Friday, March 11, 2011
The Penderwicks by: Jeanne Birdsall
A summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy.
The four Penderwicks sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, find themselves staying on a beautiful estate called Arundel for the summer holidays. Each girl is very different.
Brown-eyed Rosalind, the prettiest of the sisters, is a mother to her four sisters after their own mother died many years ago. Skye, the next in line, is a sarcastic blond with blue eyes. Jane dreams of being an author and often lets her imagination wander. And finally, the youngest, Batty. Batty is a shy girl who wears a tacky pair of wings everywhere she goes and will not talk to strangers at all. She loves animals and is the only one in the family who understands their dog, Hound, when he is trying to tell them something.
Together the four sisters have wonderful adventures, and some not so wonderful ones. Skye mistakenly insults Jeffrey Tifton's mother and Jeffrey himself. Jane has her heart set on having a professional editor read the book that she's written. But in the end, the editor says it's horrible. Jane feels bad until she learns that he is not a real professional book editor at all. Rosalind has a bad fall and injures her head. But despite all this, good things happen too. The girls meet Cagney, a friendly teenager who is usually wearing a baseball cap. Batty makes friends with some rabbits. And the girls, after much indecision as what to do, finally decide to go to Jeffrey and apologize for insulting him. That was the best part of the summer for all the girls, meeting Jeffrey.
Jeffrey is forced to invite the girls to his birthday party by Churchie, the maid, and the girls have to wear Jeffrey's mother's old clothes since they don't own anything fancy enough. Fortunately for them, Mrs. Tifton doesn't recognize the Penderwick's clothes as once being her own, or does she? The party ends in complete failure when the girls spy Mrs. Tifton and her boyfriend discussing marriage. They also are discussing sending Jeffrey off to a boarding school where he will learn to be a soldier. Jeffrey actually wants to pursue music, but his mother wants him to follow in his grandfather's footsteps.
Batty and Skye overhear Mrs. Tifton talking to her son, Jeffrey, about all the Penderwick's faults. Skye rushes in and yells at Mrs. Tifton about how all the things she said were wrong. But if the girls keep making mistakes and insulting Mrs. Tifton, they will no longer be able to play with Jeffrey anymore. The Penderwicks already were found play-wrestling in the piano room, they ruined Mrs. Tifton's garden show, and their dog got into her plants. Then the girls decide to help Jeffrey run away, but Mr. Penderwick thinks it would be better to have Jeffrey stand up to his mother and tell her the truth, he wants to go to music school.
The Penderwicks are a close knit family that enjoy being with each other and making new friends. But Mrs. Tifton thinks they are a wild family that their father doesn't have enough control over.
I don't know who my favourite character is, but my favourite person from the Penderwick family is either Rosalind or Jane. Jane loves to write books, particularly books about a girl named "Sabrina Starr", and often lets her mind wander. Sometimes Jane will be sitting there and suddenly quote things from books she's read or written. Rosalind is pretty, good with kids, and takes care of her family, mainly Batty, since their mother died.
At first Mrs. Tifton may seem mean, but in the end she shows her good side and proves that she does care a great deal about Jeffrey, who is her only child.
The Penderwick girls are very nice, even if they do sometimes get out of hand. Usually when they get out of hand it's all in fun and they are just a little excited.
Mrs. Tifton's boyfriend, Mr. Dexter Dupree, doesn't really seem to have a good side. He is mean to Jane about her book. As soon as he marries Mrs. Tifton, he wants to get rid of Jeffrey and send him to boarding school. He doesn't like the Penderwick girls. He hit their dog, and called Batty crazy.