Friday, January 1, 2010

Richard Peck's latest is fantastic: Grandma Dowdel is back!

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck covers August - December of 1958 in rural Illinois. Like its predecessors "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder" ( Newbery Honor and Newbery Award winners respectively) Mrs. Dowdel plays a crucial role in the lives of these realistic fiction characters. Characters like Mrs. Dowdel take on a life of their own, staying with readers long after the book is finished. Mr. Peck gives his readers a third encounter with this larger-than-life person. 12 year old Bob Barnhart retells the months in his life when his minister dad, his mom and two sisters moved to a small rural town in Illinois. It does not take long for the irrepressible and astute Mrs. Dowdel to come into Bob's life. As the laugh out load story zips along, Bob will slowly come to understand the wisdom and power that is Grandma Dowdel as will the rest of his family and probably you, the reader. One not to miss!

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