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Genre: children's books, Genre: Middle Grade, Publisher: Knopf, Publisher: Random House, Series: book review

Book Review: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette
by Jeanne Birdsall
9780375858512, $16.99, Knopf (Random House)
Age appropriate: Read-aloud 4+, read-alone 8+

This third book in the Penderwicks series picks up right where book two, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, leaves off. Mr. Penderwick, his new wife, and baby Ben are in England for the honeymoon. Rosalind is taking her first vacation away from the family, going to the New Jersey shore with her best friend. That leaves Skye as OAP (oldest available Penderwick) in charge of Jane, Batty, Hound, and Jeffrey as they head to Maine with Aunt Claire.

Maine, while magical with its cottage next to the beach complete with sleeping porch, woods with moose, and some new potential friends, is also fraught with complications when Aunt Claire sprains her ankle, Jane decides to conduct Love Surveys as part of her research for her next Sabrina Starr book, and Batty takes an interest in music. Everyone knows Penderwicks are not musical, but with the support of Jeffrey and the next door neighbor musician, Alec, Batty is receiving lots of encouragement. No one is encouraging Jane in her survey, but that’s not stopping her, especially when there’s an intriguing, skateboarding new boy named Dominic in the neighborhood. Has Jane become the next Penderwick to fall in love?

Meanwhile, Skye is trying to avoid Rosalind’s calls so Rosalind can have a worry-free vacation, but that means Skye is worrying overtime. Convinced Batty is about to blow up or drown or both, Skye becomes increasingly paranoid and insists Batty wear an orange life jacket at all times. A mini-coup might be necessary, but when Jeffrey’s step-father Dexter shows up to yank Jeffrey back home, everyone knows who to turn to in a crisis. Skye steps up as OAP, sister, and friend, standing firm, offering support, and defending the honor of those she loves. With that much love in a family to give, it’s no surprise the Penderwick family leaves Point Mouette with a few more honorary Penderwicks than when they arrived.

A true treasure of an adventure, Jeanne Birdsall is just beginning to hit her stride as a writer; I can hardly wait for adventures four and five.

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