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Review: A Season of Gifts

October 11, 2009

A Season of Gifts

The new Methodist minister, his wife and 3 children have moved from Terre Haute, Indiana right next door to Grandma Dowdel.  The children keep a close eye on the Dowdel house because they think:

So we Barnharts had moved in next door to a haunted house, if a house can be haunted by a living being.  But the old lady who lived over there had to be just this side of the grave with one foot in it.  She looked older than the town.  But she was way too solid to be a ghost.  You sure couldn’t see through her.  You could barely see around her.

Grandma Dowdel is an imposing and quirky figure and at first the Barnhart children – Phyllis, Bobby and Ruth Ann are fascinated, yet intimidated, by her.  They quickly learn that there’s much more to her than her gruff exterior and because of her, they have a Christmas they’ll never forget.

Set in 1958, A Season of Gifts is told from the perspective of the middle Barnhart child – twelve year old Bobby.  Through him you learn how tough it is to be the new kid in town – especially when your dad’s a preacher.  You also learn of Phyllis’s high school antics.  The Barnhart parents and the youngest child, six year old Ruth Ann, are the first to see that Grandma Dowdel is a diamond in the rough.

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck is his third YA novel featuring Grandma Dowdel.  The two previous Grandma Dowdel books are A Year Down Yonder (Newbery Medal winner) and A Long Way from Chicago (Newbery Honor winner).  This was my first experience with Grandma Dowdel and I loved her character – she is strong, independent and giving, and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.  She doesn’t talk about taking action – she does it.  I really enjoyed this book and want to go back and read the previous two featuring Grandma Dowdel.

I received this book at the Kick Off Kids Lunch at the SIBA Trade Show.  I am an Amazon Associate.
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30 Comments leave one →
  1. October 11, 2009 7:03 am

    I like the sound of this book when you said it’s told from the perspective of a child. I might visit Grandma Dowdel one of these days. 🙂

  2. October 11, 2009 7:40 am

    I think this book sounds great! One of my favorite books as a kid was written by Peck — SOMETHING FOR JOEY!

  3. October 11, 2009 8:25 am

    I love the old fashioned Christmas style cover. This book is not on my TBR Christmas list, but it does sound like a good story. Thanks for the review.

  4. October 11, 2009 8:36 am

    I like Grandma Dowdel’s spirit — A take-action kind of person. I’ll have to add this to my list of books to look for at the library. Is this YA or middle reader?

  5. October 11, 2009 9:11 am

    What a very cute quote you included. Your reviews are so enjoyable, and “concise” !!!

  6. October 11, 2009 9:19 am

    I’ve not read any of these books, but just by your description, Grandma Dowdel is my kinda lady!

  7. October 11, 2009 9:44 am

    So many people love Gma D – I will have to check out these books one of these days.

  8. October 11, 2009 10:01 am

    I have never heard of this book or author but sounds like something I would love to read with my cousin.

  9. October 11, 2009 10:07 am

    This sounds interesting, especially from the point of view of a 12 year-old boy. Thanks!

  10. October 11, 2009 10:33 am

    Grandma Dowdel sounds too fun! I haven’t heard of these books either.

  11. October 11, 2009 10:43 am

    ooh a lovely Christmas book. I need to start collecting books to read over Christmas. Grandma Dowdel sounds interesting. Can this book be read as a standalone?

  12. October 11, 2009 12:10 pm

    This sounds fun! I hadn’t heard of these before, I need to check them out.

  13. October 11, 2009 12:18 pm

    I love Christmas…and I love books, but I rarely read books about Christmas for some reason. Maybe I should this year, and who doesn’t want to read about a “Christmas they’ll never forget”!

  14. October 11, 2009 1:22 pm

    Sounds like an interesting series!

  15. October 11, 2009 1:51 pm

    This sounds like something I would really enjoy…you drew me in with the preacher’s family. 🙂

  16. October 11, 2009 4:33 pm

    A Season of Gifts sounds like an enjoyable way to kick-off the holiday season. I will keep an eye out for it. Thanks for your review, Stephanie.

  17. October 11, 2009 4:36 pm

    Sorry, I know your name is Kathy, not Stephanie!

  18. October 11, 2009 10:28 pm

    You must read the other two books…you will love them. I can’t wait to meet back up with her again. I love Peck!

  19. October 11, 2009 11:25 pm

    Sounds good! I read The Teacher’s Funeral by Peck aloud to my kids last year and we all loved it.

  20. October 12, 2009 8:44 am

    Before I started blogging I didn’t read YA, but now I realize that there are some very good books to be read. This sounds like a great series to read. I wish I could convince my teen SD to read as it sounds like it would be fun to read together.

  21. October 12, 2009 10:54 am

    I haven’t heard of these books before but the series certainly sounds good. Thanks for the review Kathy.

  22. October 12, 2009 11:03 am

    Grandma Dowd sounds like someone I’d like to meet. Thanks for introducing me to her.

  23. October 12, 2009 12:18 pm

    I have seen this book around, and had been wondering about it. I am glad to know that it was a good read with interesting characters. Grandma Dowdel sounds like a plucky lady!

  24. stacybuckeye permalink
    October 12, 2009 1:39 pm

    I have a real soft spot for great Grandma characters, so I bet I would love Grandma Dowdel.

  25. Carol permalink
    October 12, 2009 2:11 pm

    I’ve heard such good things about these books. I may have to pick this one up for December.

  26. October 12, 2009 10:06 pm

    I’ve read both A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way to Chicago and have been anxiously awaiting this sequel since I heard Peck announce it. I have it checked out from the library right now, so it will be sooner than later now.

  27. October 13, 2009 4:53 am

    OK! I think I will like this one.. And I need to check out the other 2 books by the same author you have mentioned!

  28. October 13, 2009 6:06 pm

    Sounds like so much fun! I’m making a note of it. I love the way you worked in the quote.

  29. October 15, 2009 1:40 pm

    Not sure this is my cup of tea, but that grandma character sounds interesting.

  30. October 17, 2009 2:03 pm

    I just adored A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. I can’t wait to read this one!

    http://reviewsofthings.blogspot.com/2009/05/meet-unforgettable-grandma-dowdel.html

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