Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (The Vanderbeekers #3)

Glaser, Karina Yan. The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue 
September 17th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Public library copy

The Vanderbeekers are excited because their mother is going to be interviewed by Perch magazine about her cookie business, which could lead to a lot more sales. When she is at another appointment when the health inspector visits, however, the kitchen fails the test due to all of the pets. Not wanting to dash their mother's dreams, the children keep up with preparing the house for the interview, getting free fuchsia paint for the living room and rescheduling another inspection without telling their parents. Meanwhile, more and more animals are showing up at their door, from dogs to kittens to chickens! There's not much time to get everything situated, especially since the parents seem oddly uninvolved in the whole process and an uncle takes the time away from preparations to build a tree house in the back yard. When the kitchen fails another inspection and the mother realizes she's been operating illegally for years, she wisely decides to brush up on her accounting skills. This isn't good enough for the children, who look into inexpensive places to rent. They actually find one, and their extended circle of family and friends help the mother put together a cat and cookie cafe.
Strengths: This is a great series for fans of The Penderwicks or of older titles like Enright's The Melendy Family. The children are given a lot of freedom to do whatever they want, there are animals and activities, and interesting and supportive neighbors. There is even a bit of mystery with the animals that are showing up on their doorstep.
Weaknesses: There is a lot of suspension of disbelief that is needed for these. The children do a lot of misguided things without their parents' consent, none of which end particularly well. You'd think by this time, the parents would have learned.
What I really think: I finally deaccessioned The Penderwicks because no one ever could be persuaded to check the first two books out, so I don't think I will purchase these. I do keep reading them because I enjoy them a bit, and in case this sort of family centered fiction is ever in demand in my library.

That said, the first book was chosen for our 6th grade Battle of the Books, so I now have six paperbacks that were purchased with grant  money. We'll see how the students like them.

1 comment:

  1. That makes me so sad that no one is reading The Penderwicks at your school. My girls loved this series but perhaps your audience is too old? My girls read them in elementary school. I hope that is the reason.