"A Season of Gifts" by Richard Peck
(from inside flap)
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.
MY THOUGHTS: This is the book pick for my book club this month. I have never read any of Mr. Peck's books. You can be sure I will be reading more of them. I loved this book. All the characters jump off the page at you while your reading. Bob is telling the story of his family's move to a small rural town in Illinois. His father is a minister and they have moved here because his father was given a new church, which is in sad disrepair, and needs lots of work. The first paragraph of this book grabs you and doesn't let you go. You have to read it to find out what happens to this old house. Who lives in it? Is it really hunted? This is the first paragraph from the book. You have to read this book!!! It's really good!!!
You could see from here the house was hunted. Its crooked old lightning rods pointed bony fingers at the sky. It hadn't had a lick of paint since VJ Day, maybe the war berfore that. A porch sagged off the side. The kitchen screen door hung from a hinge. Only the snowball bushes crowding its foundations seemed to hold the place up.