The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel's owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures. The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they willwon't they? One thing's for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget. Deliciously nostalgic and quaintly witty, this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day. From the Hardcover edition.
The curriculet is being added to your library
One: A Boy at the Window
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Mr. Penderwick rented the cottage "sight unseen" mean?
If you are having a difficult time keeping all of the Penderwicks straight, don't worry. It will be easier as the story goes on! (This annotation contains an image)
Why did the man wink at Rosalind?
Cair Paravel, El Dorado, and Camelot are all fictional kingdoms from literature. You will find Cair Paravel in the Chronicles of Narnia. Camelot is from the tales of King Arthur. El Dorado is a legendary kingdom; its exact location is unknown. Here is a reading of a very well-known poem by the great American author Edgar Allen Poe. In this poem, Poe describes one such search for El Dorado. (This annotation contains a video)
What does the phrase "knew the drill" mean?
Remember that Mr. Penderwick is a botanist. Linnaea borealis and Cypripedium arietinum are Latin classifications for two plant varieties. The photo shows Linnaea borealis. It is more commonly called Twin Flowers. (This annotation contains an image)
At the end of this chapter, Jane believes she sees a boy looking down from an upstairs window of the mansion. How does this contribute to the story?
Two: A Tunnel Through the Hedge
Skye is a "middle" child in the family. Sometimes, middle children feel overlooked. The first born gets a lot of attention and privileges, and the baby of the family gets noticed a lot as well. The middle child often feels left out. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the primary difference between Skye and Jane?
Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women. It is considered a classic work of literature. Patricia MacLachlan is best known for writing Sarah, Plain and Tall. Authors are often inspired by other writers. Watch this interview with the author of The Penderwicks. In the beginning of the interview, you will hear Jeanne Birdsall mention the childhood stories that inspired her to write! You can stop the video at the 2:30 mark. (This annotation contains a video)
What does "translated loosely" most likely mean?
Skye is most likely describing a statue of Jupiter. In Roman mythology, he is known as the God of Sky, Lightning, and Thunder. In Greek mythology, he is called Zeus. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on evidence in the text, why does Cagney suggest that Mrs. Tifton help him in selecting the jasmine?
Think about the context clues in this passage. Do you find it odd that Mrs. Tifton wants to win the gardening contest, but she also wants a beautiful rose bush cut down so a car won't get scratched? Do you think Mrs. Tifton wants to win the contest because she truly loves plants, or is there another reason? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read, why does the mysterious boy "speak with great dignity"?
Three: The MOOPS
Being frightened by imaginary creatures in the closet is a common childhood fear. Do you recognize this well-known children's book? Someone might have read it to you when you were younger! (This annotation contains an image)
How do Rosalind and Batty differ in their memories and feelings about Mommy?
Are you beginning to see a difference in personalities among the sisters? Have you noticed that Jane is more imaginative while Skye is a mathematics person? If you have siblings, are you more alike in your interests and personalities, or are you different like the Penderwicks? (This annotation contains an image)
What can you tell about Skye's point of view from this part of the MOOPS meeting?
Four: The Apology
Watch this video on characters. At the end of this chapter, you will be asked to answer a question regarding character. (This annotation contains a video)
When you make cookies, you have to be gentle with the batter, or you will have tough cookies. The more gently you stir, the better the cookie! (This annotation contains an image)
Read this sentence from the text. "Use a teaspoon to drop the batter onto the cookie sheets, then put them in the oven."In which of the following sentences does batter have the same meaning as in the sentence from the text?
Why do the Penderwick girls feel that Mrs. Tifton will not open a "simple door"?
If you aren't certain what this word means, use the define feature! (This annotation contains an image)
What does Jane mean when she says that Jeffrey "wasn't the kind of boy to tell tales to his mother"?
The iguana is most likely named after Charles Darwin. Charles Darwin was a renowned scientist who wrote a book named The Origin of the Species. Darwin spent his life in the Galapagos Islands studying iguanas and other native creatures. (This annotation contains an image)
At the beginning of this chapter, you watched a video on character. Now, think about the characters of Rosalind, Jane, and Skye. Consider the things the girls say and do to help you determine their traits. Now, write an essay in which you compare and contrast two of the girls. You may choose any two of the three girls you like! Make sure you cite evidence from the text in your answer.
Five: A New Hero
Skye claims she isn't jealous, but what do you think? Do her actions and attitude support her claim or not? (This annotation contains an image)
How does this scene of Batty sneaking into the supposed bull's clover field contribute to the story?
A bull is very territorial and will aggressively protect its space. Any animal or person that it perceives as a threat to its space is in danger around a bull. (This annotation contains an image)
Jane is trying to distract the bull. This is the same technique that rodeo clowns use! (This annotation contains an image)
How has Batty being in danger changed things between Jeffrey and Skye?
This is another word you may want to define! (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Skye not want Jeffrey to notice that she is pointing at him?
The Bastable children appear in a series of books that was published over 100 years ago. The books involving the Bastables are still popular today! The Treasure Seekers was one of the best-selling Bastable books. (This annotation contains an image)
ESP stands for extrasensory perception. This means that people or animals are able to detect things at a level that others are not. It is sometimes referred to as the 6th sense. Some people are certain that ESP is real, but others do not believe it exists at all. (This annotation contains an image)
Six: Rabbits and a Long Ladder
Watch this video on summary. At the end of this chapter, you will take a quiz. One of the quiz questions will be about summary. (This annotation contains a video)
Why did Jeffrey look at Batty "sideways" as he replied to Rosalind?
Did you know that rabbits can be trained to use a litter box just like cats? Some people who own rabbits allow them to roam free around their homes. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why does Carla recognize Batty as a "kindred spirit"?
Why are the girls thankful that Jeffrey's room is a "regular" room?
Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer whose works included symphonies, concertos, operas, and ballets. Here is a clip of a world class pianist discussing Tchaikovsky and playing one of his compositions. Jeffrey would have to be a very talented musician to play Tchaikovsky. You only need to watch two minutes of the video to get a feeling for the music. (This annotation contains a video)
Seven: Borrowed Finery
Jane has a very active imagination. Do you think it comes from all of the books she reads? (This annotation contains an image)
This translates to "go in peace, daughter." (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rosalind claim that it wasn't her family with the bull?
Making predictions is an important skill in reading. Anticipating what is going to happen next can make reading even more enjoyable. Why do you think Churchie wants to go into the attic? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read, why does Rosalind look "shyly at her reflection"?
You have gotten a lot of background knowledge from Churchie about Jeffrey's mom. Basically, it boils down to this: Mrs. Tifton's parents were older when they had her. Her mother died, and Mrs. Tifton left for college and got married right away. She divorced, changed her name, and had Jeffrey. Jeffrey does not know who his father is. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Skye not want to wear the blue dress?
Eight: The Birthday Dinner
Here is another clue that you can use to form a prediction. Notice that the girls thought the week was perfect because "they had not yet met Mrs. Tifton." Can you use that hint to make the prediction that things are not going to go well when the Penderwicks meet her? (This annotation contains an image)
What does "each sister had her private joys" mean?
This Latin phrase means "he who endures conquers." In other words, eventually the picture that pleases everyone will be taken! (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read about Skye, why does Rosalind single her out and remind her about the rules?
"Are we mice or men" is an expression that is used to instill courage. Mice are frightened, nervous creatures. People should be more courageous than a small, frightened mouse! This phrase is a reminder to face your challenges head-on. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, why does Rosalind look "pleadingly" at Skye?
Why does Mrs. Tifton look stiff when Skye claims that Rosalind's dress came from the Salvation Army?
For many, many years golf was considered the sport of the wealthy. The equipment and fees to play golf were very high. In addition, golfers often would join private country clubs so they would have a place to play. Only other rich men would be members of the country club. With what you have read about Mrs. Tifton, you should not be surprised that she would want Jeffrey to play golf. This old photo shows some golfers in front of their club. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read, what is the most likely reason that Rosalind doesn't want her sisters sitting near Dexter?
Michelangelo was a great Italian artist. From 1508-1512, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The paintings depict scenes from the Book of Genesis. Dexter has the name incorrect; it was not the Sistern Chapel. This photograph shows the breath-taking beauty of Michelangelo's work. (This annotation contains an image)
If you do not know the meanings of some of the words in this paragraph, be sure to use the define feature. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Jeffrey kick Skye as she begins to speak?
Nine: Shocking News
The "military type" usually refers to someone who likes things very structured, disciplined, and strict. Jeffrey is the complete opposite of the "military type." (This annotation contains an image)
Considering Jeffrey's point of view, why are the Penderwicks' gifts so pleasing to him?
In very large houses, the drawing room is where the guests are entertained. This photo shows a typical drawing room. (This annotation contains an image)
Read the highlighted sentence from the text. No one's in your class, darling. In which of the following statements does class have the same meaning as it does in the text?
Do you think that Dexter is really concerned about honoring Mrs. Tifton's father, or does he have another reason for wanting Jeffrey away at military school? (This annotation contains an image)
Based on evidence in the text, where does Jane get her ideas for her Arthur and Ms. Horriferous story?
How do Rosalind and Jane's points of view differ regarding Jane's book publishing?
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was published in 1886, but people still use the terms "Dr. Jekyll" and "Mr. Hyde" to describe someone who seems to have two personalities-a good side and a bad side! (This annotation contains an image)
Ten: A Bold Escape
Ulysses S. Grant was the commanding General of the Union Army during the Civil War. He accepted the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox, ending the devastating American Civil War. This artwork depicts Grant (standing next to the table) accepting Lee's surrender at Appomattox. (This annotation contains an image)
How does this scene compare to the earlier scene in which Batty encounters the bull?
Mrs. Tifton and Dexter are behaving in inappropriate ways. First, they are discussing Batty as if she isn't even there. They are discussing her possible deafness or mental illness (Dexter signaled that Batty might be "crazy") with her standing right in front of them. This is unacceptable behavior that could be very hurtful.
Why does Rosalind feel a "tiny twinge of guilt"?
William Shakespeare was a British playwright who is credited with writing over 30 plays. You have probably heard of Romeo and Juliet; it is one of his best known works. Rosalind's mother was quoting another Shakespeare play to her, The Tempest. (This annotation contains an image)
What does "Dexter made the wings sound extremely ill-bred and tacky" mean?
If you have a dog, have you ever noticed that it has different barks for different situations? These various barks are the dog's way of communicating. (This annotation contains an image)
Based on what you have read in the text, what is "the full horror of the situation" that is being referred to?
Rosalind doesn't have "the heart to scold" Hound because he was just doing what a dog does. Hound thinks his family will be proud of him for bringing them the rabbit. In the photo, you see a highly trained dog that assists its owner with the hunt. (This annotation contains an image)
Think about Jeffrey's character. In particular, focus on how Jeffrey's character has changed since the Penderwicks have been staying at Arundel. For instance, look at how he handles this challenge from his mother!Write a response in which you describe how Jeffrey has changed since the arrival of the Penderwicks. Make sure you cite evidence from the text in your writing.
Many small animals use "apparent death" as a defense mechanism. The animal "fakes" dead so that predators will leave it alone. You may have heard this called "playing opossum." (This annotation contains an image)
Eleven: Another Rescue
According to the text, the kids meet back at the marble man for a status report. What is meant by status report?
Some dogs, especially hounds, have a very highly developed sense of smell. They can "track" or follow a person's or animal's scent. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would Mr. Penderwick "have denied his youngest nothing that night"?
This means "plenty of eloquence, not much intelligence." Mr. Penderwick is saying that Mrs. Tifton has a lot of "things" but very few brains!
What does Mr. Penderwick mean when he says that "Mrs. Tifton is not the warmest of women"?
Twelve: Sir Barnaby Patterne
To earn the title of "SIr," you must be knighted by the Queen. It is a title that is given to recognize outstanding achievement in a particular field of work. This photo shows a man in Britain receiving his knighthood form Queen Elizabeth. (This annotation contains an image)
Why would Jeffrey not mind going away to military school after his mother marries Dexter?
Based on what you have read in the text, why is Jeffrey a "wild man" playing soccer?
When Jane is yelling, she is really pretending to be the character she has created for her stories. However, Skye does not know this and is most likely not going to be amused with these names. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the "platoon's worth of high heels"?
In most of the world soccer is referred to as football. However, in the United States football is an entirely differently sport than soccer. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rosalind have difficulty screwing the lid on the jar?
In the old days, prisoners were only fed a bland diet of bread and water. (This annotation contains an image)
What is true of Jane's point of view?
Revision is an important part the writing process. (This annotation contains an image)
Thirteen: The Piano Lesson
The Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the Civil War. Why do you think Rosalind is interested in reading this book? (This annotation contains an image)
What does Skye mean when she tells Jeffrey to "be tough"?
Jeffrey is correct that there is a direct link between math and music. In fact, many people believe that music classes help students perform better in math. (This annotation contains an image)
Mrs. Tifton is presented from the points of view of the children. Of course, she has her own point of view. Consider how the Penderwicks have upended her orderly life. Write a response in which you present events from the point of view of Mrs. Tifton. It might help you to get started if you think about this question. Is she really a mean lady, or have the Penderwicks upset things at Arundel?
Vanity Fair is a fashion magazine that also reports on pop culture and other events. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the main reason that Mrs. Tifton wants Jeffrey to be friends with Teddy Robinette?
Mrs. Tifton can't keep the Penderwicks straight. What does that tell you? Is she even giving them a chance, or is she judging them without really knowing them? (This annotation contains an image)
If you aren't familiar with this word, use the define feature so that you understand what Mrs. Tifton is saying about Skye. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Skye say that she "had to" confront Mrs. Tifton?
Fourteen: A Midnight Adventure
Why is Batty completing the stories that Rosalind is telling her?
Magic by the Lake is an American classic about four children who discover that the lake by their summer house is full of magic. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Rosalind want to stay in bed and not see anyone ever again?
Orion's Belt is also known as the Three Kings. It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. (This annotation contains an image)
This is a quote from a Shakespearean play. The character of Ophelia drowns, and her brother says he won't cry for her because that would be more "water," and she has had enough water as it is. (This annotation contains an image)
How do Rosalind and Cagney differ in their view of the relationship they share?
Fifteen: The Shredded Book
Do you think that Mr. Penderwick feels overwhelmed caring for four girls by himself? (This annotation contains an image)
What does "her troubles paled in the face of Jeffrey being dragged off to Pencey" mean?
Why is guilt "not a familiar emotion to Skye"?
Skye is already doing Algebra and finds it too easy! (This annotation contains an image)
What do you think? Do you believe that all people have a good side?
Why does Jane think the "fates had decided"?
What is true of Mr. Penderwick's parenting style when compared to that of Mrs. Tifton?
Sixteen: The Runaway
This line is from a very famous Italian opera. The words mean "how pale and beautiful you are." The line goes on about "a lovely creature born under such an evil star ." Mr. Penderwick is probably thinking of Mrs. Penderwick dying at such a young age.
Why does Skye insist that it's temper and not courage that made her stand up to Mrs. Tifton?
To Kill a Mockingbird is a movie based on a classic book. The book was written by Harper Lee. You will most likely read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school. (This annotation contains an image)
What seems to be most important to Dexter?
Rosalind feels conflicted because she knows she should tell her father about Jeffrey, but she also knows that Jeffrey's mother will not listen to him. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does it indicate that Jeffrey has a "hungry look on his face" as he talks about his father?
Do you think that Rosalind really doesn't care, or is she trying to convince herself that she doesn't?
Seventeen: The Next-to-Last Day
Based on what you read in the text, what does it mean if something is "all in vain"?
Do you think that Mr. Penderwick sees through Dexter and is not fooled by his phoniness? (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Hound barking at the closet?
In the military world, an honor guard is a ceremonial unit that's members are chosen for their high standard of conduct. This picture shows a Marine Corps honor guard. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Jane's perspective of Mrs. Tifton shift a little?
You should never refer to any group as "those people" or "these people." It is very insulting as it sets a group of people apart.
Based on what you have read in the text, why does Jeffrey remind his mother of the time her father gave her a swimming lesson? it might help if you think in terms of how this is similar to what Mrs. Tifton is doing with her own son. As you write your response, cite evidence from the text.
Do you notice that each Penderwick gift reflects the personality of the girl giving it? These thoughtful gifts often mean more to people than gifts purchased in a store.
Eighteen: Good-bye for Now
Look at the name of this chapter. Does it indicate to you that there will be future Penderwick stories? (This annotation contains an image)
How does Harry showing up to say good-bye to the Penderwicks add to the structure of the story?
A concussion is a serious head injury, but that is not what's wrong with Rosalind. Why do you think she is babbling?
Based on what you have read, why is Rosalind overcome with gratitude toward Cagney?
Why was Rosalind holding the map upside down?
Are you satisfied with this outcome? Did you expect that Mrs. Tifton would marry Dexter, or were you hoping she would end the engagement?
This translates to "we owe the greatest respect to the child." (This annotation contains an image)
What does it indicate that Batty let Jeffrey "borrow" her wings?