The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is the third book about the Penderwick Family. It assumes, as I will, that you’ve read the other two. (In fact, I accidentally picked up this one when I meant to read the second one and by the first paragraph knew I was missing part of the story—and honestly, if you haven’t read the first two, go read them! This review will spoil plot points from the previous books.)

The Penderwicks get split up in this book—Mr. Penderwick is on his honeymoon and Rosalind for the first time ever goes on vacation with her best friend instead of her sisters. It’s a traumatic time—Skye has to step up as the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick) and she sincerely doubts her abilities on that front. Aunt Claire takes the three younger girls to Point Mouette with Jeffrey.

Like all of the Penderwicks books, it’s a sweet story about growing up. The plot could go to annoying places, but almost never does. I continue to love this series.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


Rosalind and Tommy decided that they would start dating when they turned thirteen. Well, they’re thirteen and they’re dating. It’s a minor point, as Rosalind isn’t a main character in this story. Overall, they seem cute and age appropriate.

Jane falls head over heels for Dominic, a skateboarder who doesn’t seem to quite know what to do with her. He asks if he can kiss her and she says yes—it’s all kinds of awkward, but to her it’s paradise because he’s her crush. She thinks “maidenly thoughts” like imagining him falling off his skateboard and her comforting him with his bloody head in her lap. She keeps imagining he’s Peter Pevensie from the Chronicles of Narnia. She drives Skye to distraction with her mooning about Dominic.

But then she sends him a love letter, which he returns to her. She’s shattered. It turns out he kissed her on a dare. Skye steps up and supports her sister. Jane cuts her hair in some ritual to the fire god (in true Jane style). She then needs to get her hair cut properly, and Skye also gets her hair cut—turns out the hair cuts look great and there’s a sense of renewal with this change.

When Dominic tries to get back with Jane, she almost gives in but then shuts the door in his face. It’s overly dramatic in a way that suits the young and very romantic Jane, but in the end she grows up a bit and bonds with Skye. And Dominic seems to grow up a bit, too, even if he’ll never be worthy of Jane.

Aunt Claire makes friends with Turron who seems like he may some day be more than a friend.

Responsibility and Letting Go

Skye isn’t terribly comfortable being the OAP. She’s convinced she’s going to mess up and that in particular something horrible will happen to Batty. She takes copious notes which get ruined, and then she spends much of the book responding to the bits and pieces she can still read, such as being terrified that Batty will blow up. It’s a bit exaggerated, but never goes too far—fears aren’t always rational. She ends up not talking to Rosalind all summer because she doesn’t want to admit that things aren’t going perfectly.

Aunt Claire is also very conscious of not ruining Rosalind or Mr. Penderwick’s vacations. When she sprains her ankle badly enough that she needs to be on crutches, they agree not to tell anyone, even though it means the adult who’s supposed to be in charge is somewhat impaired in her responsibilities.

Rosalind and Mr. Penderwick need to let go, too. Rosalind worries that her sisters, Batty in particular, can’t survive without her. After years of being a mother figure as well as older sister, she needs to let go for a bit. But she’s very happy to be back with her family, and Skye is incredibly relieved to give back OAP responsibilities, even though everyone says she actually did quite a good job.

Kids Not Being Stupid

Batty decides she’s going to send Rosalind a letter by throwing it into the ocean. She knows better than to walk down to the ocean by herself, so Jeffrey helps her.

Jane falls and gets a bloody nose. A stranger stops to help her, but he acknowledges that she can’t get into a car with a stranger—she’s grateful that he says so, because she was wondering how to turn down his help. Then they find out that he’s a friend of their neighbor, so she can get a ride in the end.

Defying Expectations

Every Penderwick girl has been hopeless at music, so they assume that Batty is equally lacking in musical talent. It takes a lot of work before they finally realize that she’s serious about it and is actually good at it. At least there were other people who believed in her and encouraged her to learn music.

Keeping Secrets

It turns out that their friendly neighbor, Alec, is also Jeffrey’s long lost father. There are so many secrets here—Alec didn’t even know that Jeffrey was born, although he acknowledges that he should have figured it out. Jeffrey’s mom hid his birth from Alec and hid Alec’s identity from Jeffrey. Skye figures all of this out before Jeffrey knows—she has to sit on this secret until after Alec breaks the news to Jeffrey, because it’s not hers to share.

Jeffrey is very hurt and very angry with everyone, including Alec. Alec lets him be angry—he seems to handle it very well. The Penderwicks rally around Jeffrey, preventing his step-father from picking him up when Jeffrey isn’t ready to go home to face his mother yet.


While this is probably my least favorite of the three, it’s still a very charming book that I loved and highly recommend. You should definitely not start with this one, and you should definitely read the whole series. It’s appropriate for ages 8 and up, boys and girls alike.


The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
Published in 2011 by Yearling
Third in a series, following The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
Read our family copy




  1. This is a favorite series of my youngest!

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