Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Meet the new Little Women: Skye, Batty, Rosalind, and Jane. Skye is the fiery-tempered athlete (Jo), Batty is an endearing 4 yr. old (Beth). Jane is budding writer (a bit of Jo, not much of an Amy), and Rosalind, the mother-type makes a terrific Meg, (only we get to know Rosalind much better than we ever did Meg).

The girls lost their mother shortly after Batty was born. Their father, a rather free-spirited professor, loves them dearly but grants a lot of independence to his busy daughters. Their adventures in this book take place on their vacation in the Berkshire mountains where they meet up with Jeffrey. Remember the disapproving Grandfather in Little Women? This time, it's Jeffery's snobbish mother they contend with.

We're won over almost immediately by this close-knit, spunky and funny family. Jeffrey's mother is not. They all still manage to forge a childish, spirited friendship that unfolds over simple things like soccer games and birthday parties.

This modern version lacks some of the soap-opera-ish quality of Little Women. Some of us won't miss that. It also lacks any reference to or grounding in God or Christianity. Some us us will miss that.

It's still wholesome, breezy, and a worthwhile read.

Rating: 3 Vatican Flags


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