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

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  39,292 Ratings  ·  4,258 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 2005)
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Popular Answered Questions
Eve I disagree. I adore this book and I'm fourteen years old.
Susie Probably 8 to 12 year olds, but I think it's a great book for all ages.

Community Reviews

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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
...more
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.

description

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
...more
Kathryn
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
Melissa
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.
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
...more
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 cert
...more
Ann
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
...more
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
...more
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 r
...more
Donalyn
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
...more
Laura
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
Brigid ✩ Cool Ninja Sharpshooter ✩
*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
...more
Shaun
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
...more
Olivia
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! :)
MsAprilVincent
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, young-adult
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
Erin
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
Tracey Dyck
Aug 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This book came highly recommended by several friends of mine, and it did not disappoint!

I'm not even sure how to review it. Think back to your fondest childhood summer, sprinkle it with imagination and adventure, and mix it with a dash of humor and buckets of warm fuzzies. That's pretty much The Penderwicks. Like Peter Pan did, it transported me back to childhood in a way that made me smile and want to live at Arundel with these kids just a little longer.

Rosalind, the oldest sister, is sensible
...more
Jessika
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
Alexis
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction-books
Anyone and EVERYONE should read this book.
Alexandra
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
...more
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
Miriam
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
...more
Richard Derus
Jan 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Elizabeth
The Penderwick Family is on summer vacation to somewhere they've never been before. It turns out to be a wonderful place, and although mishaps do happen the Penderwick sisters will never forget this almost magical trip.

This is the most sweetest book I've ever read! How do I put the loveliness of this book into words to convince you to read it if you haven't yet? Should I say that it tugs at the heartstrings? Should I tell you that each of the four sisters are written very well with distinct pers
...more
Beth
May 26, 2008 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
steph
Review April 2018: I have decided to re-read this series in anticipation of the fifth (and final) volume that will be released next month. Re-visiting this book was both a comfort and a delight. I noticed on this read just how well written each of the sisters are, they are each their own person, with distinct personalities and temperaments. Considering that three of the sisters are stair steps (12, 11 and 10 years old), it would be easy for them to be interchangeable to the reader. But even at t ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Jun 19, 2010 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
...more
Kirsty
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've wanted to read Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks for ages. I still really enjoy children's literature, and want to make time to include more books of the genre in my yearly reading lists. This looked just right to read whilst on holiday over Easter, and so it came to France with me. The Penderwicks, which is the first book in a series, is immersive and amusing, and I got a feel for each of the characters almost as soon as they were introduced. Birdsall is a good writer, and whilst I do not ...more
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Audiobooks...how much is too much? 1 1 Aug 14, 2018 10:37AM  
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. YA book about five siblings, single dad. [s] 3 21 Feb 03, 2018 07:57AM  
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791 followers
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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The Penderwicks (5 books)
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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” 55 likes
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