Book Reviews

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

9 of 10: I love Richard Peck, and A Season of Gifts is a worthy addition to his series about Grandma Dowdel. So sweet and funny and perfect. Richard Peck is second only to Gary D. Schmidt in my “authors I think are absolutely brilliant and also very likely incredibly nice people” list.

The earlier Grandma Dowdel books A Long Way From Chicago and
A Year Down Yonder take place around the time of the Great Depression. This one takes place twenty years later, in 1958. The grandchildren featured in the earlier two books are, of course, long grown, and now the focus is on eleven-year-old Bob.

He’s moved to town with his family so that his dad can be the minister for one of the churches. The family is struggling a little, knowing that this first solo ministry will make or break the father’s career, and worrying about Phyllis, their teenage daughter who is going a bit wild, and the free-spirited younger daughter.

In the midst of all this chaos Bob gets a little lost in the shuffle, and since he’s already feeling unhappy about this new town and the bullies there, Grandma Dowdel, their next door neighbor, who scares them all to some extent, becomes an absolute blessing for Bob. He needs someone to watch out for him and Grandma Dowdel, in her unique and hilarious way, is just that someone.

If you read the other books, you’ll recognize immediately that this installment has many of the same characteristics – this book is laugh-out-loud funny, but also heartbreakingly sweet. I fell in love all over again.

AND, because I think you are all lovely and I have an extra advance copy, I’m going to give away a copy to some lucky reader, two weeks before it comes out!

Leave a comment before midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, September 1), and I’ll choose a winner at random.

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  • Reply Melinda August 31, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    That sounds like a great book!

  • Reply Carly Jane August 31, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I have been meaning to read the first two books (I actually own them and haven't read them… I know, I know) because I have heard such great things about them. I need to get on the ball!

  • Reply Tina's Blog August 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    I love Richard Peck! Please enter me.

  • Reply Janelle August 31, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    ooh, pick me! I loved the first two!

  • Reply Mary August 31, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    How have I not heard of this author before? I'll definitely have to add this to my library list.

  • Reply Sherry August 31, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Don't pick any of them. Pick me. Or else.

  • Reply Sherry August 31, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    Fierce rhetoric.

  • Reply Jodi August 31, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    I'm with Mary, looks like I need a trip to the library. Is today the first day of your new job? I hope it's going extremely well!

  • Reply preethi August 31, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Oh how I love free books. And even better if they sound this awesome. 🙂

  • Reply Miri August 31, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I haven't read any Richard Peck but I'm sure I would consider it if I were given a copy. 🙂

  • Reply Gretchen August 31, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    Yes, please!

  • Reply KT August 31, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    I would love to get my hands on this one.


  • Reply KarenDV August 31, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I loved the first two books — I wasn't aware there was a third!

    And yes, Gary Schmidt is a peach!

  • Reply Bean August 31, 2009 at 11:09 pm

    Oooh I love books! This would be another I could add to my collection to then hopefully have a wall of books just like you! 🙂

  • Reply Rachel September 1, 2009 at 2:36 am

    I started reading A Long Way From Chicago to my class today- what a coincidence! It's the Provo Reads book of the year. I hope I win his other book!

  • Reply Miss L September 1, 2009 at 4:39 am

    His current stuff is really great, but I hope you'll read some of Peck's earlier writings. "Remembering the Good Times" is still one of my favorites.

  • Reply Norby Family September 1, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    I LOVE his other two books with these characters. I think it will be a must read for my kids when they are old enough. I couldn't be more excited for this book and would love my own copy =)

  • Reply Packrat September 1, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Since I love his other two Grandma Dowdel books, I had to comment. I can't wait to read this. I will wait, tho, because I'll be buying this book for presents.

    Please don't put my name in the pot. I'd rather have someone who hasn't read Richard Peck get the book. Let's pass his "wonderfulness" on to those poor unfortunate souls. 🙂

  • Reply Priscilla September 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Ooo!Ooo!! Pick me! Pick me!!

  • Reply megan September 1, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    never read a Richard Peck. And I love giveaways…. count me in the running!

  • Reply Heather September 1, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Haven't read any of these, I must put my library request in . . . or win one in giveaway.

  • Reply Wanda September 1, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    This book looks wonderful. Please enter my name in your draw. Thanks.
    wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

  • Reply David and Sammy September 1, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Yay pick me please!

  • Reply Kelli September 1, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I love, love, love Richard Peck!

  • Reply Kelli September 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I love, love, love Richard Peck!

  • Reply Renee September 1, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Love your blog! After I finish reading Catching Fire (out today!!), I would love to read this book!!!

  • Reply J. September 1, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Hmmm, I've never heard of this author before! I must add him to my (huge) list!

  • Reply Kathleen September 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    I would LOVE to win this book! I love Richard Peck and I think Grandma Dowdel is hilarious. I've loved the other two books and am excited to read this one. Thanks for having the contest!

  • Reply Mad Hadder September 1, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Major Peck fan as well!!! Do you need my great method for teaching Dewey Decimal???

  • Reply Leslie September 2, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Oh, I hope it's me! So far, I've loved the books you've recommended!

  • Reply Saskia September 2, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Most of the books you write about I've at least heard of. Peck's name is familiar, but I haven't read anything of his..

  • Reply Peaceful Reader September 3, 2009 at 1:34 am

    It sounds like a great book and I love many of his other books!

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