Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

Jeanne Birdsall
Fiction  Series
For ages 8 to 12
Random House, 2008   ISBN: 978-0375840906

Three years ago, soon after the youngest Penderwick sister was born, Elizabeth Penderwick lost her battle with cancer. Since then, Rosalind, Jane, Skye, and Batty have grown up with the help of their father and their Aunt Claire. At times, it has been hard being without a mother, but mostly they have had happy days full of love, adventures, and laughter.

Then one day Aunt Claire comes over and their happy peaceful existence is thrown into disarray. Aunt Claire gives Mr. Penderwick a letter that his wife wrote to him before she died. In the letter, she asks her husband not to give up on love. She asks him to start dating again, and she hopes that he will find someone who will make him happy. When they read Elizabeth’s words, the sisters and Mr. Penderwick are appalled. None of them think that Mr. Penderwick should start dating, but Aunt Claire makes it clear that her brother should follow his late wife’s wishes.

Very reluctantly, Mr. Penderick goes on a blind date that Aunt Claire arranges, and it is a nightmare. Eager to make sure that he doesn’t find someone nice, his daughters and their friend set up another date with a woman who is about as unsuitable as a person can get. Doggedly they work on their “Save-Daddy Plan” while they try to deal with their own troubles. It never occurs to them that the solution to their problem might, quite literally, be right next door.

This warm, funny, and beautifully crafted book will delight readers who enjoyed the first (and award winning) Penderwick title. Once again, readers will get to enjoy a story that is a perfect balance of humor, adventure, misadventure, and romance. It is going to be interesting to see what the Penderwick sisters do next.