Reviews for Penderwicks on Gardam Street

Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
*Starred Review* The Penderwick sisters, who made a splash in their first eponymous novel (which won a  2005 National Book Award) return in another warm family story. An opening chapter, which might bring a tear to the eye, tells how the girls' mother died right after Batty's birth. Now, some four years later, Aunt Claire presents the girls' father with a letter from his late wife, telling him it's time to start dating. Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty beg to differ and come up with a harebrained scheme to thwart Mr. Penderwick. But the girls aren't just focused on their father. Rosalind has her own romantic entangelments; and Skye and Jane write compositions for each other, which leads to myriad problems. Meanwhile, little Batty has become enamored of the widow and her baby son who live next door. There's never much suspense about where all this is going, but things happen in such touching ways that the story is hard to resist. As in the previous book, Birdsall seems to get inspiration from books like Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family and the movie Meet Me in St. Louis--just the sort of cozy fare that's missing in today's mean-girl world. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Fall
This sequel finds life going along as it should--until Mr. Penderwick contemplates dating. Panicked, his daughters concoct a "Save-Daddy Plan." The solution to the dating dilemma may be obvious to readers from the outset, but no matter: Birdsall again delivers genuinely funny scenes and tender moments between father and daughters. The Penderwicks are fully fleshed-out characters who deserve a happily-ever-after ending. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2008 #4
This sequel to The Penderwicks (rev. 7/05) finds life going along just as it should for Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty, ages twelve, eleven, ten, and four, respectively. That is, until Aunt Claire comes visiting, bringing with her an old letter written by their late mother encouraging Mr. Penderwick to begin dating. The panicked girls concoct a "Save-Daddy Plan" to make sure they don't end up with -- shudder -- a stepmother. "Better a serpent than a stepmother," Euripides wrote, and who doesn't know that stepmothers are notoriously wicked? The Penderwick girls, steeped in story, certainly must. But the "Save-Daddy Plan" -- setting their father up with women he'll abhor -- isn't the only thing keeping the girls busy. Rosalind and football-crazy neighbor Tommy Geiger stumble toward romance. Skye strives to control her volatile temper on the soccer field. Jane and Skye swap homework assignments, with all of Wildwood Elementary caught up in the drama of their deceit. And Batty becomes fast friends with their new astrophysicist neighbor and her baby. The solution to the dating dilemma may be obvious to readers from the outset, but no matter: Birdsall again delivers genuinely funny scenes and tender moments between father and daughters. Stepmothers are a stock story device, but the Penderwicks are fully fleshed-out characters who deserve a happily-ever-after ending. That's exactly what they get -- and so do we. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2008 March #2
This return to the Cameron, Mass., cul-de-sac home of the Penderwicks--romantic seventh-grader Rosalind, temperamental sixth-grader Skye, dramatic fifth-grader Jane, four-year-old Batty, and their widowed college-professor father, Martin, whom readers met in Birdsall's 2005 National Book Award-winning novel--begins with a visit from his sister, the girls' affable Aunt Claire. She has brought a pale blue envelope entrusted to her by their beloved mother years earlier; it contains a deathbed note in which Elizabeth Penderwick encourages her husband to date again. The girls, horrified, formulate a "Save Daddy Plan," but they are, of course, doomed to failure. While observant readers will deduce the denouement on page 13, Batty makes it perfectly plain a little further along: "I say Daddy should date the [sweet, young, widowed, also-an-academic] lady next door, and then I could play with her baby." Out of the mouths of babes . . . . The rest of the story is a pleasant ramble of a read, replete with well-intentioned scheming, adolescent crushes, horrible homework disasters, soccer, secrets, school dances and lots and lots of literary allusion (and yes, a wedding). (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2008 April #4

This sequel to Birdsall's National Book Award winner, The Penderwicks , has even more charm than the original. The prologue hits the only maudlin note, flashing back to Mrs. Penderwick on her deathbed as she instructs her husband's sister, Claire, to make sure he finds love again after sufficient mourning. The Penderwick sisters--Rosalind, Jane, Skye and Batty--learn of this valediction four years later when Aunt Claire begins arranging blind dates. An emergency MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) hatches the Save Daddy plan, in which the girls orchestrate dates so dreadful their father will see widowed life is best. Neighbors on Gardam Street include football-playing brothers Nick and Tommy (the latter plays Tracy to Rosalind's Hepburn), and two newcomers: a widowed professor and her toddler baby. Middle sisters Jane and Skye, who share a room but nothing else, steal the show by swapping homework assignments with hilariously catastrophic results. It's sheer pleasure to spend time with these exquisitely drawn characters, girls so real that readers will feel the wind through their hair as they power down the soccer field. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 March

Gr 4-8-- The Penderwick sisters are back. Their Aunt Claire has come for a visit, bringing with her a letter from their late mother that encourages their father to date, and an immediate crisis ensues, as the girls assume that this is the first step on the treacherous road to having a stepmother. After frantic consultation, they implement the "Save Daddy" plan, designed to set him up with perfectly dreadful women so that he will not want to date again. Numerous subplots add to the domestic drama. Skye struggles with her temper on the soccer field. Rosalind and neighbor Tommy experience a frustrated romance. Skye and Jane switch homework assignments, leading to a school performance of Jane's Aztec drama, with everyone thinking that it was penned by Skye. While the solution to the dating dilemma can be seen from the beginning, the sisters are so caught up in their drama that they can't see who's right next door. Laugh-out-loud moments abound and the humor comes naturally from the characters and situations. Especially funny is the scene in which the youngest Penderwick hides in the car hoping to spy on one of her father's dates. Like much of the book itself, this scene resolves itself in a tender moment between father and daughter. This is a book to cherish and to hold close like a warm, cuddly blanket that you draw around yourself to keep out the cold.--Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ

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