December 12, 2005 @ 2:19 pm | Filed under: Books
The Penderwicks : A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall.
“Meet the Penderwicks, four different sisters with one special bond. There’s responsible, practical Rosalind; stubborn, feisty Skye; dreamy, artistic Jane; and shy little sister Batty, who won’t go anywhere without her butterfly wings.
“When the girls and their doting father head off for their summer holiday, they’re in for a surprise. Instead of the tumbledown cottage they expected, they find themselves on a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon the girls are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts.”
Here’s what has me excited: I keep coming across reviews that compare Jeanne Birdsall’s work to some of our tippy-top favorite authors. Like this, from Booklist:
“Birdsall follows in the footsteps of Elizabeth Enright, Edward Eager, and Noel Streatfeild, updating the family story yet keeping all of the old-fashioned charm.”
And from Kirkus:
“Not since the Marches have readers met more engaging girls than the Penderwicks.”
The Marches?! Hello! We are so there. Review to come, after I get my hands on a copy. I’m chomping at the bit…
Other fiction featuring families of whom we are fiercely fond:
The Railway Children, Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, and a bunch of others by Edith Nesbit.
All the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome.
The All-of-a-kind Family series by Sydney Taylor.
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson.
Noel Streatfeild’s Shoes books, especially Ballet Shoes and Dancing Shoes. (Gotta love Wintle’s Little Wonders!)
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott.
Half Magic by Edward Eager.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.
Ginger Pye and Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes.
And of course we mustn’t forget The Chronicles of Narnia by our beloved C. S. Lewis. The Pevensie clan is one of the best families ever.
…on the feast of St. Lucy.
Hanna’s Christmas. My kids are 1/8 Swedish, which I figure qualifies us to observe the old Swedish St. Lucia day custom where the oldest daughter dresses all in white and serves sweet rolls to her parents in bed. Not that a total lack of Swedish blood would deter us from keeping this lovely tradition…over the years it has become one of the sweetest parts of our Advent celebration. All three girls dress up here, of course, raiding my drawers the night before for long white slips and such. They make construction paper candle-crowns just like the little girl in the story—without the help (much to their disappointment) of a crotchety stowaway tomten. Hanna’s Christmas is the story of a girl whose family moves from Sweden to America right before the holidays. The intensity of her homesickness is surpassed only by that of a tomten who inadvertantly stows away in a packing crate and, in his indignation and misery, causes no end of mischief in the new house (for which Hanna gets blamed, of course). The St. Lucy day tradition becomes the catalyst to a new outlook for both reluctant immigrants. This is one of my kids’ favorite Christmas books. Not that they’re biased or anything….(she says mysteriously).