14. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
by Jeanne Birdsall
An absolutely charming tale of four sisters and their widowed father.
Appropriate for all ages!
Read aloud to my 10 year old
Middle Grade Fiction
The second in a series that will eventually have five, three are currently published, this book is a true gem! An absolute joy to read. Birdsall has this amazing ability to make you feel like she wrote this fifty years ago, yet something about is still springing forth with the yellow-green of new spring growth. Fantastic!
Every day my daughter and I would sit down and the time would just fly! She teased me that I would always save her read aloud for last, but it was true - it was my favorite or all the kids’ read alouds and was like the sweet cherry on top of our school day - or occasionally like the savored piece of chocolate at the end of a marathon. (Marathon runners probably don’t celebrate the end of a race with chocolate, but I can’t think of anything else that compares to a really long school day - maybe juggling in the middle of L.A. traffic at rush hour?!)
I didn’t keep track of quotes for this one (sad!) so I searched the web so I could have a few on record:
“Jane,” she said, climbing down from the chair. “Remember last year when I built that model wind tower for you and you wrote those poems for me?'”
“And you said you'd never switch homework assignments with me again.
For good reason. My teacher had a hard time believing I wrote Tra-la the joy of tulips blooming, Ha-ha the thrill of bumblebees zooming. I'm alive and I dance, I'm alive though death is always looming. When I finally convinced her that I had, she asked me if I needed to talk to the school counselor.”
“And I don't know if Batty's gotten over it yet,” said Skye.
Mr. Penderwick looked out the window to where Batty was playing vampires with Hound. Hound was on his back, trying to wiggle out of the black towel Batty had tied around his neck. Batty was leaping over Hound's water bowl, shrieking, “Blood, blood!”
“She looks all right,” he said.
“The referee told me this league has never had a brawl of that magnitude," said Mr. Penderwick after a long, painful silence. "Of course, at the time I was pretending to be a casual passerby and not a father at all.”
[The kitchen] was also messy--delightfully so, thought Jane--and it didn't look as though lots of cooking went on there. There was a laptop computer on the counter with duck stickers on it, the spice cabinet was full of Ben's toy trucks, and Jane couldn't spot a cookbook anywhere. This is the kitchen of a Thinker, she decided, and promised herself that she'd never bother with cooking, either.
Applause never does go on forever...