The Penderwicks in Spring

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Penderwicks in Spring Book Poster Image
Charming family series spotlights Batty in 4th volume.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Words and phrases in Latin, French, and Spanish. Names of cloud types. How to approach a strange dog. Famous conductors. Classical music and Broadway composers. Names of some Bach and Beethoven pieces.

Positive Messages

Family bonds and loyalty stressed. Suppressing feelings and keeping secrets makes problems fester; talking things out can be difficult but sometimes it's the best way forward.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Penderwicks concentrate on brains, not beauty. Batty is smart, sensitive, loyal, brave, responsible, and caring. Parents are loving and supportive. Her many siblings also are loyal and supportive. Friends and neighbors are caring and supportive.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks in Spring is the fourth in a planned five-part series. There's a lot of strong emotion as main character Batty, who's almost 11, deals with the loss of her mother and of a beloved pet. The large cast of characters all are great role models, but Batty does try to take the bus by herself into the big city, and she and her younger brother tear up a five-dollar bill and flush it down the toilet.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTiasmom December 31, 2016


I think it is super
Kid, 11 years old January 2, 2021

Beautiful story demonstrates how to deal with loss, worry, and regret

Another great Penderwick book with good role models, great messages, and educational value that made the story pop.
I was disappointed on how Sk... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySydnigy November 23, 2019
This is an amazing book! Couldn’t put it down. I was disappointed that Skye kept pushing Jeffery away because I really loved Skyffry.

What's the story?

Thanks to a new music teacher, 10-year-old Batty learns that her talent for singing is very special. Anxious to pay for voice lessons, Batty finds a job walking the neighbors' dogs. But Batty's not sure she can trust herself to take care of a dog; she thinks it's her fault that her beloved pet Hound passed away a few months back. Meanwhile, her sister Skye has broken things off with Jeffrey, and that means the one person Batty can really talk to about what's important is cut off from her, too. When she accidentally overhears a shocking secret about her mother's death, the burden becomes too much for Batty to bear, and she finds that she can't sing anymore. Something's got to give, or Batty just might break.

Is it any good?

THE PENDERWICKS IN SPRING continues to charm and delight as the spotlight turns its intense focus onto fifth-grader Batty. Author Jeanne Birdsall strikes a nice balance between the in-depth exploration of Batty's emotional life and the everyday chaos of a large blended family. Her distinctive characters and eye for the telling detail make keeping track of who's who easy and fun. Readers may find they shed a tear or two when Birdsall's simple prose, with genuine heart, effortlessly packs an emotional wallop.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this fourth installment compares with the other Penderwicks books. Which is your favorite? How do you think the series will end?

  • Batty's feelings about her mother's death are too much for her to handle alone. Do you keep your feelings to yourself? Do you think it would help to talk about them with someone? Whom do you like to talk to?

  • Batty earns extra money by walking the neighbors' dogs. What are some ways you could earn money? What would you like to save up for, if you could?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family and coming-of-age stories

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