Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

Title: A Season Of Gifts
Author: Richard Peck
Genre: Holiday (Christmas), Young Adult

Rating: 4/5
No. of Pages: 208 (Audio) – Library Book
Published: 2009

Back Cover: One of the most adored children’s book characters of all time is the sccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Medal – winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn’t over – not even close.

It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel – a family in desperate need of her help (weather 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; 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 that they’ve found a true home, and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.

Mine: I have to admit I hadn’t heard of the other books, but will definitely be trying to check them out at the library.

What a delightful story of the time. The new minister and his family move next door the very eccentric Mrs. Dowdel. The stranger soon become the families protector in so many ways. Phyllis get in trouble with the town’s bad boy who is much older. Bob gets dunked and tied up by the town pack of bullies and Ruth Ann is just find her place.

The comic relief helps the story move along and make for cute antedotes throughout. Stealing from the pumpkin patch, cutting the trees down from someone’s backyard and the best comes from the “Pickle” the green family car.

The gifts that come from Mrs. Dowdel are not obvious, but are the ones that are needed the most – the courage to fight back, the idea that a person can make a difference and that of a person that is a good neighbor.

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