The beloved family is back—and taking their final bow.
In this fifth and final title in the endearing series, the spotlight is on the youngest sibling, now-11-year-old Lydia, would-be dancer. Everyone’s gearing up for the wedding of eldest sister Rosalind, scrambling to ensure the happy couple can get hitched without a hitch at Arundel, the imposing estate where the Penderwick saga began (The Penderwicks, 2005). Thrown into the mix is an older brother who’s aspiring to be a film director; riotous animals, including a stair-climbing chicken and an independent-minded sheep; and snooty interference from the estate’s former owner. Lydia meets a new gal pal; gets embroiled in the arrangements of what eventually evolves into a double wedding; and emerges as her own winning personality. As in the other series titles, Birdsall writes with a knowing, breezy hand and infuses cozy, old-fashioned, humorous warmth into the proceedings while adhering to a white default. Occasionally, Lydia comes across as younger than her years. Still, readers will appreciate the younger girl’s antics and the numerous musical references (which threaten to date the novel) and will likely swoon over the wedding details, some unrealistic. Certainly, die-hard fans will rejoice that the author virtually promises that two very popular characters will wed several years hence. Is an encore to come?
Please don’t go, Penderwicks; it’s too soon to say goodbye. (Fiction. 9-12)