For me, Jeanne Birdsall’s debut novel, THE PENDERWICKS, is such novel. Just look at this subtitle: “A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy” — absolutely lovely, isn’t it?
THE PENDERWICKS is the story about the summer holidays of the Penderwick family (an no, the smallest of the girls is not a fairy, she just always wears these big butterfly wings). As their usual beach cottage in Cape Cod had been sold by the owner, their father had to find them another cottage — which turns out to be part of the big, sprawling estate of Arundel.
The owner of the mansion might be most fearsome, but the housekeeper is as nice and cheerful as housekeepers are wont to be. And moreover, the Penderwick girls soon befriend Jeffrey, the boy who lives in the mansion.
Somewhat eccentric and accidentprone, the Penderwicks stumble from one adventure into the next, with their big dog, Hound (who is easily sick), always hard on their heels.
A truly lovely, charming children’s book.