I am finally back after a bit of an unintentional blogging hiatus. We had a great trip but it was also exhausting. Then we had family visit us for a week. So we are finally feel like we are getting back into a routine and are not quite as tired all day long.
With all the travel and family time, I haven’t been reading as widely this month. But I am excited to get back into it and get blogging regularly again.
Today, I’m excited to shared my review of The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall. I finished this book and the finale of the series right before our Disney trip several weeks ago. I knew I would love this book before I even started it. I love this series and was so excited to get my hands on this one.
**Lots of spoilers in this review. I figure, it’s the 4th book in a series so I’m bound to give something away if you haven’t read them yet. Go read these books!**
- I was warned about the large time gap between this one and the previous books. So it didn’t phase me or even bother me. I love that we get inside Batty’s and Ben’s older heads. They are so fun to get to know, and I love their friendship.
- The characters in these books are so delightful because they are flawed. They feel like real people who make mistakes, assume incorrectly, say hurtful things but love each other and try to do better tomorrow. I love the Penderwick family!
- Potentially the funniest moment of this book is when Lydia throws her quesadilla at annoying Oliver. I love that moment and that Lydia is constantly reminded of it in the next book too. Haha!
- This book might be my favorite in the series. It’s so hard to choose!
The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall focuses on the coming of age story of Batty and the other younger Penderwick siblings. Goodreads summarizes, “Springtime is finally arriving on Gardam Street, and there are surprises in store for each member of the family. Some surprises are just wonderful, like neighbor Nick Geiger coming home from war. And some are ridiculous, like Batty’s new dog-walking business. Batty is saving up her dog-walking money for an extra-special surprise for her family, which she plans to present on her upcoming birthday. But when some unwelcome surprises make themselves known, the best-laid plans fall apart.”
“Some secrets buried away in boxes are peacefully forgotten, just as we hope they’ll be. But some refuse to stay in their boxes, popping out at the worst possible times. And then there are those…that linger and fester, gnawing away from the inside out.”
The Penderwicks in Spring
I love the focus on Batty, Ben, and a bit of Lydia in this novel. It’s so fun to see them grow up and develop personalities. For the first three books, Batty is so young and that’s endearing. But now she is older, I find her even more endearing. Her deep grief over Hound’s death (which is so sad to see–I’m not even a dog fan but that was heart breaking!). And her guilt over her mother’s death. I just wanted to reach out and hug her through the pages. I love how her friendship with Ben continues to blossom. Plus, they have the same MOPS traditions which is so fun!
While there is so much joyful Penderwick-ness in this novel, there is also a surprising amount of grief and sadness. I was so sad to see what Batty has to endure in this novel. She takes on a load of grief over Hound but also over her mother. And it isn’t fair or easy. Also, I was super annoyed with Skye for causing her heartache and for not loving Jeffrey. Those two are beginning to feel a lot like Jo March and Laurie, which is annoying too. Perhaps it’s because we know Batty so well now, after the first 3 books, that it’s hard to see her suffer so much. But after the darkness, she is able to find joy and peace in her life. And that makes the ending all the sweeter.
The storytelling is brilliant and fun. I love how simple the stories are–just about life and growing up. But they are so easy to get into and impossible to put down! I think these stories are as endearing as the first books’ stories. I enjoyed Batty’s dog walking business with ridiculous dogs, her music lessons, and the way Ben helps with dumping Oliver! I loved the moments when the whole family was together and we get to see glimpses of the older sisters growing up.
Another fantastic novel from Jeanne Birdsall! Delightful characters, endearing story line, and a lovely ending. Can’t recommend these highly enough!
Have you read the Penderwicks yet? What do you think?
Other favorite middle grade series?