The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall:
The Bachsters and I finished The Penderwicks on Gardam Street just last night, so I figured this would be the best time to write about it, while it's still fresh in my mind. This is the second in the Pendewick series by Jeanne Birdsall (here's the link to the Book Nook post on the first book). So far, we've really enjoyed this series and have reserved the third book at the library.
In the second book, the four Penderwick sisters (Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty) concoct a Save-Daddy-Plan in response to their Aunt Claire's insistence that their widowed father start dating (which was the wish of their mother before she died). The girls plot to set him up on dates with really horrible (but not too horrible) women so that he will see how awful the dating scene is and they'll never have to face the prospect of a stepmother. Amidst all this plotting, the girls find themselves in situations like fainting due to stage fright, hiding out in Daddy's car while he's on his way to a lunch date (with none other than Marianne Dashwood), extracting a car battery, foiling a computer thief, realizing your new life's ambition and kissing a boy (on the cheek!).
Just as with the first book, the characters are a delight. Here, we come to see them on their home turf, which provides more insights into the characters. Skye and Jane share a room, Skye's side pristine and Jane's an utter mess; Rosalind is in charge often, and even picks up Batty from daycare; Batty insists Rosalind read her a bedtime story each night because she's the best at it - usually it's a story about their mother.
In regards to their mother, there are flashbacks to scenes with her, and I've got to admit, my eyes started tearing up with just about every reference to her or scene with her in it. As a Mom, it's just unthinkable to not be with your family - ever. Yet, here the Penderwick sisters and father must carry on without her. It tugged at my heartstrings every time, and I had to rush to find a box of tissues at the end.
So, while I was asking myself, could I be so selfless as Elizabeth Penderwick was?, I think my oldest DD was asking herself, could I pull out a car battery? Our other DD was probably asking herself - could I star in a play? As for Little Dude, he was probably asking - when is everyone going to leave my room so that I can go to sleep? (in his defense, it is a lengthy book). It's a book we all enjoyed, and are all looking forward to book #3!