This is another story with the author’s beloved character, Mrs. Dowdel. This story is told by the son of the new preacher in town. Bob meets Mrs. Dowdel when the local bullies catch him, strip him down, truss him up and hang him in Mrs. Dowdel’s outhouse for fun. She cuts him down and gives him clothes belonging to her dead husband. He is not quite sure what to make of Mrs. Dowdel at that first meeting but during that year, she has an impact on Bob’s family in many ways.
The story is set in a small town in Ilinois in 1958 and Grandma Dowdel is a town character with good connections and an uncanny ability to solve people’s problems in ingeniously whacky ways. This is a good book for the holidays for Grandma Dowdel gives her gifts all year long and events include a ghost Indian princess suitable for Halloween and a Christmas service. The book is funny and warm and seasonal.
I would say that it is for older children. Bob’s older sister Phyllis begins to run around with a bad element in town, so aside from the town bullies who are really mean, there is also drunkenness and a pregnant bride. But the kindnesses that Grandma Dowdel extends to this family solve all sorts of problems and enrich their lives too. It’s a fun read with old-fashioned small town charm. Recommended for children in 6th through 8th grade.
Posted by: Fran