Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Academic journal article New England Reading Association Journal

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Article excerpt

BIRDSALL, Jeanneb (2005). The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. New York: Knopf. ISBN: 0375831436.

Here is an endearing family, four sisters and their rather dreamy, botanist father, that critics have compared to Alcott's March family, and to and Nesbit's railway children. Each sister has her own passions, but most important to all of them is the strength of their unity. Rosalind is the oldest, twelve, and has taken some maternal responsibilities since the death of their mother. Skye is something of a tomboy and has a gift for mathematics. Jane is the writer, and is always composing stories in tandem with the real life all around her. Batty, age four, is the shy one who loves Hound Penderwick and bunnies, and whom even the reader will want to protect, as she sweetly stumbles through the story wearing her butterfly wings.

The setting is a western Massachusetts estate, where the Penderwicks are spending three weeks for a vacation, because their usual Cape Cod getaway has been sold. The guest cottage of the estate, which is called Arundel Hall, is the perfect spot to begin exploring and unintentionally making mischief. When they arrive, they encounter a friendly tomato-stand man, a charming teenage gardener named Cagney, and a boy who only peeks from behind the curtains of the mansion. …

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