A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.