Scoop of the e-e-evening: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street is the perfect title for Jeanne Birdsall’s sequel to her National Book Award-winning debut, The Penderwicks. The story radiates a lovely sense of community and comfortable, neighborly warmth. I read The Penderwicks with interest, seeing in it a pleasant departure back to the innocent novels written fifty years ago. It was a refreshing novelty, but not great. With this sequel, however, Birdsall has produced a shining gem.


The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.


Once, thousands of “little” girls would have delighted in the simple story of sisters and sacrifice. Now, eleven-year-olds devour the intimate details of Serena van der Woodsen's life, and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street will be a difficult sell. But mothers searching for one—one!—decent read-aloud on the new arrivals shelf are in for a treat. Each of the four girls are given time to shine, and a plot line that could have flopped—scheming potential girlfriends for Daddy—instead unfolds with charm. By the time Mr. Penderwick takes things into his own hands and sets up a date with the mysterious Marianne Dashwood (met in a bookstore, of all places) the reader is smiling broadly. Birdsall completes the storytelling with charming literary nods such as a character with a sad smile that reminded Jane of someone, perhaps the French governess in The Enchanted Castle. How can you resist?


Just the right sort of book to read together on cool, Spring mornings.


Nicole said...

that sounds like soo much fun! that 'to read' list is getting kind of long....

Erin said...

This just came in for me at the library!!

Sarah M. said...

Thanks for leaving a comment to your review. The sequel does sound great and I can't wait to read it! :)