"A house without books is like a room without windows." -Horace Mann

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Penderwicks, and a long car trip...

by Jeanne Birdsall

We did a whirlwind 3 day trip down to Southern Idaho this weekend.  My husband's grandmother passed away so we went to the funeral, which was really quite nice because she was really ready to be done with this life and move on to the next where she will be with her husband again.  I'm so grateful to know that we can be families forever.

One necessity of any long car trip is a good book, as I am lucky enough not to get too easily carsick. Unlike my husband.  And my son.

Requirements for a good road trip book:
1) Entertaining, not to heavy reading because with kids in the car, you tend to get interrupted a lot with requests for water, candy, pee breaks, french fries, McDonald's, toys, games, a different movie, windows up, windows down, etc.

2) Paperback.  You may need to pack it in somewhat flexible circumstances, especially if your car is jam packed with entertainment for the children, much of which will only be entertaining for about 5 minutes.  Considering the ride was 8.5 hours one way...well, you get the idea.

3) Indestructible.  This goes along with #2, because you never want to bring a hardback that has a loose cover.  It will get ripped, stepped on, torn, folded, etc.  Best to get one from the library that can take a little wear and tear.

4) Good to read aloud.  This is not a requirement but definitely a nice one to break up the monotony for others in the car.  My mother got us through many a long car trip by reading passages of To Kill a Mockingbird, Where the Red Fern Grows, the Oz books, the Narnia books, and Patrick McManus short stories.  Good times!

Those are just a few of my requirements.  Sometimes I don't get around to reading on a trip, but this time the children cooperated for a while and took consecutive naps, so I was able to read an entire new book from start to finish in a few hours while on the straight, long freeway through Montana.  The Penderwicks is a book about 4 sisters.  Immediately I figured I would love it, because I am the oldest of 4 sisters.  They go to vacation at a little cottage on a large estate.  The owner of the estate is a real "uppity" lady, but luckily her son becomes their good friend and they all get into a number of fun and exciting adventures.  They eventually help the son, Jeffrey, communicate better with his mother, and they have a lovely holiday.

It was a lovely book about family, different personalities, love, and adventure.  The author did a great job of describing each of the girls and their differences, as well as the father and the family dog.  The descriptions of the scenery as well were well done.  The adventures were exciting and funny, and the other characters added depth to the story.  It is a charming, easy-going, fun, and generally happy little story that reminded me of past summer holidays with my family.  It is also a National Book Award Winner, so you don't have to just take my word for it!

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