 2005)
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Josiphine Well...I like this series more than Harry Potter. So yes. But taste in books is subjective, and I actually quite like the Penderwicks series just how…moreWell...I like this series more than Harry Potter. So yes. But taste in books is subjective, and I actually quite like the Penderwicks series just how it is. It all depends on who is reading.(less)
Josiphine I did it a few years ago and they would just state the book and the question aloud and then we wrote the answer on a dry-erase board.
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Best Young Adult Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 Rick Riordan rated it really liked it
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
Jun 22, 2008 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 25, 2008 Ann rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2008 Melissa rated it it was ok
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.
Crystal Starr Light
Jun 22, 2015 Crystal Starr Light rated it liked it
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: The Holy Terror
Bullet Review:

This was a lot of fun, very reminiscent of quirky, family adventure books I read as a child. I would heartily recommend to this age group or anyone who is a child at heart who loves fun.

That said, there were a few eye-twitching parts/moments that keep this from a higher rating.

Although I rated it 3 stars, this is not me hating on the book! It is me saying it was "Okay". A book I would definitely recommend, but not want to pursue further books in the series.

Full review:

The Penderwic
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
*Hugs book to chest* This was so cute and I enjoyed it immensely! I've been struggling to catch up on my 50-book challenge for the year so I've been trying to read some short middle grade books to meet my goal. I remember my teenage sisters liking this book a lot when they were younger, and my 10-year-old sister recently became enamored with them, so I decided to give the first book a try. And I'm so glad I did!

The Penderwicks has a very nostalgic quality to it––both the book cover and the conte
Jan 07, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing
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
Ah...this was okay. The writing was fine, and the characters had promise. Unfortunately, a quarter way through the book everyone and everything became way too predictable and contrived.

At times the characters felt believable and at others not so believable. To me the best characters are the ones who seem to act on their own accord, write themselves, and manipulate the author. And there were times when the Penderwick sisters felt like those kind of characters. But then...

Then there were other tim
Jun 29, 2008 Donalyn rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 25, 2008 April rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, 2008
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
Alexandra aka Auntie J
I enjoyed this story completely and found it charming. I think it will appeal to youngsters around the 8-10 range.

But there are many good reviews of this book, so I'm going to express my displeasure regarding the marketing, the description.

"A National Book Award winner, this modern classic is perfect for fans of Noel Streatfeild and Edward Eager."

I once was a young reader (yes, I know, shocking!) who would search and search for good fantasy stories. When I was past that awkward first-chapter bo
Apr 08, 2009 Alexis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-books
Anyone and EVERYONE should read this book.
May 26, 2008 Beth rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 28, 2015 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: younger
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 first half of the twentieth century, 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 ...more
May 15, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 09, 2008 X rated it really liked it  ·  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.
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
Jubilation Lee
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
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
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jul 06, 2011 Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy) rated it really liked it
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
Aug 08, 2008 Qt rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, drama
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!
Jul 02, 2008 Teara rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 16, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this on audio, and it was such a sweet story! It's kinda like a modern Little Women. =)
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
Jun 23, 2014 Holly rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I have to say - I loved this book! It is adorable. The Penderwicks is a story about a family of four sisters, their father, and their dog who rent a cottage for three weeks during the summer. They meet a boy, as well as a teenage gardener, a jolly housekeeper, and a pair of rabbits. Nothing particularly "big" happens in this book, but the three weeks that the Penderwicks spend at the cottage are filled with various adventures and misadventures.

I actually started reading The Penderwicks in a book
Small Review
Jan 08, 2011 Small Review rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-own
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
Oh, well, this was great! I wasn't quite as blown away as I hoped to be, but it was still very wonderful!

Although. Okay, so I've read some about trigger warnings in recent years and one of the comments I've seen about them is that you can't really warn for everything because some things are so specific to the individual. Well. (view spoiler)
Panda Incognito
Mar 23, 2015 Panda Incognito rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is so good that I assumed it was published fifty years ago. Then someone mentioned a computer. This book is truly unique for something published in the past decade, capturing the sweetness of family life and a fun summer in a way that most modern books simply cannot. It was a pleasure to read this book, and it inspired me in my own writing. The prose was laugh-out-loud witty, the story relied on character relations and "real life" instead of flashy hooks, and the characters came vividl ...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
Joel Simon
Oct 01, 2009 Joel Simon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Penderwicks (5 books)
  • The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (The Penderwicks, #2)
  • The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (The Penderwicks, #3)
  • The Penderwicks in Spring (The Penderwicks #4)
  • Untitled (The Penderwicks, #5)

Share This Book

“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.”
“Donit kill her now, just when we've gone to all that trouble to rescue her," said Jeffrey.” 44 likes
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