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  • Writer's picturebreanneamosher

May I recommend?

There is a running joke in our family that if the children know any random fact about astrophysics, botany or Eastern seaboard geography or as they did tonight, recite mottos in Latin, it's no credit to me (their homeschool teacher) but all credit to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.

This series has been played for countless hours in our house, to the point that my big girls can listen to a few sentences from their little brother's audiobook and identify which of the five books he's currently listening too. They make a great read aloud or read alone book.

This series is loosely based on Little Women and is littered with many other literary references. I love when books talk to each other and my children are starting to discover that delight. The widowed father in these books goes on a few dates to satisfy an nagging aunt's requests and he calls the lady he's apparently going out with, Marianne Dashwood. Once my oldest read Sense and Sensibility, she fully understood the literary joke.

These books are classics, timeless with very few details to link them to a particular time period. There's nothing particular dramatic about the stories- no magical worlds opening up through wardrobes or books, no fantastic powers or almost unbelievable situations. They are just ordinary snapshots of life as the family grows up, vacations, goes to school, and does all the other things that are relatable to regular family life. This is why I like them, they're delightful and portray family dynamics in a positive light. I don't like reading books to my children where siblings don't get along well, they need positive encouragement not normalizing petty arguments.

We have loved these books on audio but they are also great in book form. If you like The Vanderbeekers or The Saturdays, The Penderwicks would be a great companion to your next reading adventure! We started listening to these when my girls were 8 and 10 but my little guy enjoys them at age 6.

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