The Penderwicks at Last

by Jeanne Birdsall (Auteur)

Other, 2019





Yearling (2019), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages


Juvenile Fiction. Juvenile Literature. HTML:The finale you've all been waiting for: The Penderwicks at Last is the final, flawless installment in the modern classic series from National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author Jeanne Birdsall! Nine years, five older siblings, a few beloved dogs, and an endless array of adventures�??these are the things that have shaped Lydia's journey since readers first met her in The Penderwicks in Spring. Now it's summertime, and eleven-year-old Lydia is dancing at the bus stop, waiting for big sister Batty to get home from college. This is a very important dance and a very important wait because the two youngest sisters are about to arrive home to find out that the Penderwicks will all be returning to Arundel this summer, the place where it all began. And better still is the occasion: a good old-fashioned, homemade-by-Penderwicks wedding. Bursting with heart and brimming with charm, this is a joyful, hilarious ode to the family we love best. And oh my MOPS�??Meeting of Penderwick Siblings�??does Jeanne Birdsall's The Penderwicks at Last crescendo to one perfect Penderwic… (more)


Massachusetts Book Award (Must-Read (Longlist) — 2019)


Physical description

304 p.; 7.68 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member foggidawn
Lydia, youngest of the Penderwick siblings, is eleven years old, and terribly excited: for a special family event, the whole Penderwick family will be revisiting Arundel, a place that Lydia finds as magical and mystical as Camelot or Narnia. All her life, she's heard the family stories about the
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summer vacation where her four older sisters met Jeffrey and his awful mother, Mrs. Tifton. Now, she will actually see Arundel with her own eyes. What adventures await?

This is the last Penderwick book, which is bittersweet indeed -- but the story itself is as light and airy as the first, full of delightful new characters to love as well as appearances by many old favorites. It's a fitting end to the series, wrapping it all up in the same place it started. I was satisfied with the way the relationships among the older characters resolved, though I imagine that some readers will quibble. If you have read and loved the other books in this series, you will not want to miss this one.
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LibraryThing member diana.hauser
I couldn’t say it better myself: “…one perfect Penderwick finale in this last, flawless installment of the National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling series!”
“Six siblings. A new friend. A three-legged dog in a sidecar. And a Penderwick Wedding. It is adding up to be one
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crazy, perfect summer!”

I am a big fan of the Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall. That this title, THE PENDERWICKS AT LAST, is to be the final book, the ‘grand finale’, brings me to tears.
I do like this ‘style’ of writing. The series has been called “comforting comedy in an Austen-and-Alcott-like vein.” I would always recommend this series to my library patrons. Each title contained endearing and enduring topics centering on ‘coming of age’ and friendship’. Both those traits are essential (I think) for classic literature, whether it is adult, young adult or children’s literature, in whatever genre.
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LibraryThing member bell7
Rosalind is getting married - and the family is returning to Arundel for the wedding. Well, most of the Penderwicks are returning. For Lydia, age 11 and the youngest, this is the first time going to that magical place that figures so much in her older siblings' stories and memories.

In some ways,
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the last book was the weakest of the series. I think I would've liked it better if I had been reading it around age 10 when I was reading the Ramona books and The Moffats. It has that same sort of magical, summery, timeless feel as a lot of those stories and I may have related more to Lydia as the main character. As it was, I found myself scratching my head mostly over the older sisters, particularly when it came to Rosalind marrying the boyfriend she'd had since age 12, Skye suddenly deciding she wanted to marry her current boyfriend that we've never met in a previous book in a double wedding, and Jeffrey and Batty potentially a couple in a way that reminded me of Little Women. While the first was realistic and charming and I loved the familial love and interactions, this one was a little harder for me to believe in. The very ending, though, was satisfying and I would love to see what Jeanne Birdsall writes about in the future.
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LibraryThing member villemezbrown
The Penderwicks books are absolutely charming, and I highly recommend them.

I was a bit disappointed by this series finale, though, as Birdsall has chosen to focus on the youngest Penderwick, Lydia, who did not exist for the first few books and is now nine years older than she was in the last
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installment. Most of the sisters are absent for over half the book, off being grownups. But to bring the series full circle, eleven-year-old Lydia and one of her sisters, Jane, the dreamy aspiring author, head off to the Arundel country estate, the setting of the first book to prepare it for Rosalind's impending wedding. It is now fifteen years later, but a couple familiar figures are still there to welcome and upset their plans and there are new characters that promise friendship and lots of the little adventures of childhood that seem so big when one is a child.

This may be the mildest book of the series by far, but once everyone gathers for the wedding, Birdsall is able to bring some powerful emotion to the send off.
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LibraryThing member JanesList
I was very disappointed with this book. The author mostly followed Lydia and her friend around, while the characters I've come to know and love were off in the background being adults. There were a couple "Penderwick moments" but it came off as rushed and some of the characters weren't developed at
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all (who is Dusek?). I understand that because this is YA it makes sense to have the perspective of a younger kid, but I would have loved to have a few more moments of the older sisters together one last time before marriage changes things again.
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LibraryThing member GRgenius
This was truly an enchanting journey.
It's not that SO MUCH happens, or the action is nonstop, or the mysteries are unending. It's more a story that meanders through the character's lives, strewn with the past as well as new memories in waiting, gathering together like so many wildflowers in a
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clutch, creating a story to slowly traverse and enjoy line by line, page by page.

Lydia was such a wonderful little narrator, telling us things as only an eleven year old can, with mirth, unknown accuracy, imagination galore, and so much optimism (no matter how much she persists she doesn't like everyone) you can't help but smile and dance along with her. Her new little friend with the "unfortunate" name was an equal delight, matching Lydia's spirit, step for step and bird call for bird call. The sisters were a mixed bag, but such a joy to get to know! If I had to pick favorites...I really can't. Sorry! They are all equally memorable, however we do get to know Batty in this story a bit more than the others, and I will say this...I hope hope HOPE she's the one to break the "no one wants to marry" a certain someone "promise" sought by Ms. Tifton (an equally beguiling woman, if ever there was...though I think underneath the pickle puss she's famous for is actually a warmer heart). Let us know forget the puppy friends that abound. From giant pups of wonder to tiny dogs galore to those somewhere in-between, our four-legged friends certainly play a big role in this wonderful tail...I mean tale.

In the end, I enjoyed my time in Arundel immensely, and couldn't recommend a better escape this summer for readers young in years or simply young at heart. It's a heart warming tale that'll stick with you long after the final page is turned, and though bittersweet as it's the final installment in the series, there's always the shiny rainbow of a reread to perk your spirits right back up.

**ecopy received for review
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The Penderwick family returns in this fifth and final installment of their adventures, opening some nine years or so after the conclusion of the fourth title, The Penderwicks in Spring. The wedding of Rosalind and Tommy Geiger is in the offing, and the action soon shifts from the Penderwick home on
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Gardam Street to Arundel, Jeffrey's palatial estate in the Berkshires, that served as the setting for the first book in the series. Our narrator is Lydia, a two-year-old in the previous book, and the story focuses on her experiences at Arundel: befriending Cagney's daughter Alice, exploring the grounds, and bidding a sad goodbye to Batty's erstwhile boyfriend and his three-legged Great Dane. Never still for long, Lydia is drafted to choreograph the dancing walk that the sisters (Skye having decided to become a bride as well) will take in the wedding procession...

Such is my fondness for these characters, that although I am constrained to admit that The Penderwicks at Last is the weakest of the five books, I nevertheless enjoyed reading it. Unlike many other fans, I wasn't at all bothered by the manner in which Jeanne Birdsall handled the question of who ended up with who, romantically speaking, nor was I upset that the four original Penderwicks were now adults. After all, the these books are modeled on classic children's literature, and vintage girls' series, from Betsy-Tacy to Anne of Green Gables, often follow their heroines from their young childhoods through their married years. I think the main weakness here is that Lydia just isn't that interesting of a character, at least for me. Somehow, she never felt fully realized, in the way that her elder siblings did in previous books. Unfortunately, since the tale is told from her perspective, the other Penderwicks don't come through that strongly either. I was also greatly disappointed that, after all the build-up, both here and in previous titles, we don't get to see Rosalind and Tommy tie the knot. That was a real let down.

As mentioned, I enjoyed this one, and found it pleasant enough, but it wasn't what I would describe as a strong finish to the series.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
In this fifth and final volume of the Penderwicks series, we once again jump a number of years. Batty, who we first met at age 4, is now in college. The focal character is Lydia, who was a toddler in the last book of the series. Lydia is now 12, and her oldest sister, Rosalind, is getting married.
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And what better place for the wedding than the Arundel estate, where we first met the Penderwick family in the first volume?
Lydia and Jane go to the estate about 10 or so days before the wedding to start preparing, and the rest of the big family and large cast of additional characters dribble in a little at a time. But Lydia is the focal character. She develops a quick bond with Alice, the child of Cagney (19 year old caretaker of the estate in the first book) and the bulk of this tale follows their adventures together, along with the ever-present dogs, Sonata and Feldspar.
As always, the humor of the book isn't just in the events themselves, but in Birdsall's brilliant wording. Her descriptions of the thought processes of a child, or a dog, (or even a statue for that matter), are totally on point. She never talks down to the reader. And even with the existence of cell phones in this final volume, they still have an old fashioned feel about them, and I mean old fashioned in the most complimentary way possible.
As a climax for the entire series, I wasn't totally satisfied. The end didn't have the intense poignancy that I was expecting. But the book was nonetheless a delightful adventure with some children, as all of the previous books were.
Highly recommended series. Not a weak book in the lot.
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LibraryThing member deslivres5
The end to the Penderwicks series (at least for now?). There is a summer visit back to Arundel for a wedding. The youngest Penderwick is the main focus of this one. It was great meeting up with the Penderwick family, friends and pets after another large time jump!
LibraryThing member fuzzi
With this installment the Penderwick series comes to an end. One of the sisters is getting married, and all but the two youngest siblings are out on their own. This book focuses more on Lydia, the youngest, who loves to dance.

While I enjoyed this story it seemed to lack a little heart, and I missed
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the Penderwick secret meetings and shenanigans. I felt it wasn't quite as good as the previous books, but still was a good read.
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½ (64 ratings; 3.8)
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