Ah, summertime and the living is easy--even if it's off to a rough start--in this sprightly audio edition of Birdsall's debut novel, which won the National Book Award. The Penderwick family, consisting of four daughters, their widower dad and family pet Hound, are at a loss when the cottage they routinely rent on Cape Cod each summer is sold. They luck into a new situation, however, staying at a cottage on the grounds of a mansion in the Berkshires, and their adventurous holiday provides the plot here. Mrs. Tifton, owner of the manse is rather chilly to the Penderwick clan, but her son Jeffrey proves to be an ideal playmate. Listeners fond of gentle stories of closely-knit families and innocent fun will flock to this recording. Denaker is perfect in the role of kindly narrator, though she's less so in the sometimes grating voices of little sister Batty and Latin-spouting Mr. Penderwick. Nonetheless, her performance captures the appealing, timeless nature of the tale. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)[Page 64]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 4-6 -In Jeanne Birdsall's humorous novel (Knopf, 2005), four motherless sisters--Rosalind, 12, Skye, 11, Jane, 10, and Batty, 4--their absentminded professor dad, and the family dog share a summer retreat on the Massachusetts estate of Arundel. Owned by the frosty Mrs. Tifton and her lonely son, Jeffrey, Arundel's pretentious mistress treats the oddly-matched Penderwick sisters and their doting father as social misfits. Feisty Skye and sensitive Jeffrey become best friends, drawing the reluctant Mrs. Tifton and the entire Penderwick clan into a series of hilarious misadventures, including runaway pets, an encounter with a bull, and a first crush. The sisters are determined to help Jeffrey escape being sent to the Pencey Military Academy, "Where boys become men and men become soldiers." Susan Denaker's gentle narration of this 2005 National Book Award winner perfectly captures the subtle humor and charm of each character. Fans of Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family or Maud Hart's Betsy-Tacy novels will love this updated version of a comfortable childhood adventure. Just the ticket for an extended family car trip.-Celeste Steward, Alameda County Library, Fremont, CA[Page 54]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.