Monday, January 26, 2009

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

I’ve always wanted a sister. Having a sister meant double the wardrobe and slumber parties every night of the week. Not that growing up with a brother was completely awful. He played his fair share of Barbies and was my “student” every time I played school in the garage. He never even put up a fight when I ordered him to write I will not pick my nose and wipe it on my desk 50 times on the chalkboard. (Thanks, Hayden—you’re the best!) But sharing clothes was never an option and I would have died before sharing a secret with a boy. Those are things reserved for sisters. The Penderwicks is a book about sisters. It’s the kind of book where you want to say goodbye to your family and jump right in and become a part of theirs.
Each of the four Penderwick sisters is wonderfully unique and likeable. There's Rosalind, the oldest of the four and a mother-figure to her younger sisters; hot-tempered Skye, dreamy Jane-an aspiring author; and shy Batty, the baby of the family who doesn't leave the house without her wings. Mr. Penderwick is a widow who takes his daughters on a summer trip to the Berkshire Mountains, where they rent a cottage at the back of an enormous mansion. The mansion belongs to Mrs. Tifton, an uptight, high-heel wearing snob who reminds me of Cruella DeVille (minus the streaked 'do). Mrs. Tifton has a son, Jeffrey, who immediately befriends the adventure-loving Penderwick girls, much to his mother's chagrin.
The plot of the story involves the girls' attempts to keep Jeffrey from being sent to military school and dodging Mrs. Tifton's efforts to keep the girls away from Jeffrey. The ending leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling and a strong yearning for mischief. (Yes, I am 27 years old and still found myself plotting a way to jump through hedges and chase bulls).
Even if you don't want a sister or truly despise the one you have, you'll still find yourself wanting to be a part of the Penderwick clan.
Top five reasons I want to be a Penderwick:
5.) They use cool acronyms like MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) and OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick)
4.) Their dad lets them get away with ANYTHING. Then he gives them a hug and a kiss on the head and tells them to "stay out of trouble" with an endearing look on his face. Honestly. Whose dad does that??
3.) The oldest Penderwick bakes a mean batch of brownies.
2.) They keep each other's secrets.
1.) Four sisters? That's quadruple the wardrobe!
Recipe to Read By: Rosalind Penderwick's Brownies
If I were a Penderwick sister I definitely would want to be Rosalind. She has a heart of gold and more patience than I ever had at the age of 12. As the oldest Penderwick, she often bakes brownies for her doting father and younger sisters. However, as Rosalind, I would know better than to ask Skye to keep an eye on anything in the oven. She'll let them burn and then blame it on me. That might cause me to lose my temper, which is very un-Rosalind-like. Hmm. Maybe I should be Skye Penderwick...Or write mystery novels like Jane...Or talk to dogs like Batty...
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Baking Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
COMBINE granulated sugar, butter and water in large bowl.
Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in medium bowl; stir into sugar mixture.
Stir in nuts.
Spread into prepared baking pan.
BAKE for 18 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.
Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Cut into bars.
*Recipe courtesy of Nestle


  1. Someday I hope a family like the Penderwick's move in next door and the girls will come visit in the tree house!!!

  2. I read the Penderwicks and after I read the first page I could not stop flipping the pages of this book! This Sweet Read is good for anyone any age.

  3. Thats so funny that you used to play school in the garodge with your brother. I read alot over the summer. I will miss you in 5th grade. Oh, and i loved the book THE DOLL HOUSE MURDURERS.
    awsome alana