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THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET by Jeanne Birdsall

THE PENDERWICKS ON GARDAM STREET

By Jeanne Birdsall

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 22nd, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84090-6
Publisher: Knopf

This return to the Cameron, Mass., cul-de-sac home of the Penderwicks—romantic seventh-grader Rosalind, temperamental sixth-grader Skye, dramatic fifth-grader Jane, four-year-old Batty, and their widowed college-professor father, Martin, whom readers met in Birdsall’s 2005 National Book Award–winning novel—begins with a visit from his sister, the girls’ affable Aunt Claire. She has brought a pale blue envelope entrusted to her by their beloved mother years earlier; it contains a deathbed note in which Elizabeth Penderwick encourages her husband to date again. The girls, horrified, formulate a “Save Daddy Plan,” but they are, of course, doomed to failure. While observant readers will deduce the denouement on page 13, Batty makes it perfectly plain a little further along: “I say Daddy should date the [sweet, young, widowed, also-an-academic] lady next door, and then I could play with her baby.” Out of the mouths of babes . . . . The rest of the story is a pleasant ramble of a read, replete with well-intentioned scheming, adolescent crushes, horrible homework disasters, soccer, secrets, school dances and lots and lots of literary allusion (and yes, a wedding). (Fiction. 8-12)