May 2014


The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Jeanne Birdsall

This summer the four Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens and treasure-filled attic. The best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures. However, the icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, and she warns the new friends to stay away from her son. Can the Penderwicks obey her orders and not enter the gardens of Arundel? It is a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.


  1. On the first page of The Penderwicks, the narrator asks, “But then what is a summer without a trip to someplace special?” Discuss with your family special trips or activities that you might like to experience together this summer. Your special trip could be to a local park or zoo or to a relative’s home. You could travel to a new city nearby or even another state. Write a journal entry about the things you want to do and make plans to accomplish your goals.

  2. Describe the misunderstandings that occur between Mrs. Tifton and her son Jeffrey throughout the book. What could Mrs. Tifton have done to better understand her son? How did the Penderwicks help to solve the problem between Jeffrey and his mother?

  3. The Penderwick girls each have unique identities and characteristics. Describe each of the four sisters—Rosalind, Skye, Jane and Batty—with your family. What is each girl’s role within their family? How do they work together, disagree or help each other? How do the personalities in your family differ? How can you appreciate each other?

  4. Jane lives in a world of books and she dreams of becoming an author. According to Jane, a great book is one you can read over and over without becoming tired of the story. Make a list of your favorites books and ask a friend to do the same. You can share your ideas together and visit your local public library to look for new great books to enjoy reading this summer.