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The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll Hardcover – September 11, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review, Booklist, September 15, 2007:
"Parents looking for books on sharing will find this an appealing exploration of the subject, teachers seeking picture books set during the Depression will find many details that bring the period to life. A gentle lesson that plays into the spirit of the holiday."
-Carolyn Phelan

Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2007:
“Full of humorous dialogue and scenes of realistic family life showing the close bonds within the family. Pinkney’s watercolor illustrations are masterful, as always…” - Kirkus Review

Review, The New York Times Book Review, December 2, 2007:
"An evocative book with a universal message."

About the Author

Patricia C. McKissack is the author of The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, a Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Award Winner, and its companion, Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and other Wily Characters, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book. Ms. McKissack has collaborated with Jerry Pinkney on two previous picture books: Goin’ Someplace Special, a Coretta Scott King Award Winner, and Mirandy and Brother Wind, a Caldecott Honor Book and a Coretta Scott King Award Winner. Her most recent book, Never Forgotten, was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and received five starred reviews. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Jerry Pinkney received the Caldecott Medal for his wordless retelling of The Lion and the Mouse. He has illustrated more than one hundred books, among them five Caldecott Honor books, including Mirandy and Brother Wind, written by Patricia C. McKissack; five New York Times Best Illustrated Books; and five Coretta Scott King Award winners. Some of his most beloved titles are The Talking Eggs, John Henry, The Ugly Duckling, Goin’ Someplace Special, and The Tortoise and the Hare. Mr. Pinkney lives in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, with his wife, author Gloria Jean Pinkney.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Schwartz & Wade; First Edition edition (September 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375837590
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375837593
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By The Well-Read Child on December 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book resonates with me because of the lessons it teaches, but the great thing is that Patricia C. McKissack gets these lessons across so well that kids who read it won't feel like they're being "preached" at. Three of the most important lessons I got from the book are:

1. People are more important than things
First, McKissack does a beautiful job of demonstrating through a bit of humor that people are indeed more important than things. When Nella first claims Baby Betty as her own, she has a great time playing all alone with her...for a while. Then Nella gets increasingly frustrated when Baby Betty doesn't respond to her stories or songs until she finally sees her sisters in the other room having a great time playing together and feels sad and lonely. It's not until she invites her sisters to join her and Baby Betty for tea that she truly has a good time. In fact EVERYONE has a good time, and Nella is finally able to say it was the best Christmas ever.

2. Be thankful for what you have
The second lesson the book teaches us it to be thankful for what you have. The Pearson's have to fill the cracks and line the walls with newspaper to keep the cold out. They are in the Great Depression, and money (and work and food and toys) is hard to come by. Yet, when the girls receive their bags of raisins and nuts for Christmas, they are very pleased because it's the most they've ever received. And when they get the Baby Betty doll, they are excited beyond belief. Children who are used to receiving tons and tons of gifts may be horrified at the meager gifts the girls receive, and it's a perfect opportunity to let them know that are many kids out there who are less fortunate than them.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kemie Nix on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The three Pearson sisters receive small Christmas treats, but Santy Claus only comes once in a while.After all, this is the rural south during the Depression. Nella, however, has seen an advertisement for a store -bought "Baby Betty" doll, the color of chocolate. Despite the scorn of her sisters, Nella writes a letter to Santy Claus assuring him that Baby Betty is all she'll ever want. Santy Claus comes through, setting the three sisters to fighting over the beautiful doll. Nella wins - or does she?

With pencil and watercolor illustrations, the artist depicts the three sisters exquisitely. His faces seem real, and he paints them large in expressive moments, shouting, singing, laughing. Despite poverty, this is a touching story of rich familial love.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Fennelly on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my two daughters, age 5 and 7. The book tells the story of a young, poor family and a meager Christmas. The book offers plenty of starting points for discussions of important life morals: money doesn't buy happiness, the value of sharing, the importance of family, the spirit of generosity, and more. And at the same time, the story is engaging for young readers. My seven year old read it as soon as it came, and was eager to re-read it with me and her 5 year old sister. This book has fast become a holiday favorite and I'm sure it will hold that place as we bring it back out every year with other holiday favorites we have enjoyed for years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll" is a wonderful 9 7/8 inches by 11 3/8 inches 32 page beautifully illustrated children's Christmas picture book which takes place in an "All Black" town in Alabama during the Great Depression. Jerry Pinkney, the illustrator, has captured the story through pencil and water color in a magnificent collage of colored illustrations. Most of the beautiful colored illustrations are double spread and one side of the illustration contains just the right amount of text for young readers. The expressions on the characters' faces are so revealing of the feelings of the characters. The choice of colors vividly reflects the emotions of the characters and conveys the atmosphere of poor conditions during the difficult years of the Great Depression.

The book opens with the frantic preparations for Christmas in a poor black family's home just before Christmas in the midst of the Great Depression. Even though the Pearson family was poor, Christmas always came to the Pearson house, but Santy Claus only came occasionally. In order for Santy Claus to come on Christmas the whole Pearson house must be cleaned and readied for Christmas. This included tearing off the faded newspapers which covered the inside walls of the home to keep out the cold winter air, and replacing them with fresh clean newspapers. Nella and her two sisters - Dessa and Eddy work real hard at replacing the newspapers. In the process Nella sees an advertisement on one of the sheets of newsprint. It was an ad for a Baby Betty doll. Nella wished for the impossible and her sisters let her know it. It was just simply too much to wish for a poor black family during the Great Depression.
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