Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)” as Want to Read:
A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Season of Gifts

(A Long Way from Chicago #3)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,678 ratings  ·  835 reviews
One of children's literature's most memorable characters returns in this Christmastime companion to the Newbery Medal-winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor-winning A Long Way from Chicago.

The eccentric, larger-than-life Grandma Dowdel is back in this heart-warming tale. Set 20 years after the events of A Year Down Yonder , it is now 1958 and a new family has moved
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 17th 2009 by Dial Books for Young Readers
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
Shey I'm currently reading the first book for school. (A Long Way From Chicago) Honestly, I'm in seventh grade and the book has been a piece of cake for…moreI'm currently reading the first book for school. (A Long Way From Chicago) Honestly, I'm in seventh grade and the book has been a piece of cake for me. Pretty much every book is these days.

There isn't really any swearing or inappropriate references, but some vocabulary is difficult, but the book is only about 150 pages.

I would rate the book anywhere from a fifth grade reading level for accelerated kids, and all the way to 8th or 9th grade for not very strong students.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,678 ratings  ·  835 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Season of Gifts (A Long Way from Chicago, #3)
I quote: "Hoo-boy!"
This is just a great series of young people's books, which of course can be read by all ages. And I quote: A rollicking celebration of an eccentric grandmother and childhood memories....
It's a series of three, A Year Down Yonder ( and A Long Way from Chicago ( are the other two previous ones, A Season of Gifts plays in 1958. It's all about Grandma Dowdel and a family who comes to live next to her
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Trouble is," Mrs. Dowdel observed, "after you've turned the other cheek four times, you run out of cheeks."

This is Peck's third go-round featuring the inimitable Grandma Dowdel, and though not as funny as A Long Way from Chicago, nor as touching as A Year Down Yonder, it's still a delightful read.

Though life inside and outside Grandma Dowdel's house hasn't changed much - she still needs to protect her privy every Halloween - the year is now 1958, and a young minister and his family have moved
Jason Koivu
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holidays, comedy, fiction
I don't know if Richard Peck's Grandma Dowdel trilogy is at all autobiographical, but it sure feels like it. It's very reminiscent of Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story, book three especially, since it adds the Christmas setting at the end. I've really enjoyed these books with their home-spun humor and am sad to finish them. Oh well, I'm getting older, so it probably won't be long before I've forgotten what happens in them and I can read them again as if for the first time!
This book is the third and final book in the (very short) A Long Way from Chicago Series. It is a moderately funny little story but I can see why the series stopped at this point. The characters changed from the sister and brother who visited their grandmother, Mrs. Dowdel, in the first two books to a "new" family in town who lived next door to her. She was up to her old antics, which was amusing, but I missed the original characters and I found some of the "humour" wasn't really funny. There ...more
Sep 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
da AL
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grandma to the rescue again!...
Maybe not as good as "A Year Down Yonder", but anything with Grandma Dowdel is interesting to me. Little Ruth Ann's way of adopting the sayings and mannerisms of Mrs. Dowdel made me laugh. A small disciple. "All her gifts were supposed to be secrets." That may be what I like most about Grandma D. she didn't want praise or attention. She had a hidden well of talents and an overflowing generous impulse. She makes abundance from almost nothing. Anyway, I could rave on. Read it yourself and see what ...more
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Linda Hart
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star
If you've never met Mrs. Dowdel, you are missing out. Richard Peck's award-winning books, A Long Way from Chicago, and A Year Down Yonder, tell the most comical and heart-warming tales, all centered around the one and only Grandma Dowdel - one of the most entertaining and memorable characters in all of children's literature, in my opinion.
This book focuses on the holiday season in the 1940s in this small town, and instead of experiencing Mrs. Dowdel through the eyes of her grandchildren, we see
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
THIS BOOK. While the narrator is no Mary Alice (or even Joey), and several of the stories had a familiar feel (being riffs off of similar stories in the preceding two books) I'm still glad to have this last glimpse of Grandma Dowdel. This book takes place approximately two decades after A Long Way From Chicago, and it's fun to see how all those nasty townspeople's children turned out. lol JUST KIDDING. But seriously, Grandma Dowdel- while holding fewer surprises for readers- is just as smart, ...more
Kelli Esplin
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
THIS is what I have come to love from Richard Peck! His stories from A Long Way From Chicago to this are just feel good stories. You love the antics Mrs. Dowdel puts on and puts up with! A wonderful book.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
There's a lot to love about this series, and a lot to cringe at. The fact that it uses all the sayings and idioms from my childhood gives it a serious nostalgic plus in my head. The exploitation of indigenous peoples' former lands not so much.
I know people like these, for better and for worse.
Emilee B.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I thought that this book had a great story line but it was a little bit boring for the first half and it took a while to get to the good part of the story. But overall I would recommend this book , especially if you like historical fiction.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
This wraps up the three A long Way from Chicago books for me and I loved each heart warming and humorous one.
Helena Sorensen
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We're so sad to leave Grandma Dowdel behind.
Ryan M. Hanna
Jan 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mrs. Dowdel is one of the best characters ever written.
Camie Hillegonds
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Richard Peck makes me chuckle throughout this entire book. His characters are so believable and so entertaining at the same time.
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
1958. Bob is a 6th grader and a preacher’s son. His family moves to a new town and next door to Mrs. Dowdel who is not a ‘church person’, not neighborly, and rumored to live with the ghost of an Indian woman. A good book that reminds us to give what we can, when we can.
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
Looks like I need to read the other two Grandma Dowdel books from Richard Peck--she was a hoot!
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Oct 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I laughed out loud on almost every page. This is a companion novel to Peck's "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder" both of which are AMAZING!

In this book Bob, the new preacher's boy, and his family just moved next door to Mrs. Dowdel. She is older (her grandson Joey is mentioned to be 25 years older than when we last knew him). But, Mrs. Dowdel is still the same old Mrs. Dowdel. She always knows what's going on and how to fix it--even if nobody else really agrees
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Jul 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
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,
Jun 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jackie B. - Death by Tsundoku
- This is the weakest of the trilogy, but I still love Grandma Dowdel. She's a brilliant character!
- Set 20 years after the previous book, 1958, we are apart from Grandma Dowdel's grandkids and now following the minster's children. I miss the familial connection, but I appreciate how different Ruth Ann and Bob are from the children in the previous books.
- Less character development happens in this book overall, with the potential exception of Grandma Dowel herself.
Too much proper bullying;
« 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  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Town Divided by Christmas
  • Christmas with Tucker (A Dog Named Christmas #0.5)
  • A Christmas Home (A Dog Named Christmas #2)
  • The Best Bad Luck I Ever Had
  • Beverly, Right Here
  • The Christmas Hope (Christmas Hope, #3)
  • The Christmas Doll
  • Deliver Us From Normal
  • The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog
  • Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
  • His Promise (The Amish of Hart County, #6)
  • Christmas Stories (from All the Year Around and Household Words)
  • The Christmas Note (Christmas Hope #6)
  • The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus
  • Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories
  • A Christmas Grace (Christmas Stories, #6)
  • A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas
  • The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story
See similar books…
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 Year Down Yonder (A Long Way from Chicago, #2)
“...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.” 8 likes
“Fiction isn't what 'was'. It's 'what if'?” 4 likes
More quotes…