It’s rare that a sequel outshines the original; but sometimes it does happen. I’m not saying it’s necessarily a better book or that everyone will prefer it. It’s just that while I liked The Penderwicks well enough, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street won my heart.
Perhaps it was the surprise cameo appearance of Miss Marianne Dashwood. Or maybe it was Iantha herself, the brilliant next door neighbor with her little boy, baby Ben. I suspect it wouldn’t have had quite the same effect on my younger self who hadn’t read Jane Austen and didn’t have a particular affection for small boys named Ben.
The Penderwick family is endearing. I love the Latin-spouting father and the bevy of four spunky girls, even though none of the girls is exactly me. I’m probably most drawn to the eldest, Rosalind, simply because I am also an eldest and I know the weight of that responsibility. I love that they are all close, that they look after each other and care for their father and none of them are bratty though they are wonderfully fallible with endearing foibles.
I do look forward to reading more of their adventures. I was rather disappointed when I was browsing on Amazon at first I thought I’d spotted an exciting third book in the series and then I realized that Die Penderwicks was probably not an adventure where the Penderwick girls meet their archnemisis; but a German translation. Ah well. Ms Birdsall, if your eyes should happen to glance this way, I think Jane might have some fun with a little story called Die, Penderwicks!… Or, maybe not.