Tasha's Reviews > A Season of Gifts

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck
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Jun 29, 09

bookshelves: childrens-books
Read in June, 2009

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 lost until she meet Grandma Dowdel. This delightful novel tells the story of the year the family spends next door to Grandma Dowdel who insists that she is neither neighborly or church going, yet manages to always be both.

Peck’s characterizations are as always clever and revealing. He has such a gentle touch with his characters even as he is showing far more of their psyche and personality than one might realize. Peck’s humor has a vintage feel as is appropriate to the time and place. It is uproariously funny. After reading two werewolf books (and setting both aside) it was a real breath of fresh cold air to read Peck’s novel.

Tightly plotted, humorous and beautifully wrapped up in the end, this book is a real treat. Appropriate for ages 8-12, I can see entire families enjoying this one as a read aloud. Classrooms would also enjoy the escapades and fun while learning a touch of history along the way.
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