The Penderwicks Are Back!
Today is the official on-sale date of The Penderwicks at Point Mouette and it’s a thrill for all of us to be able to visit with this lovely, quirky family once again. To celebrate this fabulous event we’ve invited “Penderwicks” author Jeanne Birdsall to be our Guest Blogger – we know you’ll want to get your hands on a copy of this book asap but first, spend some time with with us and see what inspires this talented writer.
In the third Penderwicks book, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, I sent the three younger sisters to the ocean for two weeks with their Aunt Claire. I considered Cape Cod as a destination, but my sense of the Cape is tied up with memories of uncomfortable visits with boyfriends—two different ones—back in my youth. Hitchhiking was involved in both cases, and sleeping bags, large bugs, and not enough food. Ah, the vagabond life of the sixties. I never was cut out for it. Maine, on the other hand, reminds me of my Great-Aunt Jane, who would bring me back presents from Boothbay Harbor, like One Morning in Maine and a pillow stuffed with pine needles and MAINE in green letters on top. Much better memories. So the Penderwicks went to Maine, giving me an excuse to visit for research—five times!—making sure I’d got the color of the sky just right, and the smell of the air and the grit of the sand. I hope I managed and that Great-Aunt Jane (for whom, after all, I named Jane Penderwick) would recognize her Maine in my descriptions.
Several new characters are introduced in this book. One of them is Hoover the dog, who is based on my husband’s and my dog, a Boston Terrier named Cagney. (He’s named after Cagney the gardener in the first Penderwicks book, not the other way around.)
Hoover is such a maniac that he makes Hound Penderwick look like a beautifully trained show dog. This was also once true of Cagney. He’s calmer now, not because we’ve become better at handling him, but because he’s older and finds tricking us too easy to bother with. My husband will protest at this, and say that we’ve worked hard to train Cagney, and that he was never really that bad anyway. And then I’ll say, tell that to the cats whose tails he bit, and why is he still trying to kill the clock radio just for fun?
The fourth Penderwick book is now rattling around in my brain. I can give a few hints. It will take place back home again on Gardam Street, about five and a half years after the end of the third book. The three older sisters will be teenagers, as will Tommy Geiger. Tommy’s older brother Nick will be home on leave from Afghanistan, where he’s stationed with the army.
My own dear nephew, a second lieutenant with the 101st Airborne, is helping me with the research. And that’s all I can say. It’s bad luck to give away too much too soon, a lesson Jane Penderwick may finally have learned in the third book. Or not. It’s always hard to know with Jane.
Many thanks to Jeanne Birdsall for joining us today. If you love the Penderwicks as much as we do, please share this post and leave a comment below to let us know.