A Long Way From Chicago

A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck, is a great book about Joey and Mary Alice, brother and sister, who grow up visiting their wild and crazy grandma every summer. Each new chapter is the next summer with Grandma Dowdel, with another wacky story to tell about something she got them all into. In her small town in the middle of Illinois, she knows pretty much everything, good and bad, that goes on in the town. Since Grandma Dowdel is such an opinionated person with a witty attitude, Joey and Mary Alice come to expect an adventure every time they come visit.

This is one of those books where the main character brings a rich fullness to the storyline as if you were right there with that person. Grandma Dowdel, even though she breaks the rules and the stereotype of what a grandmother should be, is the heart of the book. She loves her grandchildren and she often does the right thing, but in a way that is not what you would expect. This is a fantastic book, all because of her humorous antics.

--Mr. Riedl