The Penderwicks

This book, by Jeanne Birdsall, was sitting on the shelf of our local (tiny, of course) bookstore next to this year’s Newbery and Newbery Honor books (it won the National Book Award). It caught my eye, though. How could it not with the subtitle: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy?

And I was completely charmed. It’s not a deep book — it’s a summer vacation book with four girls who get into adventures at the summer cottage they and their widowed father are renting — but it’s so well written it’s completely captivating. It’s new, yet it has the same sort of feeling about it as, oh, Half Magic or Anne of Green Gables or any of E. Nesbit’s books. It’s not perfect — there are shortcomings, and it does kind of wrap things up pretty neatly in the end. But, I was so completely captivated by it that I was willing to look aside any faults. About a chapter and a half into it, I realized that this was a perfect read-aloud book for my girls (and have since told them that they have to sit and listen to it). I’m always glad when I find a book like that.

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