Jeanne Birdsall

Premiere date: April 17, 2010

This April, our guest is Jeanne Birdsall, author of The Penderwicks and its sequel, The Penderwicks of Gardam Street.

In The Penderwicks, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty, their father and their dog are off to a rented summer cottage on Arundel, a very grand country estate. The sisters’ exploration of the grounds soon leads them to Jeffrey, the only son of Arundel’s snooty owner, Mrs. Tifton. Sadly, Jeffrey’s summer is set to end with admission into a military academy, despite his dearest wish to go to music school. The Penderwicks quickly befriend him and try their best to help him escape his fate.

In the much-anticipated second book in the series The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, the family has returned home and resumed their active, loud, chaotic, Penderwick way of life. The girls are horrified when Aunt Claire announces that after 4 years of widowerhood, it’s time for Mr. Penderwick to begin dating again. They launch the “Save Daddy Plan” which involves setting their father up with the most horrible women they can find.

The plots sound simple, but these books are far from it. They are rich with subplots, adventures, and escapades. Each sister has so much character and individuality that you instantly feel yourself being folded into this large family, experiencing all the fun, frustrations, love, tears, camaraderie, rivalry, and quirkiness that is Penderwick.   

Both books were New York Times bestsellers and multiple award winners. The Penderwicks won the National Book Award in 2005. In 2009, it was ONE of just two books that the First Family stuffed into children’s backpacks for the United We Serve program.