The Penderwicks and The Willoughbys

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Remember back when kids could run free all summer, having new adventures and exploring an ancient old mansion for excitement? No, neither do I. But in children’s literature, there is a classical repertoire of children’s adventure books, all rather delightful and full of fun. 

The Penderwicks: A Story of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall hearkens back to the traditional summer fun adventure book. This is fully grounded in the present, however. It’s amazing, though, how timeless the story seems. Even though it is obviously a modern generation book, and computers and phones take a place here and there, but the focus still is on fun: developing a new friendship, having silly adventures, and enjoying life. The four sisters are unique and delightful, and the weeks during which they have their adventures are likewise memorable.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is a completely different type of traditional. The children in this tale believe they are the characters in one of the traditional adventure novels. They believe they are an old-fashioned family. It’s quite funny, really, that their parents dislike them so much they run away, hiring a nanny whom the children love more than their parents. When the children do not want to sell the house, they find a way to make it unsellable. And of course, a baby shows up on their doorstep. It is full of charm, but also silly wittiness that make it a fun read for those familiar with the traditional literature. It is best suited for those who understand a joke.

In short, each book has it’s charms. Which summer adventure books do you enjoy the most?

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Reviewed on January 5, 2014

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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