A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The story takes place in the '50s, and there are some details about that era. Also, Mrs. Dowdel hearkens back to an earlier time when people made everything they needed from scratch, and allowed nothing to go to waste. Readers may be interested in some of her projects.
The message of the book is about the gifts we give each other, gifts of the spirit and the heart, which are remembered forever.
Positive Role Models
Mrs. Dowdel may be crotchety, but she works tirelessly behind the scenes to improve the lives of others.
Violence & Scariness
A large turtle is killed for soup. A boy is bullied and humiliated by a group of older boys who strip him and tie him up naked where Mrs. Dowdel will find him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
An unwed teen is pregnant and forced to marry.
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Products & Purchases
Beer and cigarette brands mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking and drunkenness, including young teens, a drunk driving accident, teens smoke, kids smoke cornsilk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that teens smoke and drink, and one gets pregnant, though none of this is described. There's a wonderful message in this book about giving.
Is It Any Good?
Richard Peck has had one of the longest and most successful careers in children's literature and, reading this, it's easy to see why. He just gets better and better. A SEASON OF GIFTS shows clearly that there's really no one else with Peck's remarkable combination of gifts. He has the gift of Twain, a humorist whose comedy is both intelligent and moving. He has the gift of Kipling, a craftsman of razor-sharp prose in which every word is carefully chosen for maximum effect. And he has the gift of Rowling, a constructor of intricate and tightly woven plots.
Peck employs his remarkable gifts in the service of a character unique in children's books, a field in which children are almost always the heroes. Here the main character, moving force, and heroine is a crabby 90-year-old, tough as a goat, with nothing warm or fuzzy in her demeanor at all. In Peck's world, adults are still in charge and wiser than children, and children grow through their relationships with intelligent and caring grown-ups. Imagine that! This is a treasure and a delight.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.