A Year Down Yonder


Richard Peck

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Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some questions give away key parts of the plot!

  1. When Mary Alice first arrives by train and describes Grandma Dowdel she says, "She drew nearer till she blotted out the day." In what ways is Grandma Dowdel larger than life?
  2. How is Mary Alice's life in the country different from what you think her life in the city was like?
  3. Grandma Dowdel is often gruff. Find some of the scenes in the book where she shows her love through actions instead of words.
  4. Why do you think Grandma takes Mary Alice to meet the Abernathy's?
  5. How does Mary Alice change over the course of the year?
  6. Is Mrs. Wilcox Grandma's best friend? Why or why not?
  7. How does Grandma feel about Bootsie when the cat and Mary Alice first arrives? How do her feelings change?
  8. Why won't Grandma let Mary Alice stay at the end of the year?
  9. Were you surprised to see that Mary Alice married Royce at the end of the book?
  10. What are some of the things about Grandma that Mary Alice says she'll carry with her through life?


Create your own tea like the DAR tea Grandma hosts.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.