Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
( 207 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Young summer love and parents who just don't get it.

The Penderwicks was an amazing book. When I first read the long title, I thought, how in the world with all that fit together to make an interesting story. I really enjoyed the sisters and their 'love' interests. Rosalin and Cagney planning ways to meet each other, J...
The Penderwicks was an amazing book. When I first read the long title, I thought, how in the world with all that fit together to make an interesting story. I really enjoyed the sisters and their 'love' interests. Rosalin and Cagney planning ways to meet each other, Jeffrey and Skye or Jane just playing together and having fun. Mrs Tifton, Jeffrey's mother, was a huge snob just because the girls were not as rich as herself. The adventures these characters find themselves in truely makes you feel as if you are a character in the background participating. The soryline is certainly one that keeps you trying to figure out what could possibly happen next.

posted by Anonymous on June 25, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

Purchased this book to give to my 11 year old niece. Liked the basic story, but was disappointed that the author chose to use words like 'murder' and 'serial killer' in her book. One character talks about going insane and murdering her siblings, then later tells her s...
Purchased this book to give to my 11 year old niece. Liked the basic story, but was disappointed that the author chose to use words like 'murder' and 'serial killer' in her book. One character talks about going insane and murdering her siblings, then later tells her sister to get out of her room or she'll kill her. Then at the end of the book the kids talk about how one of the characters could have been a serial killer. Just found it odd that in this book that type of language was really necessary to get the author's point accross. I'm sure some kids might talk that way, but just didn't think such negative words/images needed to be used in a children's book. I gave it to my niece, but not without some hesitation.

posted by Anonymous on July 13, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    Purchased this book to give to my 11 year old niece. Liked the basic story, but was disappointed that the author chose to use words like 'murder' and 'serial killer' in her book. One character talks about going insane and murdering her siblings, then later tells her sister to get out of her room or she'll kill her. Then at the end of the book the kids talk about how one of the characters could have been a serial killer. Just found it odd that in this book that type of language was really necessary to get the author's point accross. I'm sure some kids might talk that way, but just didn't think such negative words/images needed to be used in a children's book. I gave it to my niece, but not without some hesitation.

    2 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Some room for improvement ...

    After ignoring Jeanne Birdsall¿s Penderwick series library visit after library visit, I finally gave in and picked up the first book: The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. The title was intriguing, a shiny National Book Award Winner sticker was slapped proudly on the cover and I was indeed curious about the sisters, rabbits and the interesting boy. This Little-Women-meets-The-Boxcar-Children saga details the adventures of Rosalind, Jane, Skye and Batty Penderwick during their summer vacation at Arundel with their widowed father and the family dog, Hound. Rosalind is the eldest, girly and a romantic; Jane dreams of becoming a writer; Skye is a spunky tomboy, and Batty, the youngest, encapsulates childhood innocence. While the Penderwick sisters try to avoid the snooty owner of Arundel cottage, Mrs. Tifton, they make friends with her son, Jeffrey, and the gardener, Cagney. Summer adventures of lost rabbits, dinner parties, unrequited love, and child vs. adult expectations ensue, tensions between the free-spirited Penderwicks and the rigid Mrs. Tifton develop, and the fate of Jeffrey¿s education lingers tumultuously in the hands of Mrs. Tifton¿s detestable fiancé, Dexter. The technical form of the book appears to fit the 8-12 age range perfectly ¿ straight forward writing, short chapters, defined characters ¿ and I initially thought this a wonderful children¿s read. I could relate to the characters, the writing was smooth and the plot evoked my own childhood memories. But that¿s an adult opinion from an adult perspective. What would a child¿s opinion be from a child¿s perspective? Quite frankly, my eight-year-old self would have found the story dull. It¿s written from an adult perspective with too many adult references that evoke adult memories. I can¿t imagine that my younger self would have enjoyed a book about a family vacation with undeveloped characters, minimal conflict and random Latin phrases (that are never translated) because many of the underlying themes I had yet to experience. Yes, parents undoubtedly find this story wholesome and a good family read and my third grade teacher has probably assigned this story in her reading class (as stated above: straight forward writing, short chapters and defined characters), but I doubt that I would have picked this story up for entertainment. It¿s too plain and too safe. As noted previously, The Penderwicks is a series. I¿ve decided to read the next book in line, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, in hopes that Jeanne Birdsall was just warming up with her first story and that the next will take some risks on the safe groundwork she has already laid. At least that¿s what my eight-year-old self is hoping. A Coffee and Pages Review

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 29, 2010

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