In The Penderwicks in Spring, Batty Penderwick is in the fifth grade and has just discovered she can sing! She quickly comes up with a way to surprise her family with the exciting news and sets to work on the plan. But when Batty overhears something she shouldn’t have she retreats to her closet and hides within her own broken heart. How is the Penderwick family going to manage to make it through this icy storm and thaw this kind of hurt?
It’s always risky business picking up a sequel. This is true, I have found, regardless of the success and/or fabulousness of previous books in the series. And wouldn’t you agree that it’s quadruply true for the fourth book in an already superb series?
Well. You needn’t worry about any risk on picking up The Penderwicks in Spring. The characters have shifted a bit, it’s true. Rosalind is off to college, and Jane and Skye are in high school doing high school things. Mostly, the three of them remain on the peripheral of the story. And let’s not forget Lydia, the newest Penderwick; age two.
The Penderwicks in Spring is Batty’s story, though. And a little bit of Ben, too.
Spring can’t get to Gardam street soon enough. The calendar says it’s here, but the snow is holding on and seems to be keeping everything frozen. With spring comes Nick Geiger’s return home from Afghanistan. And also Rosalind’s return from college. And Batty – now that she has learned to sing – has planned a special surprise for Skye’s birthday party, where Jeffrey has promised to make an appearance.
But first, Batty is going to need singing lessons. So she sets off to start a business and soon finds herself walking a couple of dogs in the neighborhood. Things are going good. The plan is going as planned.
But Batty overhears a conversation that wasn’t intended for her ears, and there is no unhearing it. Her entire world comes crashing down around her.
I’m not going to tell you what happens next. You’ll have to read the story for that. But I am going to tell you that Jeanne Birdsall has such a knack for turning the ordinary, everyday life of a normal, ordinary, everyday family into such an extraordinary story. Her characters come to life with such vividness and each with his or her own distinctness that it’s hard to remember that these people are, in fact, fiction.
Perhaps that’s why Birdsall’s series is so appealing. When the Penderwick family bleeds, our own heart bleeds with it. And when their heart heals and grows just a bit bigger in the process? Well, ours is right there, swelling with love. Not just for the Penderwick family, but for families everywhere that are just like it. Families like our own.
What You Need to Know
- Role Models/Authority Figures – Imperfect parents who parent with love
- Violence – Nah
- Language – Nope
- Sexual Content – Only crushes
- Consumerism – Nope
- Drinking/Smoking/Drugs –
- Religion – None
- Other –
- Neat stuff –