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Review: The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Cover of The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
4 Stars

Quite a few years have passed since we last checked in with the Penderwicks. Rosalind is now a freshman in college, Skye is a high school senior, Jane's driving, Batty's in fifth grade, Ben's in second, and there's a new sister, Lydia, who's only two. The focus has shifted to the younger Penderwick siblings, especially Batty. Batty's not having such a great spring. She lost someone important to her over the winter, and she feels responsible. Then she overhears a conversation between Skye and Jeffrey that leaves her questioning everything she knew about her family, and especially her mother's death.

This book got a little dark! I was surprised! The Penderwicks have always had their childhood troubles but as an adult listening, they don't seem insurmountable to me. My heart ached for Batty now. Poor thing. She's always been the baby of the family, so I guess I'm used to thinking of her that way. I had a hard time thinking of her as a big ten-year-old. Little four-year-old Batty! With her butterfly wings! I was upset by the loss she'd experienced and it didn't get better from there. Even their beloved neighbor, Nick, has gone off to war. These are things that kids are experiencing nowadays, it just took me by surprise in a series that's been fairly light-hearted to this point.

That said, it is still the Penderwicks and all does come right in the end. Whew! It was so nice to see the girls a little older. They're still very much themselves. It felt like I was checking in with some dear friends. I laughed and cheered and mourned with them, as you should in the very best books.

As always, Susan Denaker's narration is perfect.

I won't say more since this is getting pretty late in the series and I don't want to give away more spoilers. If you haven't read this charming series, correct that now. I recommend it as a modern classic.

Read or listen to an excerpt.

My reviews of the first book, The Penderwicks, the second book, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, and the third book, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette.

Find author Jeanne Birdsall on her website.

Buy The Penderwicks in Spring at

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop's, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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