Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Season of Gifts” as Want to Read:
A Season of Gifts
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago #3)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  3,047 Ratings  ·  714 Reviews
One of the most adored characters in children's literature is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Award-winning "A Year Down Yonder" and Newbery Honor-winning "A Long Way from Chicago." And it turns out that her story isn't over. It's now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel: a minister and his wife and kids. Soon ...more
Hardcover, 166 pages
Published October 14th 2010 by Turtleback Books (first published September 17th 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Season of Gifts, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Sydney I read A Year Down Yonder in 3rd grade, although back then I was a 7th-grade reading level and it was a piece of cake. I'm not sure what the…moreI read A Year Down Yonder in 3rd grade, although back then I was a 7th-grade reading level and it was a piece of cake. I'm not sure what the recommended is, but Accelerated Reader rates A Season Of Gifts 4.6 (meaning 4th grade around right after Christmas break)(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Linda Hart
Feb 14, 2015 Linda Hart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Light, easy read that is funny, heartwarming, and thought-provoking. l like the idea of an older woman being the centerpiece in this story! Mrs. Dowdel gives 'gifts' that can't be measured by size or price to the young family who moves into her neighborhood.
Sep 27, 2012 Melody rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My reaction to this, hard on the heels of the two excellent predecessors is a loud and incredulous, "What the HELL?"

It's well-written, technically. But it's soulless and awful and parts of it made my skin crawl. The Grandma Dowdel in this book is not even shirt-tail cousins with the Grandma Dowdel in the first two. And the stereotypes! Goodness me, the stereotypes.

Bah, humbug.
Jun 29, 2009 Tasha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Head back to the wonderful character of Grandma Dowdel. In this third novel, it is 1958 and a family has moved in next door to her. They are poor as church mice, appropriate since the father is a Methodist pastor. The children include Bob, who immediately falls prey to the town bullies in remarkable fashion. There is his older sister Phyllis, who is obsessed with Elvis and with one of the bullies who bears a resemblance to The King. And then there is his younger sister, Ruth Ann, who is a little ...more
Bewildered by accolades. I really expected to like this a lot (I can generally lay aside isolated incidences of racial insensitivity when I'm deciding how good a book is otherwise, or how much I like it), because I've liked many of Peck's other books, including the previous one in the series, A Year Down Yonder--I read that when it came out and commented that it was the best new kid's book I'd read in years. The writing is good here, of course, because it's Richard Peck; it's technically good. B ...more
Feb 14, 2010 Lora rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-lit
I liked reading about Grandma Dowdel again, but it just wasn't the same without Joey and Mary Alice. It was an okay read, but not something I would pick up right away.
Jul 23, 2016 Katy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once you find an author, you tend to read everything he or she writes. Richard Peck is one of my favorite children's author. I first started reading his books, based upon the recommendation of Dr. Worthington during an adolescent literature class I had in the 1980s and met one of his famous characters, Blossom Culp. But Grandma Dowd has a whole world, one of life experiences, on Blossom.

It's 1958. Three preacher kids (Phyllis, Ruth Ann, and the narrator) move to a small Midwest community because
Sep 05, 2012 Patti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was so anxious to read A Season of Gifts as the final episode after the hilariously entertaining A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. I even thought the picture on the front was delightful – but oh how the whole book left me baffled, and frankly disappointed.

It starts out with hijinks by the local bullies to the poor new kid, new neighbor of Grandma Dowdel. The Grandma Dowdel of “old” would have done something to avenge the obvious rotten bullies, leaving us laughing and having at
Dec 11, 2011 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This continuation of the story of Grandma (now Mrs.) Dowdel from A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder snuck up on me, and it's BEEN OUT FOR LIKE TWO YEARS. It was just as funny and sneaky insightful as its predecessors. While I miss Joey and especially Mary Alice, the three new preacher's kids: narrator Bob, Elvis-loving Phyllis and Ruth Ann are solid characters. Twelve-year-old Bob is anxty. Phyllis has some hilariously real 14-year-old experiences too spoilery to mention. But first g ...more
Jul 15, 2009 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, middle-grade
Richard Peck signed my prepublication copy of this book, due out in September 2009.

Set in small town Illinois, 1958, when World War 2 is still vivid, the cold war in full swing and pictures of young Elvis cover bedroom walls of high school girls.

At first glance, the story is about a preacher's family: elementary aged girl, middle grade brother and highschool bound sister. But it unfolds as a tale of generosity and friendship abundently shared with their cranky mountain of an old woman next door,
Jan 02, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Grandma Dowdel is back, 20 years after "A Year Down Yonder", in this bookend sequel to the the two previous novels that I loved. While not quite as good, any book that features Grandma Dowdel will be a winner with me. In this story, Grandma befriends a poor Methodist minister's family that moves in next door to her. All three children struggle fitting in, but Grandma manages to help the entire family settle in and succeed among the unique inhabitants of the town, in her own distinctive way. I mi ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Edie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Peck does it again, captures the heart of old time middle America with a preacher's family who move in next door to Grandma Dowdel. One of myh favorite characters is the little sister, Ruth Ann, who not only begins to spend lots of time with Grandma Dowdel, but to look, talk and act like her. A sweet read about a simpler life, where the bullies get their just desserts, parents (especially moms) can surprise their children, and kindness can be part of even the gruffest of personalities.
Dec 15, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My daughter-in-law's mother recommended this book. As I was looking for a pleasant, clean and uplifting Christmas book to read during the holidays, I jumped at the recommendation. I'm glad I did. I didn't get the book finished until after the New Year, but it helped me keep that warm, Christmas-y feeling just a little longer! This book takes place in the late 1950s in a small town. I was born in the early 1960s, so it seemed quite nostalgic to me. Thanks for the recommendation, Ruth!
Amy Carr
Sep 26, 2009 Amy Carr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! I would dare say that Richard Peck has become one of my favorite authors of all time! This book brings back the fantastic character of Grandma Dowdle (Long Way From Chicago and a Year Down Under) and tells a funny, touching story from the point of view of a 12-year old preacher's son who has just moved next door to Grandma Dowdle and learns some valuable lessons about living and serving. I loved this story and thought it had a FANTASTIC message!
Jun 04, 2009 Karlan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grandma Dowdel, the shotgun toting woman of A YEAR DOWN YONDER and A LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, stars again in a delightful story. The year is 1958, so her grandchildren are grown, but a new family of 5 next door needs her help. There are laugh out loud episodes and clever solutions to problems, too. This is sure to be a hit and can stand alone just fine.
Probably more 3.5 stars. I liked it well enough - Ruth Ann was such a great kid, Mrs. Dowdel fun and interesting, and Bob's adventures were amusing (even if he was one of the least fleshed out narrators I've come across). It felt kind of thin and shallow, plot-wise, though. I liked it, but a lot of the same things happened in the Blossom books, only in better detail.
Jun 22, 2009 Christy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first two books in this series, A Long Way From Chicago, and A Year Down Yonder, were fantastic. A Season of Gifts is better. Richard Peck ties apparently unrelated events together so that the whole book suddenly pulls tight like a corset in the end. Grandma Dowdle never fails to surprise and delight. An easy 5 stars.
Karla Malaca
May 06, 2016 Karla Malaca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was about a family moved next door of Ms. Dowdel and will give them gifts that are really just for life time. I like this book because it has some up's and down's. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read about Christmas and holidays.
Arthur Alfaro
May 13, 2015 Arthur Alfaro rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I like this story because it is funny. and the book is about a guy that live in a house that look haunted and everybody thought he was mean but inside he is nice so he gave people present on christmas
Oct 28, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable look at Grandma Dowdel's antics through the eyes of a slightly cynical, reclusive preacher's son. I'd hoped it would be more Christmassy, but no matter the time of year, it was a wonderful book.
This interesting book is about a kid that was trying to find about women passing out gifts to his neighborhood until he found out for her every day is Christmas. I liked this boom because it gave me a lesson about when you see a person and you judged them without knowing they are like
This was my non-print source. I listened to this book on CD. I appreciated the reader, John McLarty's, voice because the previous books I listened to on CD were read by women. It was nice to hear a man read the story, and he didn't raise his voice for the female parts either!
May 24, 2010 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Fabulous book, of course. Every bit as hilarious and poignant as A Long Way from Chicago. I’m thinking of making this one of my annual Christmas books.
Abby Johnson
Oct 08, 2009 Abby Johnson rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Granny Dowdell is back, this time helping out new neighbors in 1958. The nostalgia factor is high and it's an often-funny gentle read, but Richard Peck doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid.
Christian McKay
That does it. Richard Peck is my favorite middle-grade writer today. More charm in a single paragraph than most books have from cover to cover.
This week must be Richard Peck week. I have very much enjoy reading these tales about Grandma Dowdel. This book is as funny as the other two, maybe more so.
Feb 18, 2013 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very good read not quite as good as "A Year Down Yonder" but really good just the same.
Michael Fitzgerald
An OK sequel. Not essential.

Narrator had some issues with Bible citations. No one in the US, in that little town would say "One Corinthians Nine Nineteen" or something like that. While it's written I Corinthians 9:19, they would say "First Corinthians, chapter 9, verse 19." Also, giblets starts like gin, not like gizzard.
Dec 16, 2016 Elzbeth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Darcie Saunier
Mar 09, 2017 Darcie Saunier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the books by Richard Peck! His characters are just that -- absolute characters! They are so full of life and personality. I love the humor he interjects into them and into the narrative. His stories are lively and fun. They are a great read for all ages.
Jessica Morgan
Dec 18, 2016 Jessica Morgan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So nice to be back with Grandma Dowdel and her shenanigans. Her heart has no bounds and she gets to influence another family. A terrific, down home, story.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: #35 A Season of Gifts 1 1 Jun 08, 2015 06:02PM  
Caliber Beta Dragons: A Season of Gifts 4 5 Apr 30, 2015 02:18PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck 2 4 Dec 09, 2012 02:58PM  
  • The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
  • When the Whistle Blows
  • The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg
  • Peace, Locomotion
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green
  • Al Capone Shines My Shoes (Al Capone at Alcatraz, #2)
  • The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West
  • Maggie's Door (Nory Ryan #2)
  • Lucky Breaks (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #2)
  • Heart of a Shepherd
  • When I Crossed No-Bob
  • The Last Newspaper Boy in America
  • Little Audrey
  • The Misadventures of Maude March (Maude March Misadventures #1)
  • The Silver Spoon of Solomon Snow
  • Crunch
  • Winnie's War
  • The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (Enola Holmes, #5)
Richard Peck is an American novelist known for his prolific contributions to modern young adult literature. He was awarded the Newbery Medal in 2001 for his novel A Year Down Yonder.

Richard Peck was born in 1934 in Decatur, Illinois, a town he describes as quiet and safe. His mother, Virginia, was a dietitian and his father, Wayne, was a merchant who often rode his Harley Davidson to work.

More about Richard Peck...

Other Books in the Series

A Long Way from Chicago (3 books)
  • A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago, #1)
  • A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)

Share This Book

“...they'd just tell you to turn the other cheek, wouldn't they?...Trouble is, Mrs. Dowdel observed, after you've turned the other cheek four times, you run out of cheeks.” 7 likes
“Fiction isn't what 'was'. It's 'what if'?” 4 likes
More quotes…