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The Penderwicks: 11/30/18
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbit, and Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall is the start of the Penderwicks series. I read The Penderwicks in Spring, the fourth book, for the Cybils a couple years back. Feeling that I was missing some things for a lack of context, I've decided to go back and read the series in order.
The series opens with the Penderwicks heading to a summer home they've rented called Arundel. There's the Latin language loving dad and his daughters: Rosalind (age 12), Skye (age 11), Jane (age 10), and Batty (age 4). Their mother died of cancer shortly after giving birth to Batty.
The home they are renting is owned by Mrs. Tifton who has a son about the age of the oldest girls. He's rather lonely at the house. Mrs. Tifton is very formal and has a boyfriend who is just as stuffy. The Penderwick girls are just the distraction he needs.
While there is a plot about the girls' friendship with Jeffrey, the book is pretty episodic. These are small adventures taken over the course of a summer holiday away from home.
In terms of the road narrative project, the first Penderwicks novel comes in low on the spectrum at a 33CC33 (family, uhoria, blue highway). The family is the Penderwicks. The blue highway takes them to their summer home. These two pieces are obvious and part of a large number of family road trip stories.
The uhoria is the timelessness of the novel. Birdsall includes some modern things like minivans but avoids the trappings of present. The novel seems to straddle the present and the 1940s or even earlier in the last century.
My thesis is that lower down on the spectrum a story falls, the safer the tale is. While uhoria higher up can mean time travel and ghosts, in this instance it just means a timelessness. It's a narrative that isn't dependent on particular technology or world events.
The second book is The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (2008)