Thursday, May 1, 2008 by Becky
Peck, Richard. 2000. A Year Down Yonder.
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck is a delightful book. Technically, it's a sequel to A Long Way From Chicago, a book that was a Newbery honor book and a National Book Award finalist, but I think the book could stand alone. (Though why you wouldn't want to read the equally delightful Long Way From Chicago in addition would be beyond me.) It is the story of a young teen girl, Mary Alice, (15) who goes to live with her grandmother (Grandma Dowdel) during the latter part of the Depression. It's set in Illinois in 1937-1938.
Grandma Dowdel is really something. Something else. She's definitely a one-of-a-kind character with spirit and gumption and personality and a mind all her own. Mary Alice does love her Grandma. In the past, she's spent seven summer vacations with her. But she's never experienced Grandma all-year-round before. And she's never really interacted with the small town, the community before. So she doesn't know quite what to expect during her transition from Chicago.
The book is perfectly delightful and charming. The characters. The stories. The personalities. The humor. I just fell in love with it all.