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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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A Season of Gifts Hardcover – September 17, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
Book 3 of 3 in the Living in Chicago Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—It's been a long while since readers last enjoyed a season with Grandma Dowdel, and what a startling, hilarious, and touching season it is. It is now 1958, a time when Elvis is king and the glow of television sets has replaced sitting on the porch for an evening. Yet as much as things have changed, Mrs. Dowdel has remained pretty much the same, living alone in the last house in town, pushing 90 and still toting her rifle, cooking up a storm and taking down the neighborhood hoodlums. What's new are the PKs (preacher's kids) who've moved in next door, including the 12-year-old narrator, Bob Barnhardt, an unassertive boy who has the misfortune of being welcomed to town in a most unneighborly fashion. Mrs. Dowdel intervenes and helps out the Barnhardts in her own inimitable way, proving herself as clever, capable, and downright amazing as ever and allowing Bob and his family to see just what a gift of a neighbor she is. With a storyteller's sure tone, Peck has once again created a whole world in one small Illinois town, a place where the folksy wisdom and generosity of one gruff old woman can change lives.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library END

Review

-This is one of Peck+s best novels yet-and that+s saying something.+-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 690L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; First Edition edition (September 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803730829
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803730823
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #539,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Grandma Dowdel is back, and she is as fearless and crafty as ever. Richard Peck manages to convey a child's point of view while fully realizing the adult characters. The figures of speech that come from his characters' mouths add to the humor. Peck's books are always finely tuned, and this is no exception. The setting, southern Illinois in 1958, is clearly drawn. From the first line, "You could see from here the house was haunted," to the last, this slim volume will leave you wanting more. My only fear is that Grandma Dowdel is twenty years older than when we last saw her, and I want her to go on forever.
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Format: Hardcover
Mrs. Dowdel (of A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago fame) is back, seen this time from the viewpoint of a preacher's son who has just moved into the house next door. As he and his family try to adjust and survive, they receive more than a little help from their crafty, indomitable next-door neighbor...though all given in her own, unique way.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Grandma Dowdel is still the same formidable figure we saw in the first two books, but we view her through the eyes of a neighboring boy who doesn't spend nearly as much time, or get nearly as involved, with her adventures as Joey and Mary Alice did. Where once we might have had Joey or Mary Alice report to the reader Grandma's exact reaction to hearing the price of a Christmas tree, we're stuck in this book with, "Mrs. Dowdel had a lot to say, reportedly."

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding book!! But then so are most of what Richard Peck has wrirtten. This book can be read as a single, but there are 2 others involving the main character lady. The story will make you laugh out loud yet does touch your heart at times (I even got chocked up at the end). It's the best! Written in the late 40's, 50's, and from a young boy's eyes, it is so worth reading (& buying as I've given it as gives both at Christmas and after)! It starts out good and only gets better as the story evolves (not hard reading either). I just LOVE it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another story in the wonderful saga of Grandma Dowdel. This time the plot revolves around the new neighbors who have moved to town to revive an old community church. Although the provincial reverend and his wife are unsure what to make of the eccentric Mrs. Dowdel, the children take to her right away and somehow she ends up in the middle of their adventures and misadventures. Although not as unforgettable as the classic, A Year Down Yonder, anyone who enjoyed the first Mrs. Dowdel novels, will enjoy this, too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This author brings back the memories of long ago.
Small town, simpler times, funny, moving, even suspenseful
at times. This book is one in a series of books about
Mrs. Dowdell and her visiting grandchildren. Check it out.
Perfect book-you won't want to put it down. Dingo
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is truly one of the best children's Christmas stories that I have ever read - and I've read most of them!! Richard Peck's stories of Grandma Dowdel are the very best in children's literature. I love reading them aloud to my grandchildren, and they sit there, spellbound, hanging on to every word.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I didn't think it could be done, but the return of Mrs.Dowdel and the related cast of characters from A YEAR DOWN YONDER kept me turning page after page, hungry for more. Introducing the new neighbors and using a holiday setting to conclude the tale were brilliant. Hopefully, Mrs. Dowdel will live on in future great books.
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