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A Year Down Yonder Paperback – November 21, 2002

268 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Living in Chicago Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

Grandma Dowdel's back! She's just as feisty and terrifying and goodhearted as she was in Richard Peck's A Long Way from Chicago, and every bit as funny. In the first book, a Newbery Honor winner, Grandma's rampages were seen through the eyes of her grandson Joey, who, with his sister, Mary Alice, was sent down from Chicago for a week every summer to visit. But now it's 1937 and Joey has gone off to work for the Civilian Conservation Corps, while 15-year-old Mary Alice has to go stay with Grandma alone--for a whole year, maybe longer. From the very first moment when she arrives at the depot clutching her Philco portable radio and her cat, Bootsie, Mary Alice knows it won't be easy. And it's not. She has to sleep alone in the attic, attend a hick town school where in spite of her worn-out coat she's "the rich girl from Chicago," and be an accomplice in Grandma's outrageous schemes to run the town her own way--and do good while nobody's looking. But being Grandma's sidekick is always interesting, and by the end of the year, Mary Alice has grown to see the formidable love in the heart of her formidable Grandma.

Peck is at his best with these hilarious stories that rest solidly within the American literary tradition of Mark Twain and Bret Harte. Teachers will cherish them as great read-alouds, and older teens will gain historical perspective from this lively picture of the depression years in small-town America. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this Newbery Honor book, Chicago-bred Mary Alice has been sentenced to a year-long stay in rural Illinois with her irrepressible, rough and gruff grandmother. Soon, however, she becomes Grandma's partner in crime, helping to carry out madcap schemes to benefit friends and avenge enemies. In a starred review, PW called this sequel to A Long Way to Chicago "hilarious and poignant." Ages 10-14.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0610 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (November 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142300705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Peck has written over twenty novels, and in the process has become one of America's most highly respected writers for young adults. A versatile writer, he is beloved by middle graders as well as young adults for his mysteries and coming-of-age novels. He now lives in New York City. In addition to writing, he spends a great deal of time traveling around the country attending speaking engagements at conferences, schools and libraries...Mr. Peck has won a number of major awards for the body of his work, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award from School Library Journal, the National Council of Teachers of English/ALAN Award, and the 1991 Medallion from the University of Southern Mississippi. Virtually every publication and association in the field of children s literature has recommended his books, including Mystery Writers of America which twice gave him their Edgar Allan Poe Award. Dial Books for Young Readers is honored to welcome Richard Peck to its list with Lost in Cyberspace and its sequel The Great Interactive Dream Machine...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

86 of 91 people found the following review helpful By kennedy19 on February 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I don't always necessarily enjoy the books that win the Newbery Award, but this one is deserving. I can honestly say I would recommend it for anyone in 5th grade right on up to senior citizens. ("A Year Down Yonder" also stands alone very well - you don't need to have read "A Long Way From Chicago" in order to understand or enjoy this one.) The narrator is a 15 year old girl who is sent from Chicago to live with her grandmother in a rural town during the depression. We quickly come to appreciate the comic aspects of small-town life, but most especially we enjoy the wily ways of the grandmother, who is nobody's fool and mischievous to boot. At the same time, we admire her toughness and the warm heart behind the hard exterior. Each chapter is an amusing anecdote all its own, as we follow the town through a year from fall to summer. Small town incidents like halloween pranks, Christmas plays, ladies' luncheons and big storms become masterfully funny stories. Moments of this coming-of-age story are genuinely touching, while mirth prevails throughout. You will have a great time reading this one.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Julie Hamlin on January 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder chronicles the zany adventures of Grandma Dowdel and her granddaughter Mary Alice. Raised in Chicago, Mary Alice is in for quite a shock when she finds herself sent to live with her grandmother in a country town in 1937. Although Mary Alice has a hard time adjusting (she has to learn to keep her beloved cat Bootsie outside and play her Philco portable radio at night in bed), she grows accustomed to the wacky way of living in which her grandmother has grown to love. Whether Mary Alice is helping her grandmother steal pecans to make a pie or making tarts for the Auxiliary Ladies, she never forgets her family and how much they mean to her. As the story draws to a close, Mary Alice finds herself closer to her grandmother than she ever thought would happen when she moved from Chicago.
This book does everything it can to keep the reader interested. From Grandma Dowdel's outrageous acts to Mary Alice's adventures in school, this book is never boring. In fact, it's hard to put down! The characters are extremely well developed and the detailed descriptions of the crazy stunts Grandma Dowdel and Mary Alice take part in are wonderful. In some way, every reader would be able to relate to the characters-whether it being the new kid on the block like Mary Alice or having a silly relative like Grandma Dowdel. If you are ever looking for a book that has wonderful humor, a lot of adventure or a sense or realism, A Year Down Yonder is a top pick!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By impossible girl on November 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book, the sequel to "A Long Way from Chicago", is worthy of attention too (I hope the Newbery committee considers it). It is just as funny as the original, which won a Newbery Honor.
Poor Mary Alice! She is sent to Grandma's house for a year, while her parents get back on their feet after the depression. In this book, Mary Alice is fifteen and can't think of anything worse than spending time in a tiny place, so unlike her hometown of Chicago.
This book finds all new adventures for Mary Alice and her eccentric grandmother, from the glue that will hold "till kingdom come" to the cherry tarts for the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution)tea, the fun just keeps coming. This book will make you laugh out loud and is a quick, enjoyable read.
Definitely a MUST READ for fans of "A Long Way from Chicago".
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dave Richardson on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Richard Peck does it again and does it better with A Year Down Yonder. It's hard to believe that anything could top the award winning A Long Way from Chicago, but this does. This time Mary Alice goes to live with Grandma Dowdel alone, and the results are hilarious. Mary, who was always more wise to the ways of her grandmother, learns a few new things about the town and her grandmother while managing to cause a stir herself. Once again, Grandma Dowdel's antics are both humorous and heart-warming, but it's her commentaries about the people of the town that make it a side-splitting riot. A Year Down Yonder is a must read.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 1, 2007
Format: Paperback
I am a 6th grader snd in my class we had to pick a award winning book, i picked A Year Down Yonder. I will tell you a little about the book and maybe you will read this book too.

Mary-Alice is a 15 year old rich girl from Chicago who moved to a small farm town because of the recession in 1937. She is outspoken and well educated. But the real struggle is dealing with her out of the ordinary Grandmother. The book, A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck tells the story of the pair of mix matched family members learning to understand each other.

This realistic fiction book is about Mary-Alice and her Grandma. Mary Alice has many unexpected adventures with her grandmother throughout the book.

Mary Alice is not accepted by the kids at the small school. She is befriended by a shy local girl, Ina Rae. Although they are very different they become good friends.

Mary Alice shares many interesting situations with her Grandmother and slowly learns to appreciate the quality of life that she can have outside of the city. She eventually marries a local boy named Royce. Do you think she will stay in this hick town or move back to the city?

I think the theme of this book is not to judge a place or person before getting to know it. Mary-Alice started out not liking her Grandmother's small town but in the end enjoyed her life there and met her future husband there too.

I would recommend this book if you like humor.
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