Having Fun With the Penderwicks

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Fun Activities for The Penderwicks

Let’s Start With a Review

We’ve spent a lot of time lately at the Blount County Library in Maryville, Tennessee. When asked which book we should present this time, all of the kids gave a resounding “The Penderwicks”.

The Penderwicks: A summer Tale of Four Sisters,Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall is filled with adventure, mystery, suspense, friendships, and villains–all of these ingredients mixed together make the best summer ever for the Penderwick sisters Rosalind, Jane, Skye, and Batty. Rosalind, the oldest, assumes the responsibility of taking care of her younger sisters. Jane just wants to have fun and enjoy the outdoors. Skye wants to finish her novel. And Batty…wants to be a butterfly. When they arrive at Arundel Hall for the summer with their Botanist father and their dog, Hound, the girls had no clue what was awaiting them behind the high walls of the Arundel house.

Having fun with The Penderwicks

During their stay at Arundel, they make lasting friendships that make the summer worthwhile. When Mrs. Tifton’s son Jeffrey gets pulled into the Penderwick family, problems run rampant. To Mrs. Tifton, the Penderwick’s just aren’t the right kind of people. When they learn that Jeffrey’s mother is planning to ship him off to military school, the summer takes a turn for the worse. Now they have to save Jeffrey from this most undesirable fate and still manage to enjoy their summer.

Can the Penderwick’s save Jeffrey? Will Batty ever have the courage to stand up to Mrs. Tifton? And will Skye finish her novel? Join the Penderwick sisters, learn the family oath, and save Jeffrey during this wonderful, adventurous summer!

We absolutely adored this story. It has a good old fashion storytelling feel  to it. There is such solidarity in their family life.

Having fun with The Penderwicks

We especially liked the way the sisters formed different configurations to have secret meetings, complete with oath taking.The girls have MOPS (Meeting of Penderwick Sisters) and MOOPS (Meeting of Older Penderwick Sisters). I love how Ms. Birdsall made each of the girls so realistic for their age. They are all very relatable for all age groups.

Another aspect we liked in the book is the idea of family honor. Penderwick Family Honor! Whenever a situation arises in which the girls have to make a judgement call – and plenty do – they always revert back to Penderwick Family Honor. I love this because honor is clearly a value that’s been stressed as an integral part of the identity of this family. This is a family that values bravery, loyalty, integrity, imagination, learning, all things I’ve instilled in my own children. Mr. Penderwick has his hands full with his four creatively active daughters. He has taught his daughters values and trusts them to live accordingly. The Penderwick Family Honor is the code they live by.

The one thing you have to know about this great read is that it’s just lovely–mystery, adventure, and fun all wrapped into one. Mr. Dupree is the best villain and Churchie the best cook. I don’t see how you can’t fall in love with the Penderwicks and their new friends.

I just shared this last bit of news with my children, it’s a series! There’s so much more fun to be had with the Penderwicks and we’re so happy about that.

Add Something To Make

Mr Harry’s Tomatoes

Mr. Harry plays a fun role in the story. I asked the kids, “What are all the things we can do with Harry’s Tomatoes ?” After thinking of everything from tomato sauce, to eating tomatoes raw, the kids wanted to know if it’s possible to make ketchup or do we “have” to buy it in a bottle ? So there it was, we made a batch of homemade ketchup and I think this is the way we’re going to eat ketchup from now on.

Ketchup Recipe


This turned out so well and was so easy to make. We found it on Allrecipes.


  • 2 (28 ounce) cans peeled ground tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water, divided
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 whole clove


1. Pour ground tomatoes into slow cooker. Swirl 1/4 cup water in each emptied can and pour into slow cooker. Add sugar, vinegar, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, celery salt, mustard powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and whole clove; whisk to combine.

2. Cook on high, uncovered, until mixture is reduced by half and very thick, 10 to 12 hours. Stir every hour or so.

3. Smooth the texture of the ketchup using an immersion blender, about 20 seconds.

4. Ladle the ketchup into a fine strainer and press mixture with the back of a ladle to strain out any skins and seeds.

5. Transfer the strained ketchup to a bowl. Cool completely before tasting to adjust salt, black pepper, or cayenne pepper.

Take a Quick Quiz

Which Penderwick Sister are You ? Or are you one at all ?

Each sister in the story is distinctly different. Each with their own personality, likes and dislikes, plus they had a variety of adventures.

Which Penderwick sister are you ? Or are you Jeffery ?

Here’s a quick review:

Rosalind is the oldest and very sensible. She is also very responsible and takes care of her younger sisters very well.

Skye is the beautiful blonde of the family who also happens to be a tomboy. She is very logical and adventurous.

Jane is a writer and very outspoken. She is a good athlete and very caring when she is saying something she shouldn’t be.

Batty is the youngest and very shy. She loves animals and considers them to be her best friends.

Jeffery is the son of a rich woman who lives in upper crust society. Jeffery loves having the Penderwick sisters as friends. He loves to play soccer and is a very good pianist.

Let’s Solve a Puzzle

Civil War Word Search

Cagney the teenage gardener loves anything having to do with the Civil War. Test your wits and see how many of these Civil War words you can find.

Civil War word search


Now Answer This!

Family Oath

The Penderwick family has a family oath which defends their family honor. What values are important to your family? What would your Family Oath Be? Create a family oath and then come back and share it here.


About Valarie Budayr

Valarie Budayr is an award winning, best-selling children’s book author, a reading and play advocate whose mission is to inspire children, families,and communities to experience and create together, and founder of the popular book website Jump into a Book, where the pages of our favorite children’s books come to life through activities and adventures. Valarie lives at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee with her three children, loving husband and two beloved cats. You can find Valarie at www.jumpintoabook.com


  1. One of our most favorite chapter books ever! We can’t wait for the next one to come out next year 🙂


  1. […] Library Adventures invited me to come in and guest post and the result was a very fun post filled with book love and activities: Having Fun With the Penderwicks. […]

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