Somewhere, there are families like the Penderwicks. Lucky them. The rest of us just get to read about them. Lucky us....

THE PENDERWICKS AT POINT MOUETTE

From the Penderwicks series , Vol. 3

Music and melodrama waft on the ocean breezes as the Penderwicks spend time on the Maine coast, in the third installment about this charming family. 

Well, most of the Penderwicks. Dad’s on his honeymoon; eldest sister Rosalind is away at the Jersey shore. Joining the three remaining sisters and their beloved aunt is dear friend Jeffrey, introduced in the first novel. Skye, second eldest, is now overseer of her sisters and isn’t happy about it, especially when the third, Jane, develops a crush on a most unworthy boy. Then Batty, the youngest, confounds everyone by discovering musical talent that no Penderwick has ever displayed. Most dramatic of all is the startling revelation that slowly reveals itself in the musician living next door. Readers who enjoyed the previous books (The Penderwicks, 2005; The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, 2008) will like this one, too, because of its cozy familiarity, and Birdsall writes with a warm, sure hand. The girls are, as usual, kind, endearing, self-possessed, self-aware and comforting. Readers will also be happy, though wary, about the surprise disclosure but will likely see it coming. That’s OK. Penderwick fans like their stories old-fashioned, replete with coincidences and gently soap-opera–esque elements.

Somewhere, there are families like the Penderwicks. Lucky them. The rest of us just get to read about them. Lucky us. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-85851-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel.

THE CLOCKWORK CROW

Young Seren Rhys stands on the cusp of a new life. Unfortunately for her, the train to her new life is late.

Following the death of her aunt, who saved her from her 12-year stay at the orphanage, she receives word that her godfather, Capt. Arthur Jones, will take her in. Seren spends her wait dreaming of the Jones family and their surely bustling, welcoming manor, Plas-y-Fran in Wales. An encounter with a mysterious man and his more mysterious wrapped parcel (containing the eponymous mechanical bird) leaves Seren reeling, and the mysteries multiply when she arrives at Plas-y-Fran. The place is shuttered and cold, nearly deserted but for a few fearful, oppressively unforthcoming servants. The captain and his wife are away; of their young son, Tomos, there is neither sign nor sound. With the Crow as her only, if reluctant, ally, Seren soon finds herself enmeshed in mayhem and magic that may prove lethal. In her characteristic style, Fisher crafts an elaborate fantasy from deceptively simple language. Seren is a sharp, saucy narrator whose constant puzzlement at others’ consternation over her impertinence provides running amusement. Supporting characters are fascinating if ambiguous players, not so much poorly drawn as poorly revealed, perhaps casualties of the quick pace. The deadened manor, however, provides the perfect backdrop for preternatural forces. Characters are presumed white.

A richly atmospheric page-turner—readers will eagerly anticipate the forthcoming sequel. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1491-8

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Walker US/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Warm, delicious and filling.

PIE

What do you get when you take some scrumptious pie recipes, stir in a mix-up of a mystery involving an overweight cat and a legacy, then add a sly satirical nod to the Newbery Medal? This irresistible confection.  

In 1955, 10-year-old Alice’s beloved Aunt Polly, the peerless “Pie Queen of Ipswitch,” who has always given away the extraordinary products of her oven simply because it makes her happy, dies. She bequeaths her incomparable piecrust recipe to Lardo, her cat—or does she?—and leaves Lardo to Alice. Thus the stage is set for a rich, layered and funny tale about friendship, family relationships and doing what’s right. The characters are wonderfully drawn. While doing her best to carry on Aunt Polly’s legacy, trying to figure out how to wrest the secret from the cat, dealing with a nefarious woman poking around town and learning about the renowned “Blueberry Medal,” which everyone in town is trying to win, Alice draws closer to her mom, a resolution Aunt Polly would have cherished. Alice and her family eventually discover the solution to the mystery in a plot twist that is both comical and plausible. An epilogue, set in 1995, is deeply poignant and gratifying. In addition to the beautifully wrought story, readers will savor and want to attempt the 14 recipes, each of which precedes a chapter.

Warm, delicious and filling.   (recipes, pie credits) (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-545-27011-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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