I just finished up the most recent Penderwick book, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall. If you don’t know the Penderwicks, they are a family of four girls who look out for one another, in part because their mother died when they were young. Each girl has a different strong personality, but they all support and love one another through various family adventures. This latest book is the third in the series. All the books have an old-fashioned, timeless feel about them. They remind one much more of Eleanor Estes’s The Moffats or Elizabeth Enright’s Melendy series than anything coming out these days. The books have a similar target age as well, for middle grades readers, though I hear they work nicely as read alouds (we intend to read the first one to Mushroom and BalletBoy soon as a break in our trail of older books, and I think they will enjoy it greatly).
I’m enamored with the whole series, and this volume was no exception. This book takes us back to a summer setting, a year after the first volume. The girls lose their motherly oldest sister to a separate vacation, while they (along with their honorary brother, Jeffery) go off with their aunt to Maine. Skye must struggle with being the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick, that is), Jane has her first crush on a boy while trying to write a novel about love, Batty discovers a talent for music, and Jeffrey continues to have to deal with his difficult family. The story lagged a little in the middle for me, but it’s a minor quibble. Overall, I enjoyed it greatly. The language and the way the perspective of the books flows from one Penderwick to the next is as enjoyable as always.