Saturday, August 4, 2012

Penderwicks, Penderwicks, Penderwicks!

Title: The Penderwicks
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette     
Author:  Jeanne Birdsall 
Publisher: Random House Children's Book   
Publication Date: June 2005, April 2008, May 2011   
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novels 
GoodReads Summary: The Penderwicks -  In this middle-grade novel, a summer of exciting new experiences awaits the lively Penderwick sisters at a summer rental cottage on the large Berkshire estate of Mrs. Tifton, a snobby heiress. With a spacey but loving botanist father, 12-year-old Rosalind is often in charge. Her younger sister, Jane, age 11, is a writer with a dramatic flair. Skye, 10, is fond of exploration. And Batty, the littlest at four, favors Halloween-colored butterfly wings at all times. Along with the owner's musically talented son, Jeffrey, and their trusty dog, Hound, the girls undertake all manner of adventures. 
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street - 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.
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette - When summer comes around, it's off to the beach for Rosalind . . . and off to Maine with Aunt Claire for the rest of the Penderwick girls, as well as their old friend, Jeffrey.
     That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick)—a terrifying notion for all, but for Skye especially. Things look good as they settle into their cozy cottage, with a rocky shore, enthusiastic seagulls, a just-right corner store, and a charming next-door neighbor.  But can Skye hold it together long enough to figure out Rosalind's directions about not letting Batty explode?  Will Jane's Love Survey come to a tragic conclusion after she meets the alluring Dominic? Is Batty—contrary to all accepted wisdom—the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune?  And will Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second, and most heartfelt, family?
     It's a rollicking ride as the Penderwicks continue their unforgettable adventures in a story filled with laughs and joyful tears!
What I Think:  I recently caught up on one of my favorite series for middle grade readers and knew it was time I officially talk about these books here! Jeanne Birdsall has published three books about the Penderwick sisters. I read on her website that the plan is to write five altogether. First of all, I think the covers of all of these are brilliant. They all show silhouettes of the sisters instead of actually drawings or illustrations of them. I love that you can see their energy as they race by on the covers but at the same time you can imagine them as you like from Birsdsall's description without anything getting in your imagination's way. I've always thought the kids look like they are having a great time on the cover, it makes me want to chase after them...or read the book and go along on their adventures.
     Each of these books takes place in a different setting but the sisters are constantly encountering new things and learning from their life experiences. I love how each sister is so unique but they all compliment each other at the same time. They definitely take care of each other and watch out for each other. I've read that people don't agree or dislike the fact that they get along so well and they seem too nice but I think because they don't have a mother, it has forced them to be closer. I also think that if sisters grow up spending so much time together, looking out for each other, and involved in each others lives instead of off in classses and sports and things like that, I can see how they have strong relationships like these girls. Or maybe I'm just more understanding because I love the books.
     Having read all three of these books, it's fun to see how the characters have grown. So much has changed since the first book. Really, all of the girls have matured. In the third book, Rosalind (the oldest sister) and Mr. Penderwick are off doing something different than Skye, Jane, and Batty so they aren't main characters in most of the book. I thought the book was fun without them but I do recognize how much I enjoyed Mr. Penderwick's lamentations or advice in Latin.
     As a mentor text, I think these books are great to look at in terms of characterization and also in how Jeanne Birdsall weaves the girls' stories together. She gives the reader insight into each of the character's lives but at the same time she is able to switch from telling the story from one character's point of view to another with, what seems like, ease. The characters are so different and unique and they seem to know pretty much who they are, which I think helps readers understand them. I know I have heard writing activities about knowing your characters inside and out and looking at how Birdsall introduces and then expands on our understanding of each girl would be great for young writers.
     One last thing! I did listen to all of these as audiobooks and the same narrator does all of them. She is amazing! I love listening to her voice, it's calm and soothing and seems to match the feel of the books perfectly. I might even go on the record as saying she's my female version of Jim Dale...she's just that great.
Read Together: Grades 3 - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 7 
Read With: Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher, The Trouble with May Amelia, Our Only May Amelia, and Turtle In Paradise by Jenni Holm, Marty McGuire (series) and The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. by Kate Messner, Countdown by Deborah Wiles, The Wright 3 (seres) by Blue Balliett Pie by Sarah Weeks
Snatch of Text:  
“The cuter the boy, the mushier your brain.”
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

“...even a tiny bit of deceit is dishonorable when it's used for selfish or cowardly reasons.

- Mr. Penderwick”
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

"Until now, Jane's biggest crushes had been on boys in books, especially Peter Pevensie, who became High King of Narnia. There'd been others. Tom Hammond from Leepike Ridge, Finin Tabinner from Journey to the River See, and though he was so small, Spiller, from the Borrowers books. "
-The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
(I have listened to all of the Penderwick books so I don't have page numbers. Sorry!)
Mentor Text For: Making Connections, Making Inferences, Identifying Story Elements, Personal Narrative, Characterization, Descriptive 
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when a sibling or another trusty friend was there for you when you needed him or her. 
Topics Covered: Siblings - Sisters, Family, Friendship, Love, Trust, Loyalty, Imagination, Summer, Music, Writing, Authors, Latin, Drama - Theater
I *hearts* Them All:

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