If you have daughters, you likely know all about The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. And its three sequels.
But if, like me, you only have boys at home, you may have missed this gem. The Penderwicks is sort of a modern-day Little Women about four sisters who take a summer vacation with their father to a cottage on the grounds of the Arundel estate in the Berkshires. There, they make friends with the son of the estate’s owner and have all manner of adventures.
This book has oodles of old-fashioned charm. A large part of the fun is getting to know the sisters, practical Rosalind (age 12), feisty Skye (age 11), imaginative Jane (age 10), and shy Batty (age 4), and their many traditions and family rules. (For example, the OAP–or Oldest Available Penderwick–is responsible for the younger ones.) I’m sure that if I’d read this book as a child, my sister and I would have played Penderwicks with the sisters next door.