Before Thanksgiving break, we picked up The Penderwicks on Gardam Street from the library, along with the audio CDs of the same book. This is the sequel, published just last year (2008), to the original (2005) The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.
These charming books feature a widowed father of four daughters named Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty. Mr. Penderwick is an academic who happens to sprinkle Latin throughout his everyday discourse with his daughters. Consider this delightful exchange following a soccer-game brawl in which Skye lost her temper (p. 49-50):
Mr. Penderwick sighed. "How I came to be surrounded by such war-like women is beyond me. Rosalind, give me the Latin for 'war.'"As it happens, bellum, belli is a recent vocabulary word for Hope and Sydney. And, perhaps it is a coincidence, but both girls are enjoying Latin class this week, interrupting our recitations with voices eager to tell me about just such passages as this one from The Penderwicks on Gardam Street.
"I know that," said Rosalind, pleased with the change of subject. "Bellum, belli"
"Correct. And from bellum came bellatrix, which means 'female warrior.'"
"Bellatrix Penderwick!" Jane put up her fists, longing for the chance to show the world a true female warrior. Batty, unwilling to be any less of one, put up her fists in challenge.