I picked up The Penderwicks to give to my eleven-year-old great niece, so I thought I’d read it first. It’s a realistic story about a family on vacation, and I thought it made a nice change from a lot of the less realistic children’s fiction.
The Penderwicks are four sisters, their widowed father, and a dog named Hound. Rosalind is 12, a thoughtful, responsible, child; Skye, 11, is hot tempered and hasty; Jane, 10, is dreamy and wants to be a writer; and Batty, 4, is shy and always wears butterfly wings.
The Penderwicks lose their Cape Cod cottage that they always rent for the summer, but they find a cottage in the Berkshires. It is part of an estate called Arundel.
They find Arundel beautiful, but the owner, Mrs. Tipton, doesn’t want the children in her garden. Rosalind gets a crush on a nice teenage gardener named Cagney. Skye and Jane meet Jeffrey, Mrs. Tipton’s son.
The bulk of the story centers around Jeffrey, whose mother thinks the girls are a bad influence and wants to send Jeffrey to military school. Jeffrey himself wants to study music.
I found this story amusing and sometimes touching. Its characters are likable and believable. This book is the first in a series, and I’m interested to see if my great niece likes it.