Book of the Week Book reviews

REVIEW: The Penderwicks in Spring


Author: Jeanne Birdsall

Ages: 10-15 (and really, older if you want.)

Batty Penderwick’s world is more or less flawless. With recently discovering a wonderful and secret talent, Rosalind Penderwick and Jeffery Tiffon soon coming to visit, and her birthday coming up, nothing could go wrong. All she needs to do is find some way to make money and get rid of Rosalind’s new boyfriend. But then a gut-wrenching overheard conversation throws her life out, leaving only ‘After Batty’ to take care of her siblings – and dogs.

WARNING: I may give some near-spoilers. DO NOT READ IF NOT WILLING TO READ. Batty and Brother are still trying to mfmmfffmfff… not just emotional stuff mfmfffffffff

The Penderwicks in Spring (fourth book in the Penderwick series)starts off as just some ordinary kid-making-money book, but. Whoa. No.

My first opinion as I read was one of disappointment. This book takes place about six years after the previous (The Penderwicks at Point Mouette), which means that all our previous favourite characters are teenagers… or beyond. We don’t see their perspective anymore, which is tragic. I mean, Skye was me! Now she’s just a teenager (OK, fine, so am I) in the background. At first. You might miss the fun of young Skye and Jane.

I didn’t laugh as much as I did when reading the other books. Through the first few chapters, I was thinking, I’m going to have to give this a bad review. It’s great to me, as a Penderwick fan, but would it still be if I didn’t have the background? Then came the plot flip. No longer are we looking at some grade five and grade two team taking on the world and baby sisters, but something deeper – although the there is still the air of children bravely defying the odds of older sisters.

Admittedly, I was listening to music while reading some Penderwicks in Spring which probably affects and intensifies the atmosphere of the book (whether it’s happy music while you read of a funeral or scary music for a scary scene).

This book reads as if there is at least one book between this and the previous. I want to know more about the NIWB oath, for example. At first, it seems that the minorish characters (older Penderwick sisters) have just become older versions of their previous selves. But, like when we hear about the NIWB oath, it turns out that they have been developing their relationships with each other too. Somehow, this is significant – and it stings that we missed it.

At first, we are made to be irritated with Skye in a general teens-are-the-enemy way. Then she’s a great, fun and rule-bending older sister. Then she is probably supposed to be an evil, life-ruining human. I didn’t fall for it. You may tear up a bit as she does what she does, for her and for Batty. We’re given the backstory to her emotionlessness and fight for intellectual perfection.

It’s hard to give more of a review without giving away major spoilers for earlier Penderwicks books. All I’ll say is: we’re not just seeing the world through Batty’s eyes, there are other younger Penderwicks hanging around.

The problem-fixing seems a bit anti-climactic/rushed, but then it actually takes right to the end of the book for it to finish. In other words, it seems badly done, but only for half a chapter.

You may or may not tear up a bit for quite a large percentage of the books.

So, if you like defeating evil boyfriends (I do!), juvenile entrepreneurship (thank goodness for spellcheck), school life (in a story, not in reality) and making music… oh and rocks… then… hang on, dogs too… then read this. It’s a nice, gentle read – as long as you want it to be.

(But I still miss Skye and Jane, and of course Rosalind, and will be emailing the author to complain. I’m joking, of course.)Green and yellow cover of The Penderwicks in Spring written by Jeanne Birdsall

/10 or a few sentences. ESPECIALLY if you disagree. I will not be offended. Probably.
and, Which is your favourite book in the Penderwick series? Mine is probably this and The Penderwicks on Gardam street (2nd). Or the first. Maybe the third. 

Book 1. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy
Book 2. The Penderwicks on Gardam street
Book 3. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

By storiesnstuff22over7

Books, dogs & nerdy things

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