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Hitty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel…
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Hitty Her First Hundred Years (original 1929; edition 1998)

by Rachel Field, Dorothy P. Lathrop (Illustrator)

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8481810,600 (3.89)50
Member:The_Hibernator
Title:Hitty Her First Hundred Years
Authors:Rachel Field
Other authors:Dorothy P. Lathrop (Illustrator)
Info:Aladdin (1998), Edition: Original, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Young Adult, Dolls, Historical Fiction, Newbery, Maine, Fantasy, 19th Century

Work details

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (1929)

Recently added bykuipers5, LMS2881, private library, amyem58, hearthebells, Sarahthe1001, Melissa_50, my4girls, bonreads
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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
4.5 stars. Long time ago, back in 4th grade, a librarian recommended this book to me; I read it, and liked it, but didn't feel it had made a huge impression. Yet it kept coming back to me over the years, so I decided to give it a re-read.

Hitty the doll was about a hundred years old; this story, published in 1929, is getting close. Some things have held up fairly well; the story of a small, hand-carved doll, going from beloved companion to heathen idol to fashion model and more, is fascinating, and the device - told in first person from the POV of the doll - is probably one of the most unique literary devices ever. The illustrations, too, are charming, and help reinforce the idea that while the doll belongs to various owners, generally children, she herself is an adult, with a deliberately pleasant expression.

Other details, like Hitty's ash-wood complexion, became a little rougher with the passing of time. The author did not know about political correctness in 1929; some of the stories, like that of being carried on a whaling vessel, are fascinating, yet at the same time horrifying to those of us who understand whales to be sentient beings. The depiction of people of color - in India, and America isn't - QUITE - racist, but borders on it; the depiction of "heathens" as bowing down and worshiping the doll because she had jointed limbs is ridiculous.

I wouldn't hand this book to a child today without reading it along with her/him and explaining some of these issues. But there is a tremendous amount of entertainment here; it certainly stokes the imagination, wondering where the doll will wind up next. The revelations about human nature - some of the doll's owners prized her, for various reasons, otherwise were more lackadaisical, even abusive, are still applicable today. The descriptions of Maine and its foliage are also beautiful. And the doll's voice - a somewhat prim, stiff (well, she IS wooden) older lady - is wonderful. ( )
  writerbeverly | May 1, 2014 |
Summary: This book is about a doll named Hitty and she is writing about everything that happened in her lifetime, before coming to an antique shop. She was made by the Old Peddler who carved her out of mountain-ash wood. They say mountain-ash wood wards off evil and it is lucky. She was made for a little girl named Phoebe Preble. After quite some time together, Phoebe is forced to give Hitty to some natives. Hitty is rescued from the natives. Phoebe and Hitty stay together until India,where Phoebe drops her never to see her again. Hitty is found by some Hindu's and is sold to some missionaries. Hitty is stuffed in a couch by the missionary's daughter. Several years later she is found by a little Quaker girl. When the little girl gets tired of Hitty, she gives her to a servant girl. Hitty stays with the servant girl until she is stolen. She becomes famous from her travels. These are just a few of Hitty's adventures before she ends up in the Antique Shop.
Personal Reaction: This book is filled with a lot of adventure and excitement. I liked there being so many places visited by Hitty and how she got from one place to another. I know my children have had certain dolls or toys that they still have, and my children have many good memories with them, so I can kind of relate to this.
Classroom Extension Ideas: Let the students bring something they have that is special to them, which it can be a doll or some other memento,to class and talk about it.
We can make paper dolls or if they have something special they would like to draw or make, we will to this in class. ( )
  graycl | Apr 19, 2013 |
Originally published in 1929, and chosen as the Newbery Medal Winner in 1930, Rachel Field's Hitty, Her First Hundred Years is the charming autobiography of an American doll, and her many adventures, over the course of a century. Created from mountain-ash - a wood said to bring good luck, and ward off evil - by a wandering peddler, and given to young Phoebe Preble, Hitty's life began in the state of Maine (although her wood came, like her peddler creator, from Ireland), but soon took her to all parts of the globe. Sailing out of Boston with the Prebles, on a whaling voyage, going overboard in a shipwreck, washing up on a South Seas island where she was worshiped as an idol, becoming lost in India, being found by missionaries, being stolen from a Cotton Exhibition in New Orleans, and finally, being auctioned as an antique, Hitty's first hundred years was full indeed, of colorful incidents, and multiple owners. What was constant throughout, was her keen interest in, and observation of, the world around her, and her philosophical approach to the ups and downs of a doll's life.

Well-written and immensely engaging, this is a book I would like to be able to recommend wholeheartedly. There is much of value here: the many period details, which Field always seems to get just right; the snap-shot view of American history, as seen from a unique perspective; and an utterly enchanting heroine, who manages to be believable, both as doll and as narrator. Unfortunately, there are also some dated elements, particularly in the depiction of non-European peoples: the "frightening" Indians of Maine, the "heathen" South Sea Islanders, the "dirty" Indian snake-charmer, the "happy" African-American plantation workers. What's interesting, in all of this - something raised in The Newbery Book-Club to which I belong, is the fact that Hitty herself often takes a more liberal, tolerant view of these different human groups, as compared to her various European or Euro-American owners.

I think there's definitely something to this idea (hence the fact that this got knocked down from four to three stars, rather than from four to two), but even Hitty's perspective sometimes still felt a little condescending to me. Still, given the unique quality of the narrative, I can certainly understand why long-time fans of the book were outraged at the recent Rosemary Wells rewrite. I think that, in the end, the good qualities of this title are sufficient to retain it as a reading selection for young people, with the caveat that responsible adults should be sure to engage them in a discussion of some of the socially anachronistic content. ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 12, 2013 |
a must read..a whirlwind tour of American history...fun...!!! ( )
  Merleiv | Apr 5, 2013 |
a must read..a whirlwind tour of American history...fun...!!! ( )
  Merleiv | Apr 5, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rachel Fieldprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lahtrop, Dorothy P.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the state of Maine and Abbie Evans
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The antique shop is very still now.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689822847, Paperback)

Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. It is indeed a privilege to publish her memoirs, which, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. One glance at her portrait will show that she is no ordinary doll. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip in a whaler. This is the story of Hitty's years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:56 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In this classic tale, young readers can follow the adventurous and life of Hitty (or Mehitabel), from her beginnings as a piece of ash wood in Maine, to her transformation into a favorite doll and playmate of a young girl living in the 1800's.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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