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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 10 years, 7 months ago

5/23/2001 FAIR WEATHER by Richard Peck, Dial Books, October 2001


We left Oakland at dawn, flew in to BWI, and caught a shuttlebus down to the DC Hostel. It was just getting dark by the time we'd checked in. ALA Midwinter was starting in the morning. We dropped our stuff in the room, bundled up, and headed back downstairs. Out the door, make a left, walk down past the Convention Center and between a couple of the Smithsonian buildings to the middle of The Mall. First, to the Washington Monument, and then along the Reflecting Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. The moon had just risen from over the shoulder of the Capitol as we gazed out in wonder from Abe's front porch. Intending to circle around the White House on our way back to the Hostel, we made a left past The Wall and started down a side street. A minute later I was convulsing with laughter so hard that I was forced to grab at a signpost to keep from falling over! We had accidentally stumbled upon the National Headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution. If you've gotten to read the latest Newbery Medal winner, you might understand what suddenly had me in stitches that evening.


I don't know if Richard Peck will ever be able to top the characters and situations--Grandma Dowdel, Mary Alice, Mildred Burdick, the pecan tree and the pumpkins, Mrs. Effie Wilcox, Arnold Green, Maxine Patch and the snake, etc.--that made A YEAR DOWN YONDER the funniest book I'd read in years.


But if you loved that book, you'll be similarly captivated by Peck's latest book, FAIR WEATHER. The story takes place in 1893. This time, in contrast to A YEAR DOWN YONDER, it's the country kids heading to the big city (Chicago) to visit their Aunt Euterpe and the World's Columbian Exposition.


Oh, how I wish that I could have been at that fair! Richard Peck's ability to allow me to see, smell and taste the enormity, magnificence, and even the dust of the Exposition, the setting for yet another rollicking tale with unforgettable characters, leaves me yearning to have been there. I vividly recall the one day that I spent at the '64-65 New York World's Fair, and I assure you, it wasn't half as much fun as the evening I just spent reading FAIR WEATHER!


Enough said. Since Peck just won the Newbery you're all going to read it anyway, so I'll stop before I spoil any of the surprises!


Richie Partington

Richie's Picks



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