Abby's Reviews > A Year Down Yonder

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck
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's review
Jul 10, 2012

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Read in July, 2012

A book set in 1937, during the great depression, 15-year-old Mary Alice is sent to live with her Grandmother in southern Illinois because her parents cannot afford to care for her during such times. She is a city girl looking for her place 'down yonder'. Usually a year with grandma wouldn't be so bad, but Grandma Dowdel is no ordinary grandma, she is a fiesty woman who is feared by those around her and is always unpredictable! Throughout the story Mary Alice goes on many adventures with her crazy grandmother from playing pranks on the school bully to stealing pumpkins from others to make a pie. I found myself giggling aloud throughout the story. The Grandmother is just the opposite of my grandmother that I could only picture in my head what this woman was all about. Although Mary Alice is unhappy in the beginning to be leaving the city and living with her grandmother, you can tell why her feelings change throughout the story. There is no way you can't love Grandma Dowdel. Although it seems she may be a crazy old lady, she has everybody's best interest at heart which makes you love her more.
This book is a short read and I would recommend this book for kids between fifth and sixth grade. It had pretty simple vocabulary, and was definitely a book kids would get a kick out of. I could see myself reading this story with kids when doing a unit on family. It didn't have much to do with the Great Depression, although that's when it was set. You could have kids write a letter to Grandma Dowdel and ask her questions about why she is the way she is. You could also have kids interview their own grandmothers to ask them stories of when they were growing up.

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