A Season of Gifts

A Season of Gifts

by Richard Peck

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A Season of Gifts 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Mother-Daughter-Book-Club More than 1 year ago
Grandma Dowdel's back, only this time she's known as Mrs. Dowdel to the Methodist preacher's family that just moved in next door. The family, which includes three children, has been relocated from Terre Haute, Indiana to take over what is to be a new Methodist church but what is now a run-down building with no windows, a deteriorating roof and no congregation in a small Illinois town. As family members work to adjust to a new life, gruff old Mrs. Dowdel next door seems to know exactly what each needs. Bob, who tells the story, is the middle child on the verge of puberty. He's the easy target of bullies and in need of confidence as well as friends. Phyllis, fourteen going on twenty, is appalled at having to start high school in a place where she knows no one. Her obsession with everything Elvis leads her to take up with an unsavory character and start lying to her parents about where she's going and what she's doing. Six-year-old Ruth Ann is starting first grade, and she's searching for someone to look up to. The dad, of course, needs a congregation, and the mom needs help keeping them all functioning well. Fans of A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder will be happy to read more about Grandmas Dowdel's schemes to influence her small town and the family next door for the better. She's just a gruff as ever, but older now. The gifts she bestows are not the kind you can wrap and put under a Christmas tree, but they are the kind no receiver would seek to return. Peck is a master of subtle storytelling, letting the reader reach conclusions about the characters along the way. He's also superb at bringing bygone times to life, and in A Season of Gifts he deftly captures life in a small town during the late 1950s. I read this book aloud to the whole family, which includes my husband and two teen daughters. We all loved it, something rare for the four of us with our different tastes in books. I highly recommend it for family reading as well as for children aged nine and up.
pianokam More than 1 year ago
Richard Peck brings together Grandma Dowdel and the kooky castmates that live in that small Illinois town to life again! I love that he wrote a third book as a follow-up to "A Year Down Yonder" and "A Long Way From Chicago." I grew up in a small town in northern Indiana and can imagine all these escapades occuring just as Richard Peck writes. I highly recommend these books (as a Mom and educator) for your children - and for YOU as a parent. They are imagnative and fun :0)
pacollins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grandma Dowdel, who helped Richard Peck win both a Newbery Honor and Mewbery Medal is back and this time she works her magic on her new neighbors. The Barnhart's have moved to this "podunk" town so dad can take over as the minister of the Methodist Church. Classic Peck-style down home humor.
TigerLMS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Peck's distinctive storytelling style rings on every page of A Season of Gifts, the story of a young man who moves into a small midwest town so his dad can try to revive-- practically start-- a Methodist church. A preacher's kid, which of course almost begs for bullies to pick on him. As with his previous books, there are hilarious situations that anyone who's been a kid can relate to-- even if modern kids can't imagine what life was like 50+ years ago (1958). The cover and title suggest the book is about Christmastime. It is not, or at least the first two thirds isn't. But that's alright-- the season of gifts arrives soon enough and the story is a delight to read. Much like Jean Shepard's In God We Trust, which contained the elements of a story that became the holiday favorite A Christmas Story, Peck's A Season of Gifts is a funny, wonderful look at growing up in a time gone by.
asomers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Grandma Dowdel! If she's in the book I know I'm going to love it.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I listened to the audio book version, and the episodic format was perfect for nightly sessions. A preacher's family move to a small town and try and make their way. This was a little slow and quiet, like the town, but Eventually I was caught up in the tribulations of this family. And there were some beautiful turns of phrase, like little Ruth-Anne outside 'waiting for a friend to happen'. And when the 14-year old narrator drives the car to get a Christmas tree, I was laughing out loud.I'd give this to fans of family stories, and it would make a very good read aloud to share with tweens.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a delightful book! Winner of both a Newbery Medal for A Year Down Yonder '2001 and a Newbery Honor for A Long Way From Chicago, Peck is a masterful craftsmen.Grandma Dowdel was a hilarious, gritty, salt of the earth, independent character in both of Peck's Newbery winners and she returns again in A Season of Gifts.The setting is rural Illinois and the year is 1958. Young Bob Barhart and his family are new neighbors of Grandma Dowdel. Bob's father is the new Methodist minister.There is nothing earth shattering about the book. The story line can be perceived as mundane. But, the beautiful, heartwarming way in which Peck writes each sentence is simply a joy to behold.Sitting on the deck, feeling the gentle summer breeze while reading this soft, cozy, wonderful book was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
EdGoldberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Grandma Dowdel is back to her old shenanigans in Richard Peck¿s A Season of Gifts. This sequel to A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder takes place in 1958. Twelve year old Bob Barnhart and his family have moved to town from Terre Haute, right next door to Grandma Dowdel. In 1958 Elvis Presley is drafted and Bob¿s father, a Methodist preacher is assigned to a new church in a tiny ¿podunk¿ Illinois town.Bob¿s initiation into town society is a dunking in the local `crick¿ and being hog tied in Grandma Dowdel¿s privy. Of course, Grandma Dowdel finds Bob, naked as a jaybird, hanging in her privy, almost as if in a spider web.Ruth-Ann, Bob¿s ten-year-old sister is entranced by Grandma Dowdel and together they become ¿partners in crime¿. She begins taking on Grandma¿s traits, such as pushing her non-existent glasses up to the bridge of her nose. It¿s Bob¿s mother, however, who takes the cake, sitting in Grandma¿s yard with a cocked shotgun on her lap.Richard Peck has the ability to take you back to the good old days, even if they weren¿t necessarily that good and you weren¿t even born. His characters are unique in every way. The description of Grandma¿s wide girth, her old wrinkled friends and her hijinx will have you smiling, if not laughing. It does seem, however, that Grandma has mellowed a bit from A Long Way from Chicago. But that¿s as it should be. She¿s umpteen hundred years old. ..or so she seems.Having read all three books in the series, I¿d start at the beginning and work through this latest book. They¿re fast reads and you¿ll walk away in a much better mood than you were in prior to reading the books. Just don¿t trespass on Grandma Dowdel¿s property. She¿s still a good aim with that shotgun.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bob Barnhart is a preacher's kid; he and his family have moved to a new town where his father is going to be a Methodist minister. No one in the town seems ready to lay out the welcome mat. In fact, they seem downright eccentric, especially their next door neighbor Mrs. Dowdel.Readers who have already discovered A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder will enjoy revisiting beloved characters from a new point of view, and readers who have read neither will not lose out a whit. Richard Peck delivers yet another hilarious tale, memorable characters, and a young boy who learns quite a lot about the gifts humans can give to each other.
prkcs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Relates the surprising gifts bestowed on twelve-year-old Bob Barnhart and his family, who have recently moved to a small Illinois town in 1958, by their larger-than-life neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel.
wortklauberlein on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The sequel to the sequel of "A Long Way From Chicago" is itself a gift to fans of the earlier Richard Peck books about Mrs. Dowdel, the tough as black walnuts grandmother who metes out an original kind of justice to the citizens of a downstate Illinois town.This third book is not as gut-busting hilarious as the original and is more overtly sentimental, but the separate chapters make fine read-aloud stories and the entire book is a warm blanket on a winter's night.Readers who wonder what happened to Joey, the grandson who narrated the first book, will be somewhat disappointed. And those hoping for more books about Mrs. Dowdel may be saddened to find that many years have already passed since "A Year Down Yonder." It is now 1958, and how much longer can even this larger-than-life woman keep on going?
Suzieqkc on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really 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. The family's children, young Ruth Ann, Bob and teenager Phyllis, all learn something from the older woman. It was such a cozy piece of fiction--almost seemed like the people really existed.
baystateRA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ron McLarty lends the perfect voice to this short novel about new kids in a small town, in the form of a brief memoir about adolescence in the 'fifties. I didn't realize this was the third one the author has written about this family and their "interesting" neighbor, Mrs. Dowdel. This is a good one to read in the weeks leading up to Christmas, as it spans the season from the beginning of the school year through Christmas.
porch_reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being the new kid in town is hard enough, but sixth-grader Bob Barnhardt also has the challenges of being a PK (preacher's kid) and living next door to Mrs. Dowdel, a straight-talking widow who is armed with a rifle and not afraid to stand up to anyone in her small town. If you loved Mrs. Dowdel in A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder, you won't want to miss this book. Although Mrs. Dowdel tells the Barnhardt's straight out that she "doesn't neighbor," she still finds ways to come to the rescue of Bob, his two sisters, and even his dad. This feel-good story, which ends with the celebration of Christmas, is a great choice for this time of year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I HAV GOT TO GET THIS!
moonstone-magic More than 1 year ago
This is book three of a trilogy BUT can be read as a stand alone book. This book is appropriate for anyone that understands the concept of good and bad behavior. Can maybe find a lesson in here for children. (Parents, read it first).
jln1017 More than 1 year ago
The third book from Richard Peck describing life in a small town with Grandma Dowdel (the first being "A Long Way From Chicago", the second, "A Year Down Yonder", both award winners) is told from the point of view of Bob, a young boy who, along with his family, including minister dad, mom, older sister Phyllis, and younger sister Ruth Ann, has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel. While not quite up to par, in my opinion, to the first two books, I still greatly enjoyed this one. This one is set in 1958, approximately 15 years after we last visited. We get a few brief mentions of Grandma's family that we met in the first two books, which was nice. Familiar characters, or at least their kin, make appearances in this book. We get to see how the town has grown and changed over the years (and in some cases, not changed at all). And, we get more of Grandma's hijinks and peculiar brand of good-heartedness. The only thing that keeps me from giving this book five stars like the first two is that it doesn't quite give the sense of innocence and realism the first two did. The first two felt like true stories that may actually have happened to the author/narrator as a young person and have simply garnered some embellishments over time. This book feels more like a story someone made up. A good story, but still, it doesn't quite get that ring of truth the first two did. In addition, in the first two stories we get to know Grandma Dowdel, to understand who she is, what she's like, and what her motivations are. We understand that underlying her actions is a sense of justice and integrity and generosity, and an appreciation for hard work. These things are revealed subtly and naturally through her actions and interactions in the first two books. In this latest book, these things felt a little more forced. Granted, these are really minor quibbles and come about only through comparison with the other two books, and otherwise, it is still a lovely book. A couple of notes about this book: 1) I don't recommend reading it as a stand alone. While it could, technically, be read on its own, you get to know Grandma Dowdel and her actions and motivations much better through the first two books, which allow you to come into this book understanding what she's like. Without that background, she may just come across as a loony old eccentric for most of this story. 2) Although it's called "A Season of Gifts", and the cover seems very Christmas-y, the book is not strictly a Christmas story, and could easly be read at any time of year. It starts in August, and continues on throughout the fall and into Christmas towards the end. So, while it certainly does make a lovely story to read around the holidays, it is really suitable for any time of year.
6thGradeReviewer More than 1 year ago
The Barnhart family has just moved from a nice township in Indiana to a small, isolated rural town in Illinois, not by choice, but because the head of the household, Reverend Barnhart, just received his first pulpit assignment. In addition to this change, the only house available to them is the house right next door to Grandma Dowdel, the rough old lady who "don't neighbor", best known as the ever-surprising heroine in A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago, both written by Richard Peck. This family of five is not only "short on cash", but completely lacking in the ways of a tiny rural town and the people who live there. The children, fourteen year old Phyllis, an Elvis fanatic who acts like she is twenty, twelve year old Bob, a lonely boy with very big dreams and little hope of fulfilling them, and Ruth Ann, a six year old in her own world looking for a role model, fear the worst and see no hope in this small forsaken town. Yet, the Barnhart children gradually come to an unconscious realization that Mrs. Dowdel may be something more than that really old, strange, rough, country lady she appears to be. She has numerous tricks up her sleeve and a sense of humor all her own. This virtue filled, humorous fiction by Richard Peck will fill the reader's heart with joy and laughter. It made me look at myself again and again and ask myself "What do I do?" "What can I give?" Mr. Peck has wittingly filled this story with life lessons and numerable gifts that don't come in wrapping paper. I am sure there is a message in this book for any and all of its readers. I absolutely loved this book and have reread it four times. I highly recommend this read for anyone, ages nine to adult.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck was a very good book. This book helped me to realize a few things in addition to it being a nice, fun, easy-read. This book was the kind that had action but not so much that you couldn't just sit down with a warm blanket and some hot chocolate and enjoy it. One major thing that I agreed with in this book was that when you are doing something good and giving to someone else, you don't have to make it big, bold, and obvious; and that was something that Mrs. Dowdel and Ellen were good at. For example, when Ellen helped Mrs. Dowdel you wouldn't have known because she was so sneaky about it. Also, there were several things you had to follow throughout this book, including the sorority girls, the bad boys, the progress of the church, the reason the crowd was in the town at the time, and so much more. This book was awesome, and I really enjoyed it. CAR : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have read "A Year Down Yonder" and "A Long Way from chicago" you will certainly want to read this book as well. It is kind of a way to say good bye to Grandma Dowdel. I enjoyed this book but missed the excitement and adventure of the other two books. This is told from a differnt person's point of view. The year this book takes place made me wonder about Grandma Dowdel's age...how old is she and how old was she in the other books written by Richard Peck. As an educator and parent I think these are great books for young people to read. My mom read these as well and loved them. So great for all ages. I believe the other two books with Grandma Dowdel would make great movies! She is a character like no other. It was fun to hear about her once more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Richard Peck does a wonderful job returning readers to visit with Grandma Dowdel. She is always the rough, tough older lady with a surprising soft spot. I love Mrs. Dowdel, her view of the world, and the way she handles issues that arise. This is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TheTruth11 More than 1 year ago
This book was not enjoyable. It was boring and not apprehendable. I can't even tell you what it was about. I did not understand it. I would not recommend it!!!!!!!!