Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

October 24, 2006

A Long Way From Chicago

By Richard Peck
Period: Depression era--Illinois
Newbery Honor
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Joey and Mary Alice live in Chicago in the 1930's, but every summer, they are sent down to a small town in Illinois for a week to visit their Grandma Dowdel. Grandma Dowdel is larger than life, making her own rules and taking nothing from nobody. But they discover through their visits that Grandma also has a wicked sense of humor and a heart bigger than all of Illinois. Readers will laugh when she uses a corpse to scare the wits out of a big city reporter sniffing around a small town story, or when she has Joey impersonate a ghost to allow two lovebirds to escape their parents. But they'll also feel warmed to see her put one over on the bank to get her friend Effie Wilcox's house back from foreclosure or to see her go back to help take care of the woman who gave her her first job. This book is that rare combination of humor and heart that will win over everyone who reads it. You'll want to continue and read the NewberyAward winning sequel, A Year Down Yonder.


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