A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
Publication Date: September 2009
(Audio book from the Library)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Borders, IndieBound
If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library
Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):
One of the most adored children's book characters of all time is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newberry Medal-winning A Year Down Yonder and Newberry Honor-winning A Long Way From Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn't over-not even close.
It's now 1958 and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel-a family in desperate need of her help (whether they realize it or not). There's twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phyllis, who just might be on the verge of spinning out of control; Bob's little sister Ruth Ann ready and waiting for a larger-than-life role model; and even Bob's two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital. As Christmas rolls around , the whole family will realize they've found a true home....
A Season of Gifts by award-winning author, Richard Peck is the third book he's written about the infamous Grandma Dowdel. With superb storytelling and a way with words that really captures the essence of a small town in the 1950's, Peck has another winner on his hands.
Grandma Dowdel has new neighbors. A young minister and his family have moved to town to make the old ramshackle church into a place for the Methodist congregation. But they don't know what they've gotten into and it's to Mrs. Dowdel to show them a few things about life in a small town where bullies reside and legends abound.
The story is told from twelve-year-old Bob's point of view. His family has moved to a new town, where they know no one and their next door neighbor is a woman who carries a shotgun and stirs up concoctions in a big pot in her yard. Bob learns a lot about courage from Mrs. Dowdel and his sister Phyllis learns a lot about love and growing up. Ruth Ann finds a friend and someone to look up to. Bob's parents find out what being a preacher's family is all about.
I really enjoyed the antics of Mrs. Dowdel. I had not had the privilege to read the other two books about Grandma Dowdel but I'm sure I will in the near future. Mrs. Dowdel reminded me so much of my grandmother it wasn't funny. Peck does such a wonderful job of taking us back to what it was like growing up in a small town in the 1950's. His descriptions were wonderful and I could just see Bob hanging up in the out-house trussed up with fishing line, or the surprise on Mrs. Dowdel's face when she realized they had just cut Christmas Tree's from someone's back yard...LOL!
The cast of characters in this book was just a lot of fun to read about. Phyllis who was obsessed with Elvis was a real joy and little Ruth Ann who wanted to be a carbon copy of Mrs. Dowdel was so much fun. The characters were well written and I believe this book would be a great read aloud. It is recommended for ages 12 and up, but it's really a book for the entire family. Mrs. Dowdel, who doesn't "neighbor" and doesn't do "Christmas" showed that the gifts we give those around us all year long matter more than just one day out of the year. In my opinion her Christmas Spirit lived all year long. I loved this one and would recommend it to anyone who wants a great Christmas read or just a book with lots of fun and humor.
A Season of Gifts is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!