Seven Belly Laughs

December 30, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Filed under:

…and that’s in Chapter 1 alone. I’m reading Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks to the girls. They—we, I should say—connected to the characters so instantly, from the very first page, that it’s hard to believe we only just met them. Jane seemed to find the connection so emotionally charged that she spent half the chapter with a blanket over her head, needing a refuge, I presume, in which to absorb the shock of having encountered a girl so apparently like her own self in the pages of this book. (The ten-year-old sister is named—guess what—Jane, and, like my ten-year-old Jane, is a dreamy sort of girl who likes to write stories.) Rose grinned wickedly over the barbed remarks of wisecracking Skye, and Beanie could not be restrained from leaping to her feet and echoing every line uttered by four-year-old Batty—who, like our Bean, prefers to spend her time wearing a pair of silken butterfly wings.

I understand Jane’s reaction—I’m a little goosebumped myself. We know these girls. How exciting to know our friendship is only just beginning! I can’t wait for Chapter 2.

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5 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Cay says:

    Okay, there’s something wrong with me.

    I am halfway through this book and have found it dull. (Am I allowed to say that so bluntly?) 🙁

    Have I lost my touch of childhood? Have I lost my sense of what is good in a children’s story?

    You gals have found a personal connection with this book. That’s wonderful!

    I wondered how you would find the story, Lissa. I keep reading it hoping that it’ll get better. 🙁

    I was planning to pass it to my 8 yr old dd to read as soon as I was done. (She’s big into horse books right now).

    Would reading the story with her change my image?

    I have a sneaky suspicion that the energy, suspense level found in “I, Coriander” by Sally Gardner has me so enthralled that “The Penderwicks” lack the same punch. But, I am saddened to say that I have just read a certain chapter in “I, Coriander” which disappointed me greatly. Not in the writing, but in the context.

    It’s sad what they bring into children’s literature nowadays. 🙁

  2. Melissa Wiley says:

    Cay, most of the stuff that’s drawing belly laughs from my kids isn’t anything I would have found particularly hilarious if I were reading the book to myself. It keeps surprising me when they burst out howling. They are absolutely eating up the relationship between the sisters—I think they are loving this book because of the delight of recognizing kindred spirits in the Penderwick girls. I’ll be interested to hear how your daughter likes it.

    Last night we got to the part with a MOOPS—a “meeting of older Penderwick sisters”—and I thought my girls were going to grin themselves half to death. It occured to them that in relation to Wonderboy & the new baby, THEY are “older P. sisters” themselves and can have MOOPS of their own.

    (Y’all all know Wiley is my pen name, right?)