Cover image for A long time ago today
A long time ago today
Warner, Sally.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2003.
Physical Description:
198 pages ; 22 cm
Ever since her mother died six years earlier, twelve-year-old Dilly and her father spend every summer in upstate New York at Mummie's farm, even though Dilly resents how her dead mother continues to intrude on her life.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.3 7.0 75010.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Would you want to read a letter written to you by your mother six years ago? Even if your mother had died when you were only six years old? If she had left you "Snob Hill," a two-hundred-year-old farm in the Adirondacks which you both hate and love? And even if everyone only speaks of how perfect she was, never how she really was? Twelve-year-old Dilly Howell isn't so sure she wants to read that letter. What if it only makes her resent her mother more? But with the help of her father, her friends, and the memories uncovered during a summer at Snob Hill, Dilly discovers that her mother was someone that she still loves very much. With her "trademark combination of humor and compassion,"* Sally Warner shares a heartwarming love story between mother and daughter.

Author Notes

Sally Warner ( has published more than twenty novels for young readers, including the Emma and EllRay Jakes series. She lives in Altadena, California with her husband and their not-so-miniature dachshund, Rocky. 

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-7. In an unusual move, this novel opens with a prologue revealing the thoughts of a woman on her deathbed as she contemplates leaving her 6-year-old daughter, Dilly. Six years later, 12-year-old Dilly angrily packs her suitcase. Once again, she and her father will leave California to spend half the summer in the Adirondacks, as they used to do with Dilly's mother, whom she barely remembers. The tension between Dilly and the mother she imagines increases after she learns of a letter her mother wrote to her as she lay dying. Over the following weeks, Dilly searches the old summer house and uncovers secrets from the past that resonate in the present. Warner conveys Dilly's powerful, vacillating feelings toward her mother with conviction, yet this emotional core is only one aspect of the story, which also concerns Dilly's changing relationship with a longtime summer friend, her growing awareness of adults as individuals, and her realization of how the past burdens the present and what can be done about it. Peopled with complex, sympathetic characters, this is both entertaining and involving. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2003 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-7-Dilly Howell, an angry 12-year-old girl, blames her mother for dying and resents the influence she still has over Dilly's life. Each year Dilly is forced to vacation with her father in the Adirondacks at her mother's family farm. The only saving grace is her friend, Sasha, the daughter of her mother's best friend, Libby, who also vacations there. Lately, however, Sasha is reluctant to interrupt her life to spend time at the lake. When Libby informs Dilly that her mother left her a letter, Dilly is not sure she wants to read it even if she can find it. However, her curiosity wins out and, in her search to find the letter, she reads correspondence between her mother and Libby. These missives give Dilly a better understanding of her mother and provide insight into her own relationships. This poignant story of grief, healing, and friendship is smoothly narrated by Julie Dretzen. Each character is imbued with a different voice, and the emotional aspects of the story come through clearly. An additional purchase.-Katherine Devine, Westminster Academy #26, Elizabeth, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.