Saturday, September 27, 2008

Penderwicks redux

Well, I read The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall. It was OK ... kind of a growing-up story. It takes place in Massachusetts, at a house in the country that the Penderwick family has rented for a month. There are four girls in the family, and their dad, a professor who drops Latin quotations a lot. Their mother died after the youngest girl was born. Oh, and there's also their dog, Hound.
The oldest kid is Rosalind, who has to take care of her younger siblings. She's practical, hard-working and pretty, and on the edge of her first real crush. Batty is the youngest. She's emotionally addicted to the butterfly wings she wears all the time, and to Hound.
Jane is a dreamer who wants to become a writer. And Skye is the rebel.
Throw this lovely family into a guest cottage on an estate, complete with an interesting teen-age gardener, a nasty landlady, and the landlady's son, Jeffrey, and you have a great formula for what should be a wonderful book.
But it didn't do much for me. Maybe the people just didn't have quite enough character? I love Roald Dahl's delightfully nasty characters. But the Penderwicks, for me, were rather flat.
Anybody disagree? Write and tell me why I'm wrong! Or right.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Penderwicks

Has anybody out there read "The Penderwicks" by Jeanne Birdsall?
This book looks really interesting to me. The subtitle is, A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. How can you not want to read something like that?\

I notice, too, that it's turning into a series. The second one is called, The Penderwicks of Gardam Street. Yeah, it sounds like something you'd watch on PBS, but I have always liked that kind of literature.

OK, I'm going to read it. If anybody else has read it, please write and let me know if you liked it, or if I'm wasting my time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Seeking the new Merlin

“One thousand years have passed since I, Merlin, mighty wizard of the Pendragons, magical defender of the Britons, and wise enchanter of the sword Excalibur, was imprisoned for all eternity in an oak tree by the cunning sorceress Vivienne, whom some call Nimue. One thousand years have passed since wizardology was practised in its true form, for the secret knowledge has grown scarce. Now most of those who call themselves wizards are but meddlers, unworthy of the name, while those who would make the best apprentices squander their time on a host of fledgling sciences.
“I have therefore, by that magic which still remains to me, caused a part of the oak that is my prison to be made into a book, so that at last an apprentice may be found to seek out and learn the old secrets, and by his efforts raise wizardology to its rightful place once more. …”

I discovered these words, and more, on a slip of paper inside a tiny envelope glued to the inside of a book – at the library.

Is anybody out there interested in taking up Merlin’s challenge?

If so, read the book! “The Wizardology Handbook: a Course for Apprentices,” edited for the modern reader by Dugald A. Steer. It’s on the “new” shelves in the Children’s Department, under Y Steer.

And if you read it, please write on this blog and tell the rest of us what you learned … and what you have become.

Is it possible that Findlay, Ohio (or Arlington, or Arcadia, whatever) could be the home of the future greatest wizard in the world?

“As I will, so mote it be!” -- Merlin