Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)” as Want to Read:
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

(The Penderwicks #1)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  53,081 ratings  ·  5,490 reviews
The Penderwick sisters busily discover the summertime magic of Arundel estate’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. Best of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, the perfect companion for their adventures. Icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is less pleased with the Penderwicks than Jeffrey, and ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published March 2007 by Yearling (first published June 14th 2005)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Penderwicks, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mary I would disagree, I read this when I was ten and I loved it- as did all my friends, I also read the first three books with my mom and she loved them j…moreI would disagree, I read this when I was ten and I loved it- as did all my friends, I also read the first three books with my mom and she loved them just as much as I did. Now my whole family is hooked on the series. I'm a teenager now and I still return to these books for a good read. I just bought the last book in the series this summer. The Penderwicks was a book that I adored throughout my childhood and continue to love(less)
Susan Grebe Yes!!!! I loved the book, but it does have a strange, old-fashioned quality. If the author didn't mention a TV, I would have thought it was set in 190…moreYes!!!! I loved the book, but it does have a strange, old-fashioned quality. If the author didn't mention a TV, I would have thought it was set in 1900. The personality of Mrs. Tifton (even the fact that she goes by "Mrs." Tifton, the father speaking in Latin, even the names of the kids- with the possible exception of Skye -, make it seem like it's from another era. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  53,081 ratings  ·  5,490 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)
Rick Riordan
Nov 06, 2013 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
Miranda Reads
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
4.5 stars

People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely.
The Penderwick sisters are summering with their father on a "cottage" (aka part of the Arundel estate).

There's Rosalind (12), Skye (11), Jane (10) and Batty (4), and (of course) their dad and their dog (Hound Penderwick).

They girls soon discover that this summer will be one that they will remember forever.

Arundel is nothing like the neglected little cottage they imagined. Each of the girls have their own room, the sprawlin
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I'm upping to 5 stars on reread. This is a timeless, heartwarming middle grade story of the Penderwick family and their three week vacation one August in a rental cottage in the Berkshire mountains, in western Massachusetts.


It may not sound too exciting, but with the Penderwicks, everything is an adventure! The family consists of:

❧ Mr. Penderwick, a widower who loves plants and randomly speaks in Latin to his daughters;
❧ Rosalind, age 12, who's taken on the caregiver role for her younger sist
May 15, 2008 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
there is no book more lovely and summery and sweet than this one. man oh man.

this is a story about sisters that my sisters and i used to read growing up, and it is just as delightful (this book makes me use words like delightful!!) at 21 as it was at nine, and ten, and eleven, and twelve. (i read this book a lot. like, a lot a lot.)

i love these four sisters, and their friend Jeffrey, and their dad and their dog Hound. i love this setting and this summer. i could read this book again and again (a
Feb 15, 2008 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.
Kristin Hackett (Merrily Kristin)
4.5 stars - This books is wonderful! It has all of the magic of a classic and I love the relationship between all of the sisters. Plus Hound is such a fun character!
Ririt Rachma Miranti
Book review:

Tittle : The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Twi Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy

Tidar University, English Education skill class two, students number 1710302053

A good novel about childhood can make the reader feels rewind their childhood time. One of the best books for children and also the reader is a book from Jeanne Birdsall entitled The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. This book was publ
This is like a re-imagined 'Little Women' for the modern age. It is different and similar. There are 4 girls with a neighbor boy who have lots of adventures over a summer where they grow up a little.

The Penderwicks can't go to the beach for their month long summer vacation this year which is a little disappointing, until they see the huge cottage they are renting for 3 weeks on the property of a huge mansion. The boy in the mansion - Jeffrey, welcomes the chaos that the girls bring with their f
m a r y l i z
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Oh my stars! This book was the sweetest, most touching thing I've ever read. <3

It completely captured the essence of childhood. Honestly, the book was such a sensitive and touching portrayal of childhood. It made me tear up more than once as I really saw the characters in such a raw, honest way. They felt so real and relatable.

The writing itself made me feel all cozy and comfortable. It was blissfully nostalgic, heralding back to the classic children's stories of the past. And it held a certain
Crystal Starr Light
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Crystal Starr Light by: Shannon
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
Brian Yahn
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The tale of the Penderwicks is the epitome of a middle grade masterpiece. Adults that just don't get it, a summer vacation in a strange new land, hopeless love, heartbreak, best-friends-at-first-sight friendships, a family so close you wish you were a part of it. Jeanne Birdsall takes everything you loved about your childhood and whittles it down to a couple hundred pages.

The Penderwick children have enough personality to fill a series and I look forward to continuing the series and seeing where
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow O.o
Adorable book I loved everything about it and would recommend it for anyone!
Go... read it
May 22, 2008 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
Feb 01, 2008 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
Kellyn Roth
Reread 5/10/18:

Oh, wow! This book is just as good as ever. I just love it. <3 Rereading it, I think the girls are probably a little more mature than their ages would warrant - except Batty, perhaps - but I can overlook that. Perhaps it will inspire children to try to be more grownup (in an acceptable childish way, of course) and become nicer people! ;P

Now that I can understand Latin, Mr. Penderwick is 100000x better. xD

Original Read(s)?:

This is simply one of the best children's books I ever read
Brigid ✩
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
*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
Linda Hart
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful book that will charm adults and children alike. The story captures that timeless magic of an imaginative and happy childhood spent exploring the outdoors experiencing adventures both humorous and frightening with family and friends. This is book 1 of a series and it stands alone with no cliff hangers that leave the reader without a satisfying ending. However I found myself growing very attached to the three-dimensional characters, and enjoyed the author's writing style so mu ...more
I read this out loud to my 4, 8, and 10 year kiddos. After reading all the glowing reviews, I was ready to dive in, head first, and read the entires series to my kids. I envisioned my kids seeing me as the coolest mom, ever, for sharing such an awesome book with them. I can testify, that it really is a fun book that caused us to giggle throughout the pages and we all earnestly looked forward to our lunch time reading sessions. It did hold a nostalgia that creates a longing to be transported into ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Did I have ten quadrillion things to do today? yes. Did I brutally sacrifice my academic, social, and family life to read, not even my beloved American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, which I've been trying to find the time to read for half a year, but two cHILDREN'S BOOKS? yes. I did that. 700 pages of junior fiction. Who's the fool now, Els, my dear? ...more
While the general premise and set-up of Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy certainly does have a delightfully old-fashioned feel to it, the anticipated all-encompassing enjoyment that I had fondly expected (and that the glowing reviews of The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by very many of my Goodreads friends also seemingly were predicting) has, I am sorry to say, never rea ...more
Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)
Oh how I love the Penderwick family. This book reminds me of a sort of mash up between a modern Little Women (four sisters, who all have distinct personalities and roles in the family, and a wealthy neighbor boy who becomes one of them) and To Kill a Mockingbird (so many adventures, and a wonderful father who nonetheless is a little absent or at least absent-minded). It's charming. It's delightful. It's beautifully written. It feels like a classic, both in the way the story is told, it's simple ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Awwwww. :)

While I wouldn't say that this really became a favorite, I'll definitely have to try to finish the rest of the series at some point, to see if (and how) the ships sail, etc.

I think my favorite character might have been Rosalind. She was so sweet and also relatable in some ways. But then, I don't know, I liked all the Penderwicks, and Cagney, and Jeffrey . . .

Solid book! :)
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
Dec 25, 2008 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
Dec 09, 2008 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
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
oh my word xDDD
I absolutely love the old-fashioned feeling! It reminds me very much of The Melendy Quartet and The Moffats, which I loved as a child. I really enjoyed the gentle humor - I literally laughed out loud at so much. It was SO sweet, and EEEP WOW.
Aug 23, 2008 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
Melissa McShane
I read the fourth book first and of course had to immediately run out and get the others. I hadn't realized what a chronological gap there is between this book and The Penderwicks in Spring, where Batty (here only four or five, I can't remember which) is almost eleven, and it was an interesting change to see the older sisters as young as Batty is there.

The Penderwicks exist in a sort of alternate universe in which things aren't perfectly perfect--poor Jeffrey has a horrible mother and doesn't ev
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Favorite Penderwick Sister 98 259 Feb 18, 2021 02:34PM  
What has been your favorite part? 1 1 Nov 22, 2020 06:50PM  
Children's Books: June 2015 - The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall 45 77 Jun 03, 2020 05:40PM  
The Nick Geiger F...: Rereading: The Penderwicks 121 15 May 19, 2020 03:48AM  
Series 3 7 Aug 05, 2019 02:02AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (The Vanderbeekers, #1)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)
  • The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (The Vanderbeekers, #2)
  • The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (The Vanderbeekers, #3)
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library (Mr. Lemoncello's Library #1)
  • The Candymakers (The Candymakers, #1)
  • The Saturdays (The Melendy Family, #1)
  • Tuesdays at the Castle (Castle Glower, #1)
  • The Vanderbeekers Lost and Found (The Vanderbeekers, #4)
  • A Place to Hang the Moon
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #2)
  • The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1)
  • The Vanderbeekers Make A Wish (The Vanderbeekers, #5)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3)
  • Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Book Scavenger (Book Scavenger, #1)
  • The Tale of Despereaux
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

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)
  • The Penderwicks at Last (The Penderwicks, #5)

Related Articles

  With more than 4.75 million votes cast and counted, the 13th Annual Goodreads Choice Awards are now official. Launched in 2009,...
223 likes · 86 comments
“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.”
“People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely” 66 likes
More quotes…