I stayed up late last night to finish reading The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. =) It's a charming children's novel. =) It's perfect summer reading for a ten-year-old girl. The main characters, the Penderwick sisters, are aged 12, 11, 10, and 4. "The very interesting boy" (the Penderwicks' friend), also a main character, is 10 and he celebrates his 11th birthday in the story. So I think that the book is an appropriate read for girls aged 10-12, but I think it's BEST read by a TEN-year-old girl. =) An 11 or 12 year old might think the book is too "childish." The Penderwicks is a novel about youthful adventures and youthful honesty. =)
The synopsis given for The Penderwicks is: "On their summer vacation, four sisters discover a garden paradise, a lonely boy, and one truly awful grown-up. This is Jeanne's first book about the Penderwicks, who believe in truth and honor, yet can't seem to stay out of trouble." (from the official website of the author: www.jeannebirdsall.com)
And man, they weren't exaggerating about the main characters always getting into trouble. (I thought before reading that it was an exaggeration.) They got into trouble every chapter! And sometimes they would get into trouble twice in a chapter! The characterization in the novel was awesome. I'm definitely reading the next book about the Penderwick family. It's a family I love! =)
*By the way, the tale is also of a dog, a doting father, a clueless mother and her yucky boyfriend, a gardener, a housekeeper, and a tomato man.