Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Review #108: The Penderwicks

Lily (age 8):
  "The Penderwicks" is about a family.  A nice family.  But sometimes they get into trouble.
Dad:  Who is in the Penderwick family?
Gracie (age 11):  Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty are the kids.  And there is Mr. Penderwick.  And their dog Hound.  But their mommy died.
Isaac (age 12):  On their vacation they go to this cottage by this mansion where Mrs. Tifton and her son Jeffrey live.
Gracie:  Jeffrey is nice.
Isaac:  But Mrs. Tifton wants to marry this guy named Mr. Dupree who is evil.
Gracie:  Dexter!
Lily:  Dexter Dupree!
Isaac:  He wants to send Jeffrey to the war academy...
Dad:  Military school?
Isaac:  Yeah, military school...  They draw Mr. Dupree's face on a cardboard box, and they shoot arrows at it.  Also when they play soccer, they call one of the balls "Dexter" when they kick it.
Dad:  What did we find interesting about the Penderwick kids?
Gracie:  They are exactly like us!
Dad:  The Penderwick kid personalities match up with the Zenz kids pretty closely!  In the same order too.  Who is the oldest Penderwick?
Gracie:  Rosalind.  And she's good at being in charge and helps out a lot.  So she's just like Isaac.
Dad:  Isaac is like another little parent in our family.  Isaac, did you think Rosalind was like you?
Isaac:  Yes, but not at the end.  She got weird.
Gracie:  She fell in love.
Dad:  Love makes people turn weird, huh?
Isaac:  Yeah, and she did weird things, like falling off a rock into a pond.
Dad:  But when she had her head on straight, she was like Isaac.  Who's the next oldest Penderwick?
Gracie:  Skye.  And she was like me.  She couldn't keep her mouth shut.
Lily:  "I'm going to kill you."
Gracie:  "I'm going to murder you!"
Dad:  She was feisty.
Gracie:  She got in trouble a lot.
Lily:  And every time she baked something it went wrong.
Gracie:  Just like me.  She burnt brownies.
Isaac:  She's the hyper one.
Gracie:  There was one way she's not like me.  She likes Math.
Dad:  Who's the next Penderwick.
Gracie:  Jane.
Lily:  Jane is me.
Gracie:  She's imaginative like Lily.  They both have their heads in the clouds.
Lily:  She's creative.  She's an imaginary-ist.  And I'm an imaginary-ist.  I like to make stuff up, and I get carried away.  I go to Lily Land -- it's up in a cloud in my head.  I go there, and then I have no idea what people are saying to me.
Dad:  And who is the littlest Penderwick?
Lily:  Batty.  And she's kind of like our sister Evie.
Dad:  Evie is the little cutie of the family.
Lily:  Batty likes flowers.
Gracie:  She always had her butterfly wings on.
Dad:  What about Elijah?  Was there anyone like our brother Elijah?
Gracie:  Hound is like Elijah.
Dad:  Because he's brave.  And he's loud.  And he doesn't like to be tethered down.
Gracie:  Or told what to do.
Lily:  Or maybe baby Maggie is like Hound.  Because she eats everything she finds.
Isaac:  Hound is a mixture between Maggie and Elijah.
Dad:  My favorite thing about the book was how well the author, Jeanne Birdsall, wrote the personalities.  They felt like real people.  Even the way the kids talked... If Jane said something, she wouldn't say it the same way Skye would.
Gracie:  If they had to check on Jeffery, Jane would probably say, "This is 'Sabrina Star' going to save the poor boy in the window from his evil mother!"
Dad:  And how would Rosalind say the same thing?
Gracie:  She would say, "We can ask Churchie to cover for us, and then we can go up the rope ladder that Cagney built for us..."
Dad:  She would come up with a whole plan.  And how would Skye talk?
Gracie:  "Be quiet or I'll murder you!"
Mom: (half-listening in)  I suspect that's the character you thought was like Gracie?
Dad:  Ha ha ha ha... Yup.  And what about Batty?
Isaac:  "Where's Hound?"
Lily:  "I want to see the bunnies!"
Gracie:  I was freaking out when Batty went into the bull pen.  She wanted to see horsies in the barn.
Lily:  But she didn't suspect a bull was in there!
Gracie:  She was picking flowers, and when the doors opened, a bull was there.  Then they had to save Batty from the bull.
Lily:  I thought the bull was going to get her.  I was like, "Eeek! Eeeek!"
Gracie:  The book has a lot of exciting parts.
Dad:  What else did you like about this story?
Gracie:  It made me laugh.  It was funny.
Isaac:  It's just a nice, good book.
Dad:  It's simple, right?  It's not a huge adventure.  Just a normal, real, life-size adventure.
Lily:  I like it because I want to have that life.
Dad:  I think we do...  It was about a nice family that loves each other.
Lily:  Yes.  And we all love each other too.
Dad:  Are you glad there are some sequels we can look for now?
Gracie:  The book doesn't leave you hanging.  But it does leave you wanting more.  Everyone is left in a good situation at the end... but there's got to be more!

Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, by Gracie

Batty and the bull, by Lily

target practice on Dexter Dupree, by Isaac

Author: Jeanne Birdsall
Published 2005: Knopf
Like it?  Here it is


Shelley said...

I love this post! I was just reading the book recently and then when I saw that you reviewed it, I thought - how appropriate! You all do seem a lot like Penderwicks.

I agree, it's a great book.

Happy Fall!

ElizT said...

That's one you will all remember.

Beth said...

I've liked all the Penderwick books, but my 13 year old wouldn't try them -- the blue cover was too tranquil. I'm thinking it will make a good read aloud, and I'm glad you guys tested it.

You didn't mention the soccer love! That was one of my favorite parts.

Dorie said...

This post and the pictures are fabulous! We read The Penderwicks this past summer, and loved it as well. It did definitely make us want to read more about them, too.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I've kept up with the Penderwicks, too, but I haven't read any of them to my girls yet. I keep thinking I have to save SOMETHING for them to read on their own, right? I love the drawings and your kids' takes on the family! :-)

Amanda said...

I have never read the Penderwicks but after this review I will have to find it at the library. I love the kids drawings, very cute!

Random House Children's Books said...

This is wonderful! We look forward to more reviews by this family :)

Wendy Rice said...

Oh how fun! I just read this book over the summer, up north actually. I do love your representations of the Penderwicks and scenes from the book. Great job! I'm glad you enjoyed the book as much as I did.