The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street Book Poster Image
Sequel to award-winner has more depth.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Several of the characters, adult and child, lie and deceive, but all feel badly about it and fess up. The sisters manipulate their father.


The children tackle, restrain, and tie up a man who tries to steal a friend's computer.


None, but lots of talk about dating and romance, both adult and young teen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A reference to a man killed by a drunk driver.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there is nothing of concern here, beyond some dishonesty, which leads to guilt, confession, and repentance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 8-year-old Written byKatherine B. February 7, 2017

Hard to put down! Classic feel

My family loves thes books! The girls are charming--loyal, strong, and funny!! Each has their own distinct personality and they compliment each other well. The... Continue reading
Parent Written byRebeccaW December 20, 2012

Anti-Semitic on Gardam Street?

My 9 year old son and I very much enjoyed listening to the CD version of The Penderwicks. The structure and flow of the books took me back to some of my favori... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 1, 2021

Sequel to "The Penderwicks" is just as good as the first

The next book in the series is extremely well written, and introduces many more great charterers that make it a timeless read. The plot is hilarious, and it fee... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old December 23, 2018

Amazing Book!!

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street is an escape from todays mean girl books. The characters are super realistic, and you find yourself not wanting to put it down.

What's the story?

The four Penderwick sisters are back home, and facing an assortment of minor crises. Their widowed father is reluctantly starting to date, pushed by his sister and a letter his wife wrote before she died, leading the girls to hatch the \"Save Daddy Plan.\" Middle sisters Skye and Jane switch homework assignments, and now Skye is being forced to star in a play everyone believes she wrote. And oldest sister Rosalind is fumbling her way to her first romantic relationship.

Is it any good?

This second book is better than the first. As hinted by the old-fashioned silhouettes gracing their covers, the Penderwick books deliberately hearken back to an earlier era in children's literature, when the world was safe, problems were small, humor was clean, and kids roamed free. A cross between a '30s screwball comedy (think You Can't Take It with You) in which all the characters have an excess of eccentric personality, and a '50s sitcom (think Father Knows Best), this series is a nostalgia trip for boomers who grew up on The Moffats by Eleanor Estes and Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

While the characters still tend to be rather one-dimensional, the caricatures of the first book are gone, though the problems -- stepparents and budding romance -- are similar. The characters are likable (no cardboard villains this time), and the story whizzes by effortlessly and pleasurably (though occasionally absurdly, as when the children capture a thief). For parents looking for books like the ones they read in their own childhoods, and for kids looking to escape from violent fantasy and action/adventure into a simpler, sweeter world, this is a good choice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the world of the Penderwicks. In what ways is it like your own life? How is it different? On balance, is it realistic? Do you know people like the Penderwicks?

Book details

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