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

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy Book Poster Image
Sisters romp through summer in old-fashioned charmer.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 29 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

The girls trespass, sneak out of the house, eavesdrop, and are temperamental.

Violence
Sex

Some kisses and imagined kisses.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Penderwicks, the story of a widower and his four daughters on summer vacation in the Berkshires, won the 2005 National Book Award. The story is full of innocent adventures and misadventures, and the girls misbehave a  bit: rampaging through Mrs. Tifton's formal gardens, sneaking out of the house, losing their tempers, and not always being truthful. There's a first crush and a few kisses.

User Reviews

Adult Written byoohlalisa August 24, 2011

14 thumbs up

Fantastic wholesome book for kids & grown ups of all ages. We listened to it on a road trip and my 5 & 7 yr olds laughed at the escapades, my 9... Continue reading
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byhbs78910 July 8, 2015

I wanted to love this book

I have been looking for good chapter books to read aloud to my girls (7 and 5) before bed. I thought this series would be a winner. But after one character (Sky... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old March 1, 2009

Very Interesting Book

I just finished this book today and I gotta say, it was very good. I would recommend this for any child.
Kid, 11 years old September 26, 2010
I love this book It Is the Best book ever

What's the story?

The Penderwicks -- responsible older sister Rosalind, 12; temperamental Skye, 11; budding writer Jane, 10; little Batty, 4; and their botanist father (their mother is dead) -- head out for a summer vacation at a rented cottage on the Arundel estate in the Berkshires. There they meet Jeffrey, the musically talented son of Mrs. Tifton, the snobbish owner of the estate, and Cagney, the teen groundskeeper. After some initial social disasters, the girls and Jeffrey get to be good friends, and Rosalind develops a crush on Cagney.

But Mrs. Tifton, supported by her equally mean and stuck-up beau Dexter Dupree, doesn't approve of the Penderwick girls or their friendship with her son. After a miserable and disastrous birthday party for Jeffrey, they overhear his mom and Dupree planning to marry and send Jeffrey away to military school. Gentle, artistic Jeffrey is horrified, and when his mother won't listen to his pleas, he plans to run away.

Is it any good?

THE PENDERWICKS is a leisurely paced, old-fashioned kind of story about children enjoying a summer of outdoor play. It won the 2005 National Book Award and was a bit hit with readers and critics who delighted in its humor, family dynamics, and nostalgic atmosphere, despite a copule of one-note characters (the mean and snobbish Mrs. Tipton and her boyfriend).

The Penderwicks spawned the successful sequels The Penderwicks on Gardam Street and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the characters' behavior. Is Mrs. Tifton correct in her criticism of Mr. Penderwick's parenting?

  • How do you think the Penderwicks' childhood is different from how most kids live today?

  • Is it fun to see how kids can make up their own fun all day long without texting or playing video games?

Book details

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