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July 7, 2008

A Long Way From Chicago

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,A — thebookreviews @ 2:57 pm
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A Long Way from Chicago

Author: Richard Peck

Page Length: 148

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Historical Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: It’s 1929, the Great Depression is looming, and Joey and Mary Alice Dowdel are forced to spend a week their “tougher than old boot” Grandma Dowdel. Grandma is an amazing woman who can get just about anyone and any living creature to do what she wants them to (she has her ways). Privies (outhouses) are being knocked over; there are blue ribbons to be won, and neighbors to outwit. Join Joey and Mary Alice as they travel through the 1930’s discovering each summer just how crafty their “old” Grandma can be and how much they have to learn from her.

REVIEW: I loved this book and how it brought small town life in the 1930s to life. Grandma Dowdel is a woman to be admired and studied for her “take life by the horns approach.” I loved the adventures and the cunning Grandma displays when she outwits and out performs everyone around her. Perhaps Grandma Dowdel’s greatest lesson is to be true to yourself. This book is humorous and heart-warming.

Teaching this novel might be a great starting point for having students re-connect with their elders (perhaps write a collection of stories they’ve heard through the generations). It would go great as a read during the study of this time period in history class too. Recommended read!

AREAS FOR TEACHING: character traits, context clues, plot, setting, word choice, mood and tone

TOUCHY AREAS-PAGES: shooting – Grandma doesn’t mind wielding her shotgun when she has to

RELATED BOOKS: A Year Down Yonder, Strays Like Us, Fair Weather, The River Between Us, The Teacher’s Funeral, Stories My Grandmother Would Love: Featuring Eleven “Miss Lillie” Stories About Life on the Farm in the 1930s

MOVIES: Kitt Kitteredge, Cinderella Man, All the Kings Men, Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken


REVIEWED BY: Dayna Taylor

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