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A Season of Gifts Hardcover – September 17, 2009
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Collection of Five "Who Was" Biographies
In this box set, discover the life and times of five icons of black history and celebrate the difference they made in the world. Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
Richard Peck's writing in A Season of Gifts is as wonderful as ever...if not more so. Every sentence is perfectly crafted, and there are some so perfect, so unique, that they left me gaping. He writes a town you can see and smell and people you could touch (or maybe smack or maybe hug!). The plot is not his strongest...but with writing this crazy good, who cares?
On second thought...we do. Because with this kind of character development, this remarkable crafting, this extraordinary pacing--imagine what a plot with more depth would do. Quite honestly, it would take this from one of the best children's books written this year to one of the best children's books written ever.
And if you're looking for a great Christmas gift for someone with good taste in books...you found it.
Nor do the adventures themselves pack the same punch that they had before. Aside from the problem of being filtered through secondhand reports, they don't build up to the same sort of climax or punchline as they did before. I think this is because we don't get as many hints about Grandma Dowdel's plots as we did before. Instead, we hear a lot more about how she's busy baking all the time or she's constantly working the garden.
I am also disappointed by the main character. One of the things that made "A Year Down Yonder" great was that Mary Alice started displaying the same backbone and cunning that Grandma Dowdel had. Here, the main character either just takes orders from Grandma Dowdel or observes what's going on. He doesn't display much character depth or growth aside from eventually realizing that Grandma Dowdel is actually a good person. His own colorlessness is what most marred the book for me.
Overall, "A Season of Gifts" is not a bad book, but it isn't an especially good one. I hope we see more of Grandma Dowdel in the next book than we did in this one.
The novel is narrated by Bob Barnhart, the only son of the new Methodist minister in town, who relates the adventures of his two sisters, Pyllis and Ruth Ann, as they encounter the town's inhabitants. Bob is greeted by town hooligans in the most unusual way and rescued by the inimitable Grandma Dowdel. A poor family, the Barnharts are finally welcomed by the town in the most dramatic fashion. Peck begins with the start of the school year and works his way to the Christmas season, offering tales of crime, foolishness, good-natured revenge, superstition, and unorthodox neighborly deeds. All of them send the reader on a rollicking good time mixed with several stories calling up a bittersweet emotion.
"A Season of Gifts" is a fitting companion in the Grandma Dowdel saga, one that will surely make readers wish for more adventures featuring this one-of-a-kind character. Peck is a truly gifted children's writer, whose recent works far outshine many of his earlier works - a difficult task indeed. While obviously written for young adults, "A Season of Gifts" is a story for all ages and for all times of the year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
All of the books by Richard Peck are charming. The only downside is that they end too soon!Published 6 days ago by Kathleen Schrum
A great gift for all ages. It's hard to find well written books that focus on the good in people. Seems like everything is in reaction to misery and pain and mistreatment both... Read morePublished 4 months ago by BETH ANN HUGHES