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

Jeanne Birdsall, Author . Knopf $15.95 (262p) ISBN 978-0-375-83143-0

This timeless tale from a first-time author introduces the thoroughly likable Penderwicks, on vacation in a rental cottage on Arundel, a sprawling Massachusetts estate. Their spirited family dynamics and repartee call to mind those in Hilary McKay's novels, and the sisters' delightfully diverse personalities propel the plot. For instance, when they pull up to the estate's mansion, 10-year-old Jane feels certain she has spied a "lonely boy" in a window and promptly begins a novel about him once they reach their cottage. Skye, 11, elated to have her own room with two beds (she plans to use both), immediately "wrote the bed schedule next to her favorite word problem about trains traveling in different directions." Batty, a shy four-year-old, faithfully wears her butterfly wings and is devoted to her dog, Hound (who "insisted on licking faces in the middle of the night"). The girls' loving, amusingly distracted father is a botany professor with a fondness for spouting Latin phrases. Rosalind, the oldest at 12, has looked after the others since their mother's death (shortly after Batty's birth), and when she meets gentle Cagney, the estate's teenage gardener, he captures her heart. The "lonely boy" turns out to be sensitive, sincere Jeffrey, a talented musician. Tension arises when Jeffrey's pretentious mother and her fiancé decide to send the boy to military school. Certain to be as sorry as the sisters are when it's time to leave Arundel, readers will hope for a return visit from this memorable cast. Ages 8-12. (June)

Reviewed on: 07/25/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Library Binding - 262 pages - 978-0-375-93143-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-307-28576-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-0-7393-7521-1
Prebound-Glued - 262 pages - 978-0-7569-7798-6
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-7862-8897-7
Downloadable Audio - 1 pages - 978-0-7393-4518-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-307-54134-5
Hardcover - 233 pages - 978-0-385-61034-6
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-0-307-28451-8
Paperback - 262 pages
Compact Disc - 1 pages - 978-0-307-28577-5
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-440-86730-2
Open Ebook - 272 pages - 978-1-4090-1310-5
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