Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

Main Page
Author List
Title List
New This Month
Interest Level
Subject List
Booktalking Tips
Book Review Sources
Reading lists
Nancy Keane's Children's Website
Peck, Richard
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 1998
IL 5-8  RL 4.2
ISBN 0803722907
(2 booktalks)
Grandma Dowdel would be called a curmudgeon.  Never one to socialize with the rest of town, she marches to a different drummer. This crustiness makes for interesting summer visits in the heart of the Great Depression for her grandchildren, Joey and Mary Alice.   Richard Peck tells about the adventures they encounter from the summer of 1929 to the summer of 1935.  Every summer Grandma does something absolutely amazing, like putting a dead mouse in a bottle of milk, which leads to four very bad boys getting a well deserved whipping.  There are other stories, such as the one about Joey and Mary Alice's first sight of a corpse in 1929, Grandma's own particular brand of charity in 1931, and the phantom brakeman in 1933.  All good short stories on their own, but together they make a memorable and enjoyable book  (Jeannie Bellavance for Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Awards)

Booktalk #2

"As the years went by, though, Mary Alice and I grew up, and though Grandma never changed, we'd seem to see a different woman every summer." Mary Alice and Joey visit their Grandma Dowdel's every summer. Every year, they experience crazy and out of control events that normally they wouldn't see in their hometown of Chicago. During the one-week trip they make every year to Grandma Dowdel's, the two children experience events such as stealing the sheriffs boat to go fishing, switching the gooseberry pies at the fair, and helping two lovers get away on a train. Over the course of seven years, the children experience events they never would have partaken in, and they gained many memories to cherish. In this historical fiction book, called A Long Way from Chicago, Richard Peck shows what times were like between 1929 and 1942. Having won a Newberry award for this book, readers will enjoy the different stories that are told and will want more by the end.  (Jennifer Sarff,,  college student)

SUBJECTS:     Grandmothers -- Fiction
                        Depressions, 1929 -- Fiction
                        Country life Illinois -- Fiction
                        Illinois -- Fiction.


Permission is granted for the noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.