|Penderwicks in spring (Penderwicks)|
Author: Birdsall, Jeanne
As spring arrives on Gardam Street, there are surprises in store for each Penderwick, from neighbor Nick Geiger's expected return from the war to Batty's new dog-walking business, but her plans to use her profits to surprise her family on her eleventh birthday go astray.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 173367
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 5.70
Points: 16.0 Quiz: 65805
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/15)
School Library Journal (03/01/15)
Booklist (+) (02/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (04/15)
The Hornbook (00/03/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/01/2015 *Starred Review* Welcome back, Penderwicks! And also welcome back all those in the Penderwicks’ circle, including honorary brother Jeffrey (messing with the family dynamics by having fallen for Skye); Nick, on leave from fighting overseas and as idolized by the kids as ever; assorted friends and neighbors; a couple of dogs; and a new music teacher. It’s the latter who makes a surprising impact on 10-year-old Batty’s life, telling her that she has a rare and beautiful voice. And it is with utter shock that Batty realizes she does indeed. But she doesn’t want her family to know until she talks with Jeffrey, her musical mentor. But Jeffrey’s crush and a devastating family secret overheard by Batty mix everything up and keep Batty silent in several different ways. Besides being chock-full of all the qualities fans love (humor, heart, and the honest exploration of emotions), the compelling story line examines the guilt that Batty feels over both the death of her mother and her inability to keep the family dog, Hound, alive—and it does so in touching ways. Batty is the narrator most of the time, but younger Ben takes over on occasion, and 2-year-old Lydia is an eccentric presence. The Penderwicks have a strong bench, so, happily, expect more. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The first Penderwicks book won the National Book Award, the quality of the stories remains high, and fans remain legion. They’ll be waiting for this one. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 Gr 4–7—The Penderwick family is back in the fourth book of Birdsall's popular series. With the addition of younger sister Lydia and the recent death of beloved dog Hound, the cast of characters has changed a bit. Though told from the perspectives of Batty and Ben—the younger brother added to the clan in The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (Knopf, 2008)—this is truly Batty's story. Rosalind is in college, and Skye and Jane are both in high school. In this volume, Batty discovers that she has a talent for singing, which she keeps a secret from the rest of her family so that she can plan a Grand Birthday Concert. Jeffrey, their family friend, will be visiting for Skye's birthday, and Batty wants to ask him to be her mentore. She also takes on a job walking dogs to pay for voice lessons. She's conflicted about this because she believes that it was her fault that Hound died and she doesn't want to "curse" any more dogs. Fans of the series may find the time jump jarring—Batty, who was only four during the first book, is now 10—and the lack of OPS (Older Penderwick Sisters) dismaying. Throughout the series, Birdsall has demonstrated considerable skill at crafting a modern classic, merging modern-day wit with an old-fashioned charm. Birdsall is a master at making the everyday exciting. VERDICT This latest addition to the beloved series ends on a satisfying note, and readers will eagerly await the final book.—Jessica Ko, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 The focus of the fourth installment in the Penderwick series is on the younger siblings: Lydia, the effervescent and multilingual two-year-old; Ben, the only boy Penderwick; and most especially ten-year-old Batty. Batty is still grieving the loss of Hound, who died six months earlier, but she’s also distressed over the family’s tight money situation. When Batty’s singing voice catches the attention of her new music teacher, she’s determined to earn her own money to pay for singing lessons, but her efforts lead unexpectedly to dog-walking, a task she’s not sure she’s ready for after Hound. When she overhears a devastating truth about her birth from her older sister Skye, she plunges into a serious depression, and her refusal to leave her bed alarms the entire family. Batty’s responses to her troubles are fully understandable for a sensitive girl her age who’s caught in the midst of losses she can do nothing to recompense, but Birdsall follows the storytelling maxim that you can’t take your readers into the darkness without leading them back out again, so all is set right in the end. The precocity of the younger siblings calls to mind Hilary McKay’s Casson books, but Birdsall departs from her many vaunted readalikes by cranking the emotional drama up a notch with her focus on Batty’s depression, the reasons for Skye’s coldness toward Batty, and the tension of having a dear friend, neighbor Nick, in harm’s way. Despite the sadness at the heart of Batty’s dilemma, Birdsall, as always, lightens her serious themes with humor and the background hum of a busy household full of likable people. KC - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.