Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Review: The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
Reasons for reading: I really enjoyed the first book (The Penderwicks); Brittanie suggested it for Herding Cats II
Description: "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."
First line: "Their mother had been here in the hospital with the new baby for almost a week."
My thoughts: "Old-fashioned" comes up in reviews for this budding series and it really is - in the best way. It's warm and funny and full of loving (though not sappily so) relationships. Brittanie says "This series is timeless. I did not even realize it is set present day." It's true - remove a few references to things like computers, and it could be set in a bygone era. And that's a good thing!
It also has an undertone of melancholy, as the sisters' mother passed away right after the last Penderwick sister was born. This book looks a bit more at that sad event and also shows that Mrs. Penderwick had a plan - she didn't want her husband to be lonely, so she charged his sister (Aunt Claire) with delivering a letter to Mr. Penderwick ordering him to start dating once the girls were old enough.
So the girls try to set him up on horrible dates (he's required to go on a certain number) so that he won't find anyone to marry. In between, scientific Skye and writer/drama queen Jane get into trouble over switched homework assignments, eldest Rosalind is sure that she really doesn't care at all about their neighbour Tommy, and no-one believes adorable Batty when she says a man who looks like a bug is hanging around Gardam Street. And as for Daddy's dating? He comes up with a plan of his own, only to find that perhaps the answer is closer than the Penderwicks thought...
The verdict: A great sequel, hooray! A sweet, lovely, funny story about a close-knit family looking for a missing piece of the Penderwick puzzle.