I am so, so excited to be a part of this tour. The Penderwicks series my Jeanne Birdsall is one of my favourite children’s series ever! I will one day put up a post describing the significance of these stories to me, but for now let’s stick to my review!
Today I will be presenting to you my thoughts on the long awaited finale of this series! (I waited three whole years for this!) Make sure you head to the end of the post for a chance to win a copy! It is US only, but I do believe there are a few Penderwicks fans in my audience!
The Penderwicks at Last by Jeanne Birdsall
The finale you’ve all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless
installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall!
Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures–these are the things that have shaped Lydia’s journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring.
Now it’s summertime, and eleven-year- old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college.
This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest
sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding.
Bursting with heart and brimming with charm, this is a joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best. And oh my MOPS– Meeting of Penderwick Siblings– does Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks at Last crescendo to one perfect Penderwick finale.
*Thank you, Penguin Random House CA for providing me with a copy. All opinions are my own*
This final book revolves around the youngest Penderwick sister, Lydia, who had a minor role in the previous novel, The Penderwicks in Spring. Despite this book being about a new character, we are taken back to the setting of book one and even though much has changed, including the older Penderwick sisters, there is still a lot of fun to be had!
What I Liked:
Characters: The characters were the most important reason why this series means so much to me. In this book we follow only one sister, but the other Penderwick personalities were definitely present despite being more background characters!
Lydia: Lydia was a spark of pure delight (though don’t tell her I said that because she might argue against it XD). As the youngest of the Penderwick family, this was Lydia’s first trip to Arundel and after hearing all the incredible stories that her sisters told, she was excited to see the actual estate herself. Lydia was quite charming, she was a dancer and found a reason to bounce and twirl and step, whatever the occasion. Contrary to the sassy attitude she evoked as a toddler, the 11 year-old Lydia was quite curious and always found the best in people. She, like all her siblings, had a distinct personality. She was a dancer, free-spirited and quite imaginative, but also stubborn!
Alice: Alice was also quite fun to follow. Much to Lydia’s delight, they became fast friends on this summer vacation and she showed Lydia all the secrets of the estate. Alice herself was also very funny and blunt. Her tendency to say exactly what is on her mind was hilarious and I loved her competitiveness with her brother, Jack. Although we don’t get to exactly walk in her perspective, she always added more humour and mischief to the scene.
While I wouldn’t say that Birdsall has a purple/flowry prose, she does have a way with words. She knows how to make me feel wonder as I’m reading about the adventures that Lydia is having. But I think where she really wins with me is that she gives everything a personality. She most certainly gives them to humans, but also to the creatures and animals surrounding the characters. There is always, always a dog personality on scene and in this book comes a sassy chicken. I’d like to say that Jeanne Birdsall’s writing is pure joy put in words!
Bringing Back the Old:
Since this book didn’t star any of the original Penderwick sisters, I really enjoyed every moment when Jeanne would remind us of those times. Since she used the same setting from the first book, it was really nostalgic visiting the old gardens where the sisters had had so many adventures before. This was–of course–Lydia’s story and her experience in Arundel is slightly different. However, despite the fifteen year distance between book one and this book, readers will get to see many familiar faces and revisit many familiar places!
Before reading the ending, I knew that Jeanne was going to do something special. She wasn’t exactly going to leave it open (which it is, but also not), but she wasn’t just going to say this is the end. So when I did read the ending, my heart burst. Like it literally burst. She 100% did THAT. It might not even be something many readers notice, but I did and JEANNE, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I’ll leave a hint for those who don’t catch it after reading it, so please remember: the tunnel.
Honourable mention: Not only does Jeanne throw in many Narnia references, which fulfilled my little fangirl heart, she also has one character travelling to Canada! So you know Patriotic-Rendz came out and was squealing with glee!
What I Disliked:
I am going to knock off 0.5 and I’m not 100% sure why. It was just something I couldn’t fully grasp with this story. I laughed, I teared up a bit, it had everything, but maybe it’s the speed to the finish. Everything moves so quickly (and I’m complaining because I really would have liked to read about the wedding XD).
Overall, I am overjoyed. This truly was a spectacular finale to one of my favourite series. It had all the right humour, the best personalities, the touch of nostalgia and the bittersweet knowledge that this is the end. I absolutely adored this series and this final installment is cherry on top!
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars (It’s really a 5….I’m being picky!)
Recommend: I WILL SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOF TOPS. IF YOU LOVE SIBLING RELATIONSHIPS, ANIMALS AND ADORABLE FAMILIES THEN READ THESE BOOKS!
Jeanne Birdsall grew up in the suburbs west of Philadelphia, where she attended wonderful public schools. Jeanne had lots of great teachers, but her favorites were: Mrs. Corkhill, sixth grade, who encouraged her intellectual curiosity; Mr. Tremonte, eighth grade algebra, who taught Jeanne to love and respect math; and Miss Basehore, second and fourth year Latin, to whom Jeanne (and Mr. Penderwick) will be forever grateful.
Although she first decided to become a writer when she was ten years old, it took Jeanne until she was forty-one to get started. In the years in between, Jeanne had many strange jobs to support herself, and also worked hard as a photographer, the kind that makes art. Some of Jeanne’s photographs are included in the permanent collections of museums, including the Smithsonian and the Philadelphia Art Museum. Her work can be seen in several galleries, including the R. Michelson Galleries in western Massachusetts.
Jeanne’s home now is with her husband in Northampton, Massachusetts. Their house is old and comfortable, full of unruly animals, and surrounded by gardens.
– 3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST
– US Only
Follow the Tour Schedule:
5/7/2018- Bri’s Book Nook– Review
5/8/2018- Christen Krumm– Review
5/9/2018- RhythmicBooktrovert– Review
5/10/2018- Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers– Review
5/11/2018- Reading with Rendz– Review (You are here!)
Let me know what you think! Have you read any Penderwicks books before? Which book was your favourite? How excited are you to read the finale? What sibling-hood would you love to be a part of?