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Extended Audio Sample A Season of Gifts Audiobook, by Richard Peck Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,679 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Richard Peck Narrator: Ron McLarty Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9780739385470
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One of the most adored children’s book characters of all time is the eccentric, forceful, bighearted Grandma Dowdel, star of the Newbery Medal–winning A Year Down Yonder and Newbery Honor–winning A Long Way from Chicago. And it turns out that her story isn’t over—not even close.

It is now 1958, and a new family has moved in next door to Mrs. Dowdel—a family in desperate need of her help (whether they realize it or not). There’s twelve-year-old Bob, shy on courage in a town full of bullies; his Elvis-obsessed older sister, Phyllis, who just might be on the verge of spinning out of control; Bob’s little sister, Ruth Ann, ready and waiting for a larger-than-life role model; and even Bob’s two parents, the young minister and his wife, who are amazed to discover that the last house in town might also be the most vital. As Christmas rolls around, the whole family will realize that they’ve found a true home, and a neighbor with remarkable gifts to share.

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Quotes & Awards

  • A 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Book for Children's Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jenn Estepp | 2/19/2014

    " fine, but no great shakes. certainly the weakest of the grandma dowdel books. this one just lack a bit of something. heart? teeth? soul? i don't know. it was just pretty passive and in-one-ear-out-the-other and the characterization of everyone who wasn't dowdel was lacking. and yet, it wasn't bad per se and maybe i'm insensitive but the controversial bits were lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katie | 2/9/2014

    " Grandma Dowdel is one of the most loveable characters of all time. Read A long way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder first though to fall in love with her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janalynn | 1/7/2014

    " Grandma Dowdel is my hero. I love her suttle ways of serveing others. An easy to ready wholesome,humorous and feel good book, that goes right along with the other Richard Peck books. I've enjoyed them all! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tamsen | 1/3/2014

    " Touching Funny Story set in 1958. Great characters. Mrs Dowdel is a unique neighbor to say the least. She seems to be busy and keep to herself but she knows the goings on of everyone in town and she has a big heart. Very cute Christmas story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori | 12/21/2013

    " This was one of those books where I enjoyed every page. The characters were so distinct and I could just feel what the author experienced. It made me laugh out loud in parts and was a cute book to read during the holidays. I recommend this book for a fun, quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maren | 12/16/2013

    " I read the other books about Grandma Dowdel several years ago. This book makes me want to pick them up again. Definitely a simple, quick read, but totally enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 12/15/2013

    " With his customary humor Peck tells how old Mrs. Dowdel, who doesn't "neighbor," transforms the lives of her new neighbors: a minister and his wife, their 11-year-old son Bob, their 14-year-old Elvis-crazed daughter Phyllis, and 6-year-old Ruth Ann, who becomes a miniature Mrs. Dowdel. The book includes a funeral for the remains of the Kickapoo princess, the eviction of a drinking revivalist preacher, the rescue of the trussed-up Bob who was strung up about the outhouse, and a haunted pumpkin patch. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lori Olsen | 12/15/2013

    " I loved this quick read. It would be great to read out loud to children over the holidays. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby Johnson | 12/5/2013

    " Granny Dowdell is back, this time helping out new neighbors in 1958. The nostalgia factor is high and it's an often-funny gentle read, but Richard Peck doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 12/1/2013

    " 4 1/2 stars! Hilarious! I love Richard Peck's books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 11/27/2013

    " This was so entertaining and bought memories of Homecoming in Illinois when I was a teen in the early 1960's. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alyson | 10/20/2013

    " Not five stars because I did not love it quite as much as A Long Way From Chicago or A Year Down Yonder but I was still very glad to have Grandma Dowdel back. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie Near | 10/5/2013

    " Very humorous light read. Loved it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cinnapatty | 9/29/2013

    " Love this author, loved this book. Was part of the "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder" series. Excellent stories. I love Mrs. Dowdel and Mrs. Wilcox. Their characters are hilarious. This one is heartwarming as usual as well as laugh out loud funny. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Angie | 5/18/2013

    " Cute story about a family in a new town and a neighbor who helps them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morty4 | 3/18/2013

    " Richard peck does it again and brings another set of wonderful tales from the neighbors of Grandma Dowdel. With antics just as exciting as ever, we get a fresh view of Mrs. Dowdel from her new neighbors, and a new understanding of what it means to give a gift. Wonderful and hilarious as always. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 3/1/2013

    " Another Grandma Dowdel book. I don't know if I like it as well as the other two, but Peck managed to keep the storyline fresh, while still keeping Mrs. Dowdel her same self. My kids love these books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara | 2/23/2013

    " Mrs. Dowdel is an amazing woman. I've enjoyed each story. I am always surprised by how Peck wraps every character's story into the end. Great fun! Big heart! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 4/15/2012

    " I just adore his books. They are a quick read and funny yet interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 2/11/2012

    " Grandma Dowdle is a delightful character and I enjoyed her and the others in this book. Fun to read, it made me laugh out loud at times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debbie Tanner | 1/4/2012

    " I love Richard Peck and ALL of his books. He has the most interesting characters who have the most stupendous ways of solving problems. Love them! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dawn Malone | 12/23/2011

    " A preacher and his family move into the house next door to Grandma Dowdel and the fun begins again in this companion book to A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. Grandma is such a well-rounded character, so full of life and quirks. Many laugh-out-loud passages in this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 10/2/2011

    " A good addition to the Mrs. Dowdel books by Richard Peck - A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder were two of my favorite YA books. This was a funny, feel-good, story of the spirit of Christmas, which Mrs. Dowdel had, even though she claimed she wasn't a church-going woman. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Terrie | 6/21/2011

    " Richard Peck has such a great sense of humor in his writing. This wasn't my favorite of his books, but it still made me wish I had lived back in "the good ole days." "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 6/15/2011

    " A quick read -- and very much worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 5/23/2011

    " Love Mrs. Dowdel (from A Year Down Yonder). She's a great character. A good read for years 9+. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy | 5/22/2011

    " Enjoyed this latest addition to Grandma Dowdel. A fun read, not quite as good as the others with Grandma. Still I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed the story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zinger | 5/4/2011

    " The third book in the series about a Grandmother that knows how to get things done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 4/29/2011

    " Grandma Dowdel is back, this time influencing the lives of some preacher kids next door. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jilane | 4/28/2011

    " I love Grandma. Even as she gets older and older, she does not lose her fiestiness. Love that woman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kendra | 4/19/2011

    " I've enjoyed Richard Peck's books featuring the unforgettable Grandma Dowdle (A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago), however this book was not as captivating for me. It's still a great story, but not quite the same caliber as his others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Penny | 4/12/2011

    " I love Grandma Dowdel in any book. Peck really knows how to capture small town life. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 3/29/2011

    " Gramma Dowdel is my hero! She is so capable and interesting and knows how to handle any problem. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 3/13/2011

    " This was such a fun read! It wasn't as crazy as the first one, but
    it had such a sweet message! Thanks Taylor! Another winner! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 3/9/2011

    " Never tire of grandma Dowdel.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marilyn | 3/6/2011

    " I love this author. Sweet story about a preacher's family and a quirky neighbor whom we met in A Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. ALL wonderful wonderful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrea | 2/28/2011

    " Those who have read Peck's other books about Mrs. Dowdel will love to discover that she is still just as feisty as ever. A really great story for those new to Peck. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 2/11/2011

    " If you are a fan of Richard Peck's, A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago, this is a must read. Grandma is back and no one is about to mess with that crazy old lady! The youngsters are grown, but Grandma still has a warm spot in her heart for the underdog. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 2/10/2011

    " I really love this author; this is the third book I have read and he didn't disappoint me as he brought back his grandma character with all her spunk and charm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate | 2/9/2011

    " The third in the series. Quick and fun read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Debbie | 2/8/2011

    " A really cute book. Made me smile. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janette | 2/8/2011

    " I listened to this on CD and it was so fabulously funny I was smiling and laughing every time I drove the car! I wish it had been 50 discs instead of 3. Wonderful story. "

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About the Author
Author Richard Peck

Richard Peck has won almost every children’s fiction award, including the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Newbery Medal, the Scott O’Dell Award, and the Edgar, and he has twice been nominated for a National Book Award. He was the first children’s author ever to have been awarded a National Humanities Medal.

About the Narrator

Ron McLarty is a veteran actor of television, film, and stage as well as an award-winning audiobook narrator. He has more than 100 television appearances to his credit, including as a series regular on Spencer for Hire and Law & Order. His film career began in 1977 with a performance in The Sentinel and continued with such films as The Postman, Flamingo Kid, and, most recently, How Do You Know? His stage credits include Broadway and other productions. He has narrated more than 100 audiobooks, earning eight Earphones Awards and recognition by AudioFile magazine as a Best Voice in Mystery & Suspense in 2009 and 2010. He has twice been a finalist for the prestigious Audie Awards and then won the award in 2001 for Best Mystery Narration. He is also an accomplished playwright and an acclaimed novelist.