Wednesday, December 2, 2009

For the Season of Giving and Gifts

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck. Dial, $16.99, Ages 10+

Returning to the setting and characters of his award-winning novels, A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago, young adult novelist Richard Peck grabs attention for his newest novel immediately with opening paragraphs about a house “haunted by a living being.” Grandma Dowdel, the eccentric star character from the above-mentioned companion novels, is “way too solid” (and cranky) “to be a ghost.”
Bur eleven-year-old Bob Barnhart and his family who have moved in next door to her so his dad can become the Methodist church’s new minister, begin to realize the last house in town and its owner are both real and larger-than-life. With 1958 era sensibilities, including a supposed ghost of a Kickapoo Indian princess, and assumptions about the winter holiday season that don’t include other religious belief systems, this historical novel nonetheless gives readers a chance to laugh and have their hearts warmed.
She’s “no church woman,” and she doesn’t “neighbor,” and Christmas is “just another day to her.” But Mrs. Dowdel’s gifts are many and large, and she doesn’t wait until Christmas to give them. But most important, the surprising gifts in this holiday tale extend beyond the pages, creating a remembrance of a time now past.

No comments:

Post a Comment