(This post is a compendium of a series of posts I ran in December.)
“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.”
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:
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:
Half Magic by Edward Eager.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. This book has been an annual tradition for me since Mrs. Beville read it to my fifth-grade class. Now Scott reads it to our kids, who are slightly better mannered than the obnoxious Herdman crew but just as full of provoking questions. The Herdmans, as unruly a bunch of young hoodlums as ever burned down a neighbor’s shed, have a way of jarring people out of their unexamined ruts, startling them into examining, thinking, noticing—even if only in self-defense. For that, and for their alarming frankness, I adore these foul-mouthed, looting, hooting Herdman kids.
UPDATE: This morning I was doing dishes while enjoying the very loud music Scott had turned on for Wonderboy’s enjoyment (having a hearing-impaired son gives him license, at long last, to play music at the volumes he believes to his core to be vital to a truly authentic listening experience), and a family flashed into my mind—one of my favorite fictional families, how could I forget? No, wait! TWO families! I foolishly forgot them both!
So to our list let us add, posthaste:
The Murray/O’Keefe clan and the Austin bunch, those classical-music-listening, Nobel-prize-winning, space-and-time-traveling, poetry-quoting, dolphin-befriending, adventure-having folks from Madeleine L’Engle’s books.
And over at Love2Learn, Love2LearnMom points out quite rightly that I neglected to mention the wonderful families in Hilda van Stockum’s books—an omission over which Jane shrieked in consternation when the news reached her ears.
I’m sure there are other families who ought to be on the list—please write and share your favorites!