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A Year Down Yonder Paperback – November 21, 2002
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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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Top Customer Reviews
She grows into adulthood with her grandma.
Grandma has a personal and unsuspecting way to solve different situations. The author did a very good job in describing the dynamics of the characters and keeps the reader's attention constant to the plot.
The author illustrates and solves problems through short shores. The actions are unexpected and many times funny. All the plots in the book keep the attention of the reader.
The story gives opportunities for the reader to analyze many different relationships and to think about life, losses, self defense, helpfulness and love.
The book is intended for teenaged but I recommend it also for adults. This book shows how people's problems can be solved in different ways.
The grandmother loves this child and shows it often even though there is no money to spare. She is a creative woman, not too bothered with who owns what (like the pecans and pumpkins), but she puts these ingredients to use by "saving" the Halloween feast and serving up the bounty to the whole town, all for Mary Alice.
She is, also, a wholly honest person, not suffering fools easily. Her bringing together the two sisters at the DAR meeting is a perfect coup which serves to level out the social tiers of the town. (Every town needs a Grandma Dowdel to tell them the truth about themselves!)
The scene that brought me to my knees and brought tears to my eyes was the aftermath of the turkey shoot when Grandma and Mary Alice go upstairs to visit with Mrs.Abernathy's son--or what is left of him after his being gassed in World War I. "The trenches are all filled in, but the boys are still dying." Do the other reviewers think this is a hilarious scene? Surely the young readers will see the poignancy of this pitiful waste of the boy's life.
The scenes where Grandma and Mary Alice are working the snowy trap line to gather the fox pelts are not hilarious either. Later we find that it is the only way Grandma can be sure to have the money for Joey to come to see his sister, and th only way to buy Mary Alice new clothes. (And I must say her sacrifice and tenacity does remind me of my own grandmother.) These people are not just eccentric entertainment. We must see their depth.
It's a lovely book; it's a book about love. If someone read it, and was just bowled over by mere hilarity, it's time to read it again.
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