A Season of Gifts – Christmas Book Review
Travel Back In Time to 1958 To See How Life Was Lived and Christmas Was Done
This Christmas book is a beautiful reminder of why we should love our neighbors. When I was a little girl, I was deeply influenced by my precious Grammy Arlene. She was not actually my grandmother but then again, she truly was. I was so blessed by my neighbors growing up in a small town in rural Maine. This story may take place in Terra Haute, Louisiana but the story is similar to my own in many ways. Grandma Dowdel is the Grammy Arlene the Barnhart family never knew they needed so desperately.
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What Is A Season of Gifts All About?
This Christmas story is about a small family that is new in town. It’s the kind of town where not much is new. There is very little money there, but bullies, well, they run in abundance. Mr. and Mrs. Barnhart have just arrived to get a new Methodist Church up and running. Their oldest daughter Phylis is just fourteen but imagines herself as a very mature twenty-something. And then, there is their youngest daughter Ruth-Ann who has only a single friend, a beaten up doll named Grachel. Finally, their only boy, Bob, is a hardworking young man not sure what to make of this new place.
The story takes you through a single year of their lives. And it is quite the year! After all, there are Indian Princess ghosts running rampant in their neighbor’s pumpkin patch. And there are bullies who would just as soon kill them as welcome them. There are also Homecoming Queens absolutely full to bursting with raw hatred.
But who could dwell on all of that when there is just so much to get done? There are people to feed and souls to save. There are funerals and weddings and a church choir to organize. But most of all, there are people that need one another, whether they like it or not.
What I Loved About A Season Of Gifts
- I actually caught myself laughing out loud on several occasion as I made way through the book.
- Grandma Dowdel is a beautiful example of the hard-working women from her time.
- The book ties itself together in a very lovely way making for a charming ending. I’m a sucker for a really good happy ending!
From The Book Jacket of A Season of Gifts
One of the most adored children’s book characters of all time is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted, Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newberry Medal-winning A Year Down Yonder and Newberry Honor-winning A Long Way From Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn’t over – not even close.
It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel. A Family in desperate need of her help (whether they realize it or not). There’s twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies,; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phylis, who just might be on the verge of spinning out of control; Bob’s little sister Ruth-Ann, ready and waiting for a larger than life role model; and even Bob’s two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital.
As Christmas rolls around, the whole family will realize that they’ve found a true home and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.
About the Author of A Season of Gifts – Richard Peck
RICHARD PECK (1934-2018) was born in Decatur, Illinois and lived in New York City for nearly 50 years. The acclaimed author of 35 novels for children and young adults, he won the Newbery Medal for A Year Down Yonder, a Newbery Honor for A Long Way from Chicago, the Scott O’Dell Award for The River Between Us, the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Are You in the House Alone?, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for The Best Man, and the Christopher Medal for The Teacher’s Funeral. He was the first children’s author ever to have been awarded a National Humanities Medal and was twice a National Book Award Finalist.
This book is part of a series about Grandma Dowdel.
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