The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Every spring my dogs eat baby bunny nests. It happens every year, with every dog I’ve ever had. It’s horrifying, but the mom and dad rabbits are not very careful and generally make their nests in the middle of the yard, and my dogs, being dogs, find the bunnies and see nothing but a nice squeaky snack. Horrifying. But there was one exception to this traumatizing pattern. One of our dogs, a golden retriever, picked up a baby rabbit that my cats had been toying with (at this point it was still alive), and the bunny disappeared from view into his mouth. The members of my family that were standing outside were horrified, but the dog was unfazed. We ignored him, disgusted that he could be so callous. It wasn’t until he wanted to go inside that he opened his mouth, and the baby rabbit, very much alive, hopped off. I will never forget it.
Something like that happens in this book. In fact, many things like that happens in this book. It’s about four sisters—Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty—and their summer spent at Arundel, a cottage that was “not only yellow, it was the creamiest, butteriest yellow the Penderwicks had every seen.” This is the first book in one of my favorite children’s series.
Song accompaniment: Orchard House by Thomas Newman