Penderwicks-lovers: don't despair as you wait for book 3! This lovely out-of-print gem will tide you over with its funny, charming and everyday slice-of-life stories.
Family Grandstand centers on the Ridgeways, Susan, George and Irene (called "Dumpling" because of her "roundness in the middle"). It's football season in Midwest City and, seeing as their father is a professor at the university and they live in a house that overlooks the football field by means of a tower, the three are very involved in the excitement of it all. From the first game of the season to homecoming, a lot else happens at the Ridgeway household including Susan learning how to deal with babysitting the Terrible Torrences, George adopting an immensely oversized dog and five very discontented turtles for his birthday, and Dumpling trying very, very hard to be very, very good after misunderstanding an overheard conversation. All this is told with Carol Ryrie Brink's brand of dry humor and gentle literary slapstick.
I have been reading Ms. Brink's books since I was little, and this one, as well as the second in the series, Family Sabbatical, are among my favorites. Her characters are completely three-dimensional and entirely identifiable. I know there are plenty of children's book readers who don't like "old-timey" books and I imagine that they would probably categorize this book in that group. But I guess I'd use the clichéd word "timeless" for this book; it's proven to be that for me!