What did Joe and Mary Alice take home with them on the train in A Long Way from Chicago?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck siblings Joey and Mary Alice take the Wabash Railroad Crack Blue Bird train to visit their grandmother, the very eccentric Grandma Dowdel, in the country side of Illinois.

Dowdel, who is a product of her times, has little contact with the outside world as far as technology goes: she does not keep nor does she listen to the radio and, even though telephones were available at the time, she does not keep one in the household either. This leads us to assume that the siblings were likely to be bored or at least bound to have a lot of time to work on other things while visiting Grandma. This is evident in the objects that they brought with them precisely with the idea of spreading their time with these tasks at Dowdel's household.

Mary Alice brought the book The Hidden Staircase to read while she spent time over there. She also brought a jump rope for occasional fun. Joey, on the other hand, brought a jigsaw puzzle featuring one of the most revered (and justly- so) celebrities of his day, Charles Lindbergh and his airplane which was named "The Spirit of St. Louis".

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