Study Guide

A Long Way from Chicago Competition

By Richard Peck

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Given Grandma Dowdel's stubbornness and pride, it's no wonder that she also reveals her competitive streak in A Long Way from Chicago. Joey and Mary Alice experience this firsthand when Grandma enters a pie-making contest at the fair, during which she switches her pie with another contestant's because she wants to win (hey, that's cheating…).

And when the Centennial Celebration rolls around, Grandma is willing to do anything to ensure that Mrs. Weidenbach's relatives don't sweep all the prizes.

Questions About Competition

  1. Why does Grandma Dowdel agree to compete in the pie-baking competition?
  2. Does Mary Alice really want to win the talent show? Why or why not?
  3. Does it matter whether or not Uncle Grady is really older than Mrs. Weidenbach's daddy?

Chew on This

Although Grandma Dowdel tries to stay away from big events, she can't resist a challenge—and her neighbors take advantage of this trait when they convince her to enter the pie-baking competition.

Grandma Dowdel passes her spirit of competition onto her grandchildren, which is why Mary Alice puts her all into practicing for the talent show and upstaging Mrs. Weidenbach's nephew.

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