Saturday, December 20, 2014


Sunrise today was at 7:54, sunrise will be at 4:20.  This is a photo from the Bainbridge Island side of my commute, looking back towards Seattle, taken a couple of weeks ago, just as the sun rose.  Today, well, tomorrow, I'll get off the ferry and the sun will be much farther south, behind the bit of land off to the right, and I'll already be at work before the rises.  Happy Solstice!  Monday morning, we'll have an extra second of daylight.

When the nights are so long, when you need to feel a little less lonely or need a little more light in your life, stories can help.  And......Ta DAH:

The Penderwicks are coming, the Penderwicks are coming!  Oh, how I have missed them.  It’s been a long couple of years between books in this great series about the Penderwick sisters and their little brother, Ben, and the assorted animals that live with them. These books are like walking into a long awaited hug from old friends.

I just finished Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall, the penultimate book in the series, and I am already sad that there is only one more to come, probably in two years.  WHY DO I NOT SAVE THINGS FOR LATER!!!   This book came in the mail and I read it that day!!!  It was like chocolate – I couldn’t save it for later, I kept thinking about it so I swallowed it all in one sitting.  Now I have to wait for SOOOOO long for the next one!

If you haven’t read this series for younger readers, you are in for such a treat.  They are the perfect binge books for a rainy day…or a sunny one.  Or a sick day.  Well, okay, they are good anytime.  The Penderwicks are a loyal and honorable family, funny and feisty, filled with all the foibles any group with 4 girls, a dog and a rabbit would have.

They are the perfect books to insist on sharing with younger readers, mostly so the adults can actually finish them!  A lot of moms tell me they start reading them aloud and then the kids take them because they can’t stand to wait to see what happens next.  The adults have to sneak them out of backpacks and slide them out from under pillows so THEY can read them. 

The books take place in current day but the kids play outside and have many adventures, only stopping in to use a computer to check on a fact or to write school papers. They feel very old-fashioned in that respect: lots of playing outside, reading, having important discussions with family and friends. It's not all fairies and light, though: Mom died just after Batty, the youngest Penderwick, the one with wings in the first book, was born, Dad is a little lonely and works a lot, they aren't wealthy.  But, they have each other to play with and are eager to make friends, to add more fun to their lives.  The oldest Penderwick, Rosalind, is 12 when the series begins and is just beginning to notice boys which allows the series accessibility to an older reader. 

The girls are older now, in Penderwicks in Spring.  Batty is in 4th grade, Ben is in 2nd and newest Penderwick, Lydia, is just about two.  Parents are happy, kids are okay, some are in college, the Geiger boys are coming home, Ben is all about digging up rocks, Jeffrey's coming home for Batty's birthday, Lydia just wants to be wherever Ben is, and Batty has started a dog walking business.  There are some bouncy rough spots in the lives in the houses on Gardam Street, but mostly everything is good, until Batty accidentally hears Skye spilling a secret that she’s been holding forever. 

If you loved Noel Streatfield, or E. Nesbit's The Railway Children, you and your kids will love the Penderwicks, too. 

I can’t wait to start sharing this book with everyone!  Penderwicks in Spring will be available March 24, 2015.  $16.99.  Random House.  Ages:  Everyone!

Give your local bookshop a call to reserve your copies now.   Penderwicks in Spring will be out the first Tuesday after the Spring Equinox, also a perfect time to read these lovely books.

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