The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall was published recently. The girls in our family adore the series. I cannot wait for the next one to be published. I think by then I will be due for a reread of all of them.


There is a new addition to the family.

“Lydia loved everyone she’d encountered in her short life—never had Penderwick been so pleased with the human race—but she loved Ben most of all. This was a burden no boy should bear.”

“And now, eight—eight was a lot, especially when the eighth one was Lydia.”

” ‘Did Nick scare her?’
‘Of course not. She fell in love with him immediately.’ “

Ben is quite a his own little man with his own way of relating to the world. And he is rather perplexed in being the boy stuck in with all the girly-sister angst.

” ‘Okay. I Lima-Oscar-Victor-Echo you, Sky.’
‘Lima-Oscar-Victor-Echo you, too, buddy.’ “

“Which meant she might cry, and Ben didn’t think he should have to deal with crying when this was clearly Skye’s problem.”

“Ben absolutely did not want to get caught in another discussion of love.”

“Ben had no intention of undergoing another official meeting, with its swearing and secrecy. . .
‘I can’t handle any more secrets.’ “

Batty has a secret talent . . . and a secret burden.

“And then it happened—her sprite tried to sing. Batty clapped her hand over her mouth and hoped Ben hadn’t noticed.”

” ‘In exchange for our dead mother, we got another sister, just what we didn’t need. We got Batty.’
Batty’s world turned black and void of sound.”

The way kids think.

“Five dollars was a lot, but this was dishonorable money.
In the end, they snuck upstairs to the bathroom, where they ripped up the five-dollar bill and flushed the pieces down the toilet. . .”

Nick is now Lieutenant Geiger and his arrival home is greatly anticipated. Once home, he joins back into the neighborhood life with gusto, sometimes being a civilian hero.

“Batty saw that Ben was weeping, tears dripping down his face.
‘He’s been worried about Nick,’ she said.”

“Lydia brought nick a fat handful of dandelions.
‘Lydia loves Nick,’ she said.”

“And here came Nick, sopping wet Nick, climbing into the bus . . .
‘Batty, I can’t let you go on, you know that right?’ “

And the romance. Tommy and Rosalind are in, shall we say, a difficult place. Jeffrey, Laurie-like, is becoming too romantic for Skye who Jo-like is not ready for it. And let me here and now state that if they Laurie and Jo-like do not end up together, I will be beyond devastated and the books will forevermore be ruined. Jane, being Janeish, gather tons of boys around her for, she says the purposes of story-writing. Even Ben has his love troubles.

” ‘So you’re not going to make him disappear like Rosalind did with Tommy?’ “

” ‘Any woman who’s loved a Geiger has been spoiled for other men.’ “

” ‘Notice, please, too that this calculator watch has a sky-blue wristband to match your sky-blue eyes. But not in a romantic way, just aesthetically, you understand.’
‘It had better be just aesthetically, because you promised not romance.’ “

“Nick whistled. ‘Maybe the twins like you.’ . . .
‘Repeat after me: ‘I’m sure you’re nice people, but I’m not interested in developing a relationship with you.’ “

There are plenty of happy endings.

“With that, the secret was released from its box, dissipated, confessed, its power stripped away.”

” ‘But maybe later you and I could talk?’
‘Maybe,’ said Rosalind, desperately trying to control her blush . . . His irresistible Geiger grin broke out.”

” ‘Jeffrey,’ said Batty. ‘I’m ready now. . .To sing.’ “

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