Monday, May 2, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday -- The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

Welcome to all my new followers!  Glad you're here.  And now on to today's MMGM: 

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall (Knopf,  May 10, 2011, for ages 8 to 12)

Source: advance reader's copy from publisher. 

Synopsis: It's summertime, and while Dad, Iantha and little Ben are in England, the girls (along with their friend Jeffrey) are heading for a cottage in Maine with Aunt Claire.  All the girls, that is, except Rosalind (the oldest), who's going to New Jersey with a friend.  It will be the first time the Penderwicks have been split up.  Will Skye be able to handle being OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick)?  Will she remember Rosalind's careful instructions about Batty?  Will she be able to prevent disaster?

Why I liked it:  Jeanne Birdsall is truly in touch with her own childhood.  She's excellent at getting inside girls' heads, from the oldest to the youngest, even though it's written in third person.  Also, this third volume of the series takes place in Maine and I love Maine! 

The Penderwicks may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I find these books charming.  Each one has a warm, old-fashioned quality.  Nobody's texting or using a computer.  They're outdoors and they're interacting.  They're playing soccer or walking to the park or climbing on rocks.  They meet a new neighbor who's a musician like Jeffrey.  Jane tries to write a book about falling in love.  Skye tries to keep everyone from getting hurt.  Batty learns she has musical talent.

It helps if you've read the first two Penderwicks books, but it's not essential. This volume concentrates on Skye and, to a lesser extent, Jane.  Rosalind gets the first and last chapters. But don't worry: Batty has her moment in the spotlight and it's a fun one.  And their friend Jeffrey plays an important role.  There's a coincidence involving Jeffrey which is a bit hard to believe, but it certainly didn't ruin the book for me.

All in all, a fun read and a lovely book for summer.

What do you think?  Have you read any of The Penderwicks?  Do you like them or not?

Have you read any other marvelous middle grade books this week?

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday is the brainchild of Shannon Whitney Messenger.

Other regulars:

Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Myrna Foster at The Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Brooke Favero at Somewhere in the Middle
Ben Langhinrichs at My Comfy Chair
Deb Marshall at Just Deb
Ally Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy

Check out these other MMGM posts:
Anita Laydon Miller
Natalie Aguirre at Literary Rambles 
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau


  1. I liked the Penderwicks, but I cannot sell middle school students on them at all. Some of my students read them in elementary school, so perhaps they are more popular there. These books remind me of Elizabeth Enright and The Saturdays, which I adored.

  2. I haven't read these. But sounds good!

  3. Surprisingly, it was my son who turned us on to the first Penderwicks book. His teacher read it out loud in third grade and he insisted we had to buy it. I read it out loud to my family and we all enjoyed it. I haven't read the second or third books, though.

  4. Lucky you! I love this series. Thanks for sharing what you thought of the latest, Joanne!

  5. I have not read any of The Penderwicks, but my son has (and liked them!). He's older now and may not be interested, but you've hooked me! Thank you.

  6. Great MMGM pick, Joanne! LOVE the Penderwicks. :-)

  7. I'll have to check these out for my girls for their summer reading list. Would you recommend starting with the first even though they are not dependant on one another?

  8. dependent I mean. ack, I hate fast typing.

  9. Thanks, everyone.

    Ms Yingling: that's not surprising; I could see the Penderwicks appealing to the young side of the 8 to 12 range, and that's elementary school.

    Terry: Thanks!

    Sherrie: that's great about your son convincing you to buy the first one.

    Deb: thanks! Booksellers are lucky.

    Barbara: another mom with a son who liked The Penderwicks. Cool! I'll have to remember they're not just girl books.

    Shannon: thanks!

    Brooke: no worries bout typos in comments. And I would recommend starting with the first.

  10. I enjoyed the first book in the Penderwicks series. I read it when it first came out and met Jeanne Birdsall and a book fair. She is such a nice person. Thanks for the review.

  11. Hi Natalie. Oh, you're so lucky to have met Jeanne Birdsall! That's cool. Glad you enjoyed the first book. Thanks.

  12. I haven't read any of these yet. Thanks for the review!

  13. I adore the covers of these books. I love that there exists a publisher who's not afraid of a cover design that doesn't follow a current trend--especially because I'm really tired of some of the current trends :)

    I've never read this series, but they sound like great summer reads!

  14. I love the Penderwicks and am so excited there's a new one! They ring so true and have a timeless quality.

  15. Stephanie, good point about the covers. They're very retro, but I like them.

    Welcome, Sarah. Yes, you're right. They do have a timeless air.


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