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July 2009 Indie Next List
“Who can resist another book with Grandma Dowdel? The new preacher and his family move in next door and they have problems, not the least of which is Grandma, who, once again, proves that she has heart to spare.”
— Shirley Mullin, Kids Ink, Indianapolis, IN
One of children's literature's most memorable characters returns in this Christmastime companion to the Newbery Medal-winning "A Year Down Yonder" and Newbery Honor-winning "A Long Way from Chicago."
The eccentric, larger-than-life Grandma Dowdel is back in this heart-warming tale. Set 20 years after the events of "A Year Down Yonder," it is now 1958 and a new family has moved in next door: a Methodist minister and his wife and kids. Soon Grandma Dowdel will work her particular brand of charm on all of them: ten-year-old Bob Barnhart, who is shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his two fascinating sisters; and even his parents, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital.
As Christmas rolls around, the Barnhart family realizes that they've found a true home, and a neighbor who gives gifts that will last a lifetime.
"Pitch-perfect prose, laced with humor and poignancy, strong characterization and a clear development of the theme of gifts one person can offer make this one of Peck's best novels yet--and that's saying something."--"Kirkus" (starred review)
"The type of down-home humor and vibrant characterizations Peck fans have come to adore re-emerge in full."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)
"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."--"School Library Journal" (starred review)
"Publishers Weekly" Best Books of the Year
"Kirkus Reviews" Best Books of the Year
"Booklist" Editors' Choice