MG Book Review: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

A sweet, funny story about four rambunctious sisters on summer vacation. The perfect read for those last days of summer vacation when you’re trying to eke out every last drop if it.

What writers can look for in this book:
1) A middle grade contemporary story with a classic, timeless feel. Not a crossover YA book, just classic MG at it’s best.
2) 4 separate sisters with 4 separate voices each of whom learn something about themselves through the story. I wasn’t sure all of them seemed exactly the ages they were meant to be but their age differences were well portrayed.
3) Spot-on sisterly spats and dialogue.
4) Mild, age appropriate boy interest

As I’m reading all these points, I’m realizing just how subtly sophisticated this novel is when it reads like a light, fun, super cute read. Wow.

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5 Responses to MG Book Review: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

  1. MG Book Review: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

  2. Giora says:


  3. Giora says:

    It’s impressive that the author can write four characters with four different voices. I found it challenging to assign a unique voice to each character in my two novels and stay with the same unique voice from start till the end. I read that you have three work in progress. Is any of them very close to the finish line? I lived on the top of Beacon Hill for a few months, strolling at Newbury Street every evening. Nice memories from Boston. Best wishes with all novels and consider writing your chats with your daugther into a picture book. If many readers will react to the chats like I did, it will be pulished well. (I don’t put my website to allow the comment to appear).

  4. amitha says:

    @Giora Thanks for the comment and questions! (Sorry the website thing didn’t work.) I find the voice thing very challenging as well, especially since many of my characters seem to have different aspects of my own personality.
    My YA historical fiction (technically my 2nd novel I guess) is finished and out on submission with my agent right now while we continue to revise my YA scifi (which is very close to done I hope). I have a complete version of Cloudreader written, but I think it needs some significant revision before I can send it to my agent to look at. That project is on the back burner for now as I have another book idea i might want to develop first!

    I continue to try to write a picture book–a few of them are inspired by my very silly daughter. But there is an art to writing the picture book that I think is going to take me a while to master.

    Good luck with your writing!

  5. Maeve says:

    Oooh, I love multiple perspective books. Must put it on the list

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