The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, by Jeanne Birdsall, was published in 2008 by Alfred A Knopf. It is the sequel to The Penderwicks.
The Penderwick sisters are home on Gardam Street and ready for an adventure! But the adventure they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. Mr. Penderwick’s sister has decided it’s time for him to start dating—and the girls know that can only mean one thing: disaster. Enter the Save-Daddy Plan—a plot so brilliant, so bold, so funny, that only the Penderwick girls could have come up with it. It’s high jinks, big laughs, and loads of family warmth as the Penderwicks triumphantly return.
I didn’t like The Penderwicks on Gardam Street quite as much as I liked The Penderwicks, although there were certainly bright moments throughout the book that I thought were wonderful. I would have liked it a little bit better if it hadn’t used an obvious, cliché “single dad starts dating again and then falls in love with the next-door neighbor” plot and if the ending dialogue hadn’t been so cheesy, but even with that included, it was still a delightful read for the most part.
Some parts of it did drag, though, and I found some parts unnecessary to the book overall. I’m not sure if it was the absence of Jeffrey or the absence of summer-time joy, but Gardam Street lacks some charm and was tedious to read—although the inclusion of characters like Tommy and Nick and some of the other oddball moments helped to break up that tedious. In fact, I actually preferred the book when it wasn’t focusing so much on “real life issues” and was simply having a good time with some maybe-not-quite-realistic scenarios.
So, yes, while I did find The Penderwicks on Gardam Street to be a step down from The Penderwicks, I did still enjoy myself for the most part, though again I found the book a tad boring in places. But the crowning moment of the novel for me was Jane’s play, which was exactly the sort of sensationalized ham that a ten-year-old would write—oh, and the elaborate plot to steal their dad’s car battery. More of that, please.
Recommended Age Range: 10+
Genre: Realistic, Children’s
“How did it go?”
“It was fine, I guess.”
“Fine like he liked her?”
“No, fine like he didn’t, thank goodness. Tommy, I can’t help thinking about Anna’s father, and about that boy we met this summer—”
Tommy interrupted. “Cagney.”
“What?” Rosalind hadn’t meant Cagney. And now she realized that she’d never gotten around to telling Aunt Claire about him—and love—and heartache. All of that seemed so long ago now.
“Cagney the gardener, who was older than you and so cute, blah, blah, blah.”
“What do you mean, blah, blah, blah? I’ve barely mentioned him to you.”