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A Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)
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A Year Down Yonder

(A Long Way from Chicago #2)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  26,333 ratings  ·  1,777 reviews
Mary Alice remembers childhood summers packed with drama. At fifteen, she faces a whole long year with Grandma Dowdel, well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else. All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not.

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Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 21st 2002 by Puffin Books (first published 2000)
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With her father out of work during the Great Depression, Mary Alice, the female half of the Windy City siblings that we met in A Long Way from Chicago, returns to stay not just for a week in the summer, but for a WHOLE YEAR at Grandma Dowdel's place. Though her Grandma is still as feisty as ever, Mary Alice has grown a bit, and she's not looking forward to spending so much time in that tiny town. The year passes quickly, though, and thanks to Grandma Dowdel, rather eventfully, what with all the ...more
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age, kids
Gorgeous kid's book for all ages. Grandma is really hilarious.
A laugh and a (happy) tear. A fun read. Makes you feel good.
I read A long way from Chicago, the first book, years ago and been meaning to read this one for a long time. And my, is it worthed.

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois own had been packed with enough surprises and drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she's fifteen, and with her parents facing hard times in Chic
Mary Alice’s father had lost his job so her parents moved to a small room only suitable for two, sending her brother Joey in one direction and Mary Alice in the other; she was to stay with Grandma Dowdel for a year. Mary Alice was fifteen and couldn’t imagine not seeing her friends, having a telephone or the internet or even television – starting a new school made her nervous! With her previous visits to her Grandma’s having been spent with Joey and only for a week, she had no idea how she would ...more
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My 5th and 6th graders are currently reading this book. It's quite delightful. I started the audio book on the way home from work and couldn't turn it off.

I adore big-boned Grandma Dowdel, with her crafty schemes, her happy trigger finger, and her "eyes in the back of her heart." Some of her ornery sayings and unexpected pranks had me laughing out loud. And best of all, her bold, pushy, cantankerous exterior hides her tender, compassionate, unselfish interior. Watching Mary Alice grow to care f
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, cozy, funny
This was a laugh out loud short that I could have listened to for hours more. The small town, rural, characters are the very best!! All are so creative and quite different that I could not wait to see what they would do next. Grandma is someone I would love to know. This is a series I won't miss.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: award-winners
3.5 stars. I did not really care much for Mary Alice, who is sent to spend the year with her kooky grandmother because her parents cannot afford to feed her in the late 1930's. On the other hand, I really liked the grandmother, who is a hoot and a prankster, wreaking mischief both on deserving teenagers and adults. My favorite quote from the grandmother about how much easier life was then: "When I was a girl, we had to walk in our sleep to keep from freezing to death." This is a feel good story ...more
The other John
I think this is a first. Never before have I read a sequel before reading the original novel. (At least as far as I can recall.) (The Discworld books don't count. They aren't organized in a proper order, are they? You can't call a book a sequel unless it's called a sequel on the cover.) (Well, I suppose I can make an exception if it has a number on the spine.) I usually hold out for the original, but in this case my daughter's curriculum assigned her to read this volume and, unlike my daughter, ...more
L11_Ryanne Szydlik
Mar 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I did not want this book to end! It's one of those stories that you read it to just enjoy it, not just to see how it ends. This is a story about a young girl from Chicago who is sent to live with her Grandmother. Her grandmother's life style is very far removed from what Mary Alice has ever know because her grandmother is pure country. She is so country that even the townspeople are afraid of Grandma Dowdel. In Mary Alice's year stay with grandma she has many life experiences that will follow he ...more
Anne Slater
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The cover shown above has none of the character of the Scholastic Press edition.... I stayed in bed to read this book this morning. You'd do well to do the same, or to sit down in front of a fire with a cup of tea and a couple of cookies...

A Year Down Yonder is a sequel to A Long Way from Chicago. Same cast of characters, different layout.
Mary Alice, Joey's younger sister, is the narrator. She is about 15. The recession following the Depression and preceding the war means that MA's parents have
Apr 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's funny because when I think about the Grandma Dowdel books, I tend to remember not being as impressed by Grandma as the rest of the world seems to be (the children's literature world, anyway.) But when I actually read the books, I am won over completely. I'm not sure why my memory works that way.

What I particularly liked about this book was that it was a lesson in show-don't-tell emotions. Grandma Dowdel is a gruff, rough, occasionally mean old woman. But she also has a caring heart, though
Duffy Pratt
Mar 26, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens
During the depression, a fifteen year old girl goes from Chicago to the countryside to stay with her grandmother for a year. The grandmother is the kind of person that other people would call a "character". The book relates some of her strategems and antics, and they tend to range from amusing to very funny.

My trouble with the book is that it has no story, and no drive. Rather, each chapter centers on some Holiday during the year. And with each Holiday, we get another droll incident about someth
Ellie Vinehout
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Everything seems to be going well until the great depression hits Mary Alice's family. Her dad lost his job and her family moved into an old apartment for 7 dollars a week. To save money, Mary Alice is sent to her grandma Dowels quiet Illinois town, with a tiny little school house. At first Mary Alice longs to go back to Chicago, but after she meets new friends and goes on new adventure with her over weight, peppy grandma, all she wants to do is stay.
Sep 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Listened to this with my true love. I wasn't the only one sniffling at the ending.

I love this book with all my heart. Grandma Dowdel reminds me a lot of my own grandmother, and listening to this brings her back a little. I love the cats in the cob house, and what happens when the tornado comes to town. I love how Joey is and isn't here for the whole book, just like real life.

It's absolutely splendid, and a lovely narrator doesn't hurt a bit. Highly recommended.
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Hoo-boy!" Yeah. I really got into this. I laughed and laughed. Grandma Dowdel is my hero. I don't even know what to say! Sometimes I wonder what the feminists are going on about. Look at Grandma Dowdel, sure she's a fictional character, but I've met facets of her in many real life women. Strong, full of character, tough (as in enduring), deep-rooted in love and generosity, skilled in essential living-on-nothing, canny as a snake, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - enormously beautiful as a human ...more
Connie D
This was a very endearing and amusing book. The writer is going into her senior year of high school during the Depression and her parents, out of jobs, can't afford to support her in they send her to stay with her rather kooky grandmother and go to the little schoolhouse in the tiny town.
I've not read any other books by this author, but I'm sure that will change now. Set during the Depression, this is definitely not a depressing book, but is full of humor. When her parents lose their home our 15 year-old heroine is sent from Chicago to live with her backwoods Grandma in lower Illinois, for an entire school year. Feeling awkward and rather in awe of her outspoken, gun-toting Grandmother, she doesn't want to go and has some trouble settling in. But eventually she finds her place, ...more
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star, humorous
The Adventures of Grandma Dowdel, part 2, is as good or better than Peck's first in this series, "A Long Way from Chicago." As far as I'm concerned, Grandma Dowdel is one of the most memorable characters in all of kids literature! Both she and this book are hysterically funny, heart-warming, clever, inspiring. Mary Alice's character develops beautifully here, as she learns and matures and adopts some of her grandmother's most endearing traits through her year living with her. I only wish Peck ha ...more
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I re-read this one for our Battle of the Books competition at school. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy Richard Peck's books!
Jul 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-stars, rtc
This was a hysterical book and it made me laugh so many times! I loved it so much. Just the stories he has... it's not one of those books that has a point at the end or anything like that, but it's one that, if you're old enough, you notice -- one of those books where the characters change subtly so that by the end they've gotten much more mature or changed some other way.

This was a really sweet book because you can see Joey understand his grandmother more. And that makes it sound like a dumb st
Emma Jane
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favorites
This is exactly the kind of book I love to lose myself in. No, I take that back; this is exactly the kind of book I find myself in. In these pages I took a jaunt back to another, simpler time, where the people fascinated and inspired me, and quickly became my friends. A Year Down Yonder is a book that made me snicker, took me to tears, and gave me a deep-down sense of home. I loved it from page one to the end, and everything in between.

Richard Peck may be the only male author I know of who can
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
- A wonderful, worthy Newbery winner! Grandma Dowdel is back, but Mary Alice holds her own!
- The audiobook make me laugh aloud multiple times. Despite this, the humor wasn't as strong as the previous book. But the heartwarming nature sold me. I'm completely in love with the relationship between Grandma Dowdel and Mary Alice.
- Grandma dowdel is an incredible character. She's unique, distinct, and powerful. I love how she influences those around her subtly and overtly.
- Like the first book, e
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful story that will make you smile and feel good. Newberry Award winner/ young audience/ and for the young at heart.
Grandma Dowdel steals the show in this tale of her granddaughter who comes to stay with her for a year. Following The Great Depression, times are still hard for most of America and families helped each other however they could. This reminded me a lot of my father's story and how he spent a year on a farm with his aunt and uncle right around the time that the story was set
D.G. Driver
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a charming book and quite short. It is about a teen girl from Chicago during the Depression who goes to stay for a year in rural Illinois with her quirky grandmother. It is really a series of vignettes about this year, and it's a great character study of the grandmother. Oddly, the main character, Mary Alice, isn't terribly interesting or play much of a role in this book except to merely watch and tell the story. It reads a bit more like a memoir than a novel, and the fact that I listene ...more
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It’s the Depression, and Mary Alice is fifteen. Her dad has just lost his job. Consequently, the family needs to move from their apartment in Chicago to a “room with light housework”. Her brother joined the Civilian Conservation Corps to plant trees. Mary Alice must go stay with her grandma. Wabash is a big change from Chicago! No tv, electricity or indoor bathrooms. How will she survive?

This is a well-written and hilarious story. The characters are all well-defined, especially Grandma Dowdel. T
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Goodness, did I ever enjoy this. It is old-fashioned, but charming, witty and humorous.

This is the sort of book that adults could definitely enjoy. I will definitely try this book out on my daughter when she's a couple years older. I sure hope she enjoys it too.

I don't want to spoil any of it, so, I'm not going to share any further details. The grandmother is the fun character. The characters feel like they are the extended family I used to sit around the kitchen table having coffee with, befo
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-bowl
3/5- I liked it
I liked it more than i honestly thought I would since I'm being forced to read it. It has hilarious and heart-warming events. The only thing that bothered me was that the ending was SUPER fast. By super, i mean extremely super. Like seriously. I'll give it a half point back since it was only 130 pages and fast endings are expected. Grandma Dowdel was a really smart, funny, and cunning character who I came to love alot. Mary Alice Dowdel was a pretty cliché character, but that's ex
Juli Anna
Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
I remember loving this one as a kid, and I certainly enjoyed it this time around. Peck's humor is spot-on, and his characterizations are truly delightful. Frankly, I think this book lacks the punch of some of its contemporary Newbery winners, but it's still an enjoyable tale.
Kris W
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A well-deserved 5 stars for this heart-warming little gem. GSD B of B 2017-18.
This book is just as good as the first one, and I'm glad I re-read it! One question, though- why is this series not called "Grandma Dowdel"? *shakes head in confusion*
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still such a fun read. Re-read for the Battle of the Books.
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a country year! 3 17 Jan 04, 2014 06:48PM  
APSU Children's L...: Reflection on Down Yonder 2 5 Apr 22, 2013 06:51AM  
APSU Children's L...: Grandma Dowdel is the real McCoy!!! 7 12 Apr 21, 2013 08:40PM  
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Richard Peck was 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. For his cumulative contribution to young-adult literature, he received the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association in 1990.

Other books in the series

A Long Way from Chicago (3 books)
  • A Long Way from Chicago (A Long Way from Chicago, #1)
  • A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)
“Anyone who thinks small towns are friendlier than big cities lives in a big city.” 40 likes
“Grandma, how old is she?"
"Oh I don't know." Grandma said. "You'd have to cut off her head and count the rings in her neck.”
More quotes…