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The Penderwicks

I wrote about reading this book to my kids over on Bonny Glen a week or two ago...we're halfway through the book now, and I'm so interested in how giddy they are when I'm reading it, and how deeply attached to it they are already, as if they've known these characters all their lives. In a way, they have; part of what they're loving so much about the book is that the sisters' personalities and relationships ring so true. It's like my girls are encountering their own selves in this novel—the way I felt the first time I read Anne of Green Gables, I suppose.

I wonder what I'd think of Penderwicks if I'd read it alone first. I have a friend who read it herself (not to her kids) and she thought it was just okay. My kids think it's screamingly funny. All three girls will burst out laughing at the same moment, and I'll be taken by surprise because the line in question struck me as only mildly funny. It reminds me of the first commentary I got from a child about Little House in the Highlands—my illustrator read the galleys to her 5 yr old daughter and reported back that young Maggie had almost wet her pants when Martha's big sister complained that sleeping with Martha was like sharing a bed with a cow—certainly NOT a line I'd thought particularly impressive when I wrote it. LOL.

I swear that's the best part of writing for kids, and of reading to them, for that matter: getting to see what moves them, amuses them, bores them, awes them; getting that window into a totally different perspective.


Maybe I should read it aloud to my kids. I had a similar reaction to your friend, so maybe reading aloud would make me love it more.

October 2010



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