The next time you hear someone lament "They don't write children's books like they used to" hand them a copy of Jeanne Birdsall's "The Penderwicks". Contained within these gentlest of pages you'll find a gaggle of fiction's most well-intentioned children; children who spend their time baking brownies, climbing rope ladders, penning novels, teaching themselves algebra, playing piano, and writing letters (Yes, writing letters!).
Of course the children in children's books get into trouble too, and "The Penderwicks" is no exception. Trouble, you see, seems to follow the Penderwick clan; a slightly offbeat family consisting of the widowed Mr. Martin Penderwick, his four daughters, and their dog "Hound".
In book one of what's currently a trilogy, the Penderwicks' summer vacation at a cottage in rural Massachusetts sets them on a collision course with the prim, proper and ill-tempered Mrs. Tifton. "The Penderwicks" details the ensuing clash of familial cultures and children's wills with generosity and grace. Ultimately peace is restored, honor is upheld, and lessons are learned; just like in the children's books they used to write.