Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

Sequels are just hard. Especially when the first was so surprisingly charming. You can't do that twice. Not while people are watching, anyway.

I enjoyed this, if not quite as much as the first. Certainly kids who liked the first will like this one. I do love the way Birdsall captures everything I love (now, and as a child) about old-fashioned-sibling-adventure stories and brings them up to modern days. I'm sure I would have loved reading about characters who read the same books I did. Birdsall also does a great job of seamlessly weaving together the multiple perspectives.

My only quibbles are totally unfair ones. I loved that Mr. Penderwick's widower status was imply accepted; it wasn't a focus of the first book, and I wonder if the girls will be able to retain the freedom to keep having adventures. I wish that Mr. Penderwick and Iantha could have at least had a prolonged courtship. Perhaps Mr. Penderwick truly hated dating so much that he chose a quick remarriage to avoid it.
I also continue to have questions about how old Batty actually is. Is she two? Four? Somewhere between? It seems to fluctuate between chapters.

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