Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

“The Penderwicks” is a fun novel, full of excitement. The Penderwicks are a family of four girls. Rosalind the oldest at twelve is a mature character, always trying to keep her younger sisters under control. Skye, one year younger, is adventurous and mischievous, what you would call a tomboy. Jane at ten is very imaginative, and is usually found daydreaming about what animal “Sabrina Star” the main character in the books Jane is writing, is going to save next. Last of all is Batty, the smallest. Batty is shy and whenever a stranger comes she is usually found hiding behind one of her older sisters.

The girls have a hard time growing up without their mother, who died two weeks after giving birth to Batty. Rosalind takes the place of their mother, but the girls still have a hard time without her.

This novel is about their summer break with their father. The cottage in Cape Cod that they usually stay at during the summer is already rented and Cape Cod is fully booked for the summer. So, the Penderwicks end up renting a cottage from a woman named Mrs. Tifton. The girls imagine the cottage will be an old tumble-down shack, with pots of flowers on the front porch. They figure Mrs. Tifton, a nice old lady, will live in a shack next to theirs, and grow vegetables and flowers. What do they find? Nothing that they ever expected. It turns out Mrs. Tifton is some snotty, rich lady who lives in a mansion. The girls become very good friends with Mrs. Tifton’s son, Jeffrey, who is nothing like his horrid mother. They go on many adventures with Jeffrey, but soon his mother thinks he’s spending too much time with the Penderwicks and that they’re a bad influence. Jeffrey’s mother finds the girls improper and disruptive.

Mrs. Tifton has a horrible boyfriend and during Jeffrey’s birthday dinner the girls and Jeffrey overhear that Mrs. Tifton is planning to marry Dexter. He wants to send Jeffrey to a military school called Pencey Academy, and Mrs. Tifton agrees! Each time Jeffrey tries to tell his mother that he doesn’t want to go, she ignores him, and Mrs. Tifton grows to dislike the Penderwicks more and more.

Will Dexter send Jeffrey to military school?
Will Jeffrey have horrible Dexter as his stepfather?

3 Stars


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