Cover image for A year down yonder
Title:
A year down yonder
Author:
Peck, Richard, 1934-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Puffin Books, 2002.

©2000
Physical Description:
130 pages ; 20 cm
Summary:
In 1937, during the Depression, fifteen-year-old Mary Alice, initially apprehensive about leaving Chicago to spend a year with her fearsome, larger-than-life grandmother in rural Illinois, gradually begins to better understand and admire her grandmother's unusual qualities.
General Note:
Sequel to: A long way from Chicago.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
610 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.5 4.0 44671.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 4.9 9 Quiz: 23032 Guided reading level: V.
ISBN:
9780142300701
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A Newbery Medal Winner

Richard Peck's Newbery Medal-winning sequel to A Long Way from Chicago

Mary Alice's childhood summers in Grandma Dowdel's sleepy Illinois town were packed with enough drama to fill the double bill of any picture show. But now she is fifteen, and faces a whole long year with Grandma, a woman well known for shaking up her neighbors-and everyone else! All Mary Alice can know for certain is this: when trying to predict how life with Grandma might turn out . . . better not. This wry, delightful sequel to the Newbery Honor Book A Long Way from Chicago has already taken its place among the classics of children's literature.

"Hilarious and poignant." -- Publishers Weekly , starred review

A Newbery Medal Winner
A New York Times Bestseller
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Booklist Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year


Author Notes

Richard Peck was born in Decatur, Illinois on April 5, 1934. He received a bachelor's degree in English from DePauw University in 1956. After college, he was drafted into the army and served as a soldier in Germany, ghost-writing sermons for chaplains. After the war, he became an English teacher, lecturing to middle school students in Illinois and New York City.

While still teaching, he wrote a column on the architecture of historic neighborhoods for the New York Times and contributed articles to the Saturday Review of Literature and the Chicago Tribune as well as other magazines and newspapers. He stopped teaching in 1971 to write a novel. His first book, Don't Look and It Won't Hurt, was published in 1972.

He has written more than 30 books for both adults and young adults. A Year down Yonder won the Newbery Medal in 2001 and Are You in the House Alone? won an Edgar Award. In 1990, he received the MAE Award, a prestigious award sponsored by the Young Adult Library Services Association of the American Library Association in cooperation with School Library Journal. His books have also received or been finalists for the National Book Award, ALA Notable Books, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and the Margaret A. Edwards Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-10. With the same combination of wit, gentleness, and outrageous farce as Peck's Newbery Honor book, Long Way from Chicago (1998), this sequel tells the story of Joey's younger sister, Mary Alice, 15, who spends the year of 1937 back with Grandma Dowdel in a small town in Illinois. It's still the Depression; Dad has lost his job, and Mary Alice has been sent from Chicago to live with Grandma and enroll in the "hick-town's" 25-student high school. As in the first book, much of the fun comes from the larger-than-life characters, whether it's the snobbish DAR ladies or the visiting WPA artist, who paints a nude picture of the postmistress (nude, not naked; he studied in Paris). The wry one-liners and tall tales are usually Grandma's ("When I was a girl, we had to walk in our sleep to keep from freezing to death"), or Mary Alice's commentary as she looks back ("Everybody in this town knew everything about you. They knew things that hadn't even happened yet" ). That adult perspective is occasionally intrusive and Mary Alice sometimes seems younger than 15, though her awkward romance with a classmate is timeless. The heart of the book is Grandma--huge and overbearing, totally outside polite society. Just as powerful is what's hidden: Mary Alice discovers kindness and grace as well as snakes in the attic. Most moving is Mary Alice's own growth. During a tornado she leaves her shelter to make sure that Grandma is safe at home. In fact, as Mary Alice looks back, it's clear that Grandma has remained her role model, never more generous than when she helped her granddaughter leave. --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

In this Newbery Honor book, Chicago-bred Mary Alice has been sentenced to a year-long stay in rural Illinois with her irrepressible, rough and gruff grandmother. Soon, however, she becomes Grandma's partner in crime, helping to carry out madcap schemes to benefit friends and avenge enemies. In a starred review, PW called this sequel to A Long Way to Chicago "hilarious and poignant." Ages 10-14. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Peck charms readers once again with this entertaining sequel to A Long Way from Chicago (Dial, 1998). This time, 15-year-old Mary Alice visits Grandma Dowdel alone for a one-year stay, while her parents struggle through the recession of 1937 looking for jobs and better housing. With her older brother, Joey, working out west in a government program, Mary Alice takes a turn at recounting memorable and pivotal moments of her year with Grandma. Beneath the woman's fierce independence and nonconformity, Mary Alice discovers compassion, humor, and intuition. She watches her grandmother exact the perfect revenge on a classmate who bullies her on the first day of school, and she witnesses her "shameless" tactics to solicit donations from Veteran's Day "burgoo" eaters whose contributions are given to Mrs. Abernathy's blind, paralyzed, war-veteran son. From her energetic, eccentric, but devoted Grandma, she learns not only how to cook but also how to deal honestly and fairly with people. At story's end, Mary Alice returns several years later to wed the soldier, Royce McNabb, who was her classmate during the year spent with Grandma. Again, Peck has created a delightful, insightful tale that resounds with a storyteller's wit, humor, and vivid description. Mary Alice's memories capture the atmosphere, attitudes, and lifestyle of the times while shedding light on human strengths and weak- nesses.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Prologue It was a September morning, hazy with late summer, and now with all the years between. Mother was seeing me off at Dearborn Station in Chicago. We'd come in a taxicab because of my trunk. But Mother would ride back home on the El. There wasn't much more than a nickel in her purse, and only a sandwich for the train in mine. My ticket had pretty well cleaned us out. My trunk, a small one, held every stitch of clothes I had and two or three things of Mother's that fit me. "Try not to grow too fast," she murmured. "But anyway, skirts are shorter this year." Then we couldn't look at each other. I was fifteen, and I'd been growing like a weed. My shoes from Easter gripped my feet.  A billboard across from the station read: WASN'T THE DEPRESSION AWFUL? This was to make us think the hard times were past. But now in 1937 a recession had brought us low again. People were beginning to call it the Roosevelt recession. Dad had lost his job, so we'd had to give up the apartment. He and Mother were moving into a "light housekeeping" room. They could get it for seven dollars a week, with kitchen privileges, but it was only big enough for the two of them. My brother Joey--Joe--had been taken on by the Civilian Conservation Corps to plant trees out west. That left me, Mary Alice. I wished I was two years older and a boy. I wished I was Joey. But I wasn't, so I had to go down to live with Grandma Dowdel, till we could get on our feet as a family again. It meant I'd have to leave my school. I'd have to enroll in the hick-town school where Grandma lived. Me, a city girl, in a town that didn't even have a picture show. It meant I'd be living with Grandma. No telephone, of course. And the attic was spooky and stuffy, and you had to go outdoors to the privy. Nothing modern. Everything as old as Grandma. Some of it older. Now they were calling the train, and my eyes got blurry. Always before, Joey and I had gone to Grandma's for a week in the summer. Now it was just me. And at the other end of the trip--Grandma. Mother gave me a quick squeeze before she let me go. And I could swear I heard her murmur, "Better you than me."  She meant Grandma. Excerpted from A Year down Yonder by Richard Peck All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.