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Patty Reed's Doll: The Story of the Donner Party Paperback – August, 1989

4.9 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rachel Kelley Laurgaard wrote Patty Reed's Doll as a master's thesis at Sacramento State College in 1956, where she also taught English. She lived for many years in Oakland, where she died in 2000.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1040L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Tomato Enterprises (August 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0961735724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0961735722
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Patty Reed's Doll is an excellent account of the Donner Party and all the other families that were part of the Donner Tragedy.The book describes the families in such detail you feel like you're traveling with them. The Reeds are one of the families that are traveling with the Donner Party. The story is an excellent way to teach elementary school children as well as adults what trailblazing was really like and the severe hardships that went with it. As an elementary school teacher I highly recommend this book. It is an asset to studying California history.
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By Karrel on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I read this book in 1964 as a 4th grader in Northern California learning state history. I have never forgotten Patty or her doll (which used to be on display at Sutter's Fort). When my children were small it was not in print and I am so happy to see it is again. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about American history from a totally different perspective. That of a little wooden doll, chosen amongst many beautiful sisters, to make a rough trip in the pocket of her owner. You will never forget Patty Reed, or her doll, I know I haven't. I am buying the book to keep to read and to my grandchildren.
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Format: Paperback
The story of the Donner Party of 1846 as told by a pocket-sized doll who survived the entire ordeal--a silent witness! These 19 short chapters describe the hope, simple pleasures and ultimate grim saga of starvation of the ill-fated Donner party. This pre-Gold rush wagon train took a bogus cutoff and fell into the pitiless trap of early an winter with record blizzards.
Many of the emigrants who had dreamed of a new life in California endured the bitterness of prolonged starvation; many died (adults and children) in the snowbound cabins by Donner Lake and Summit Pass, but many others survived, including a plucky 8-year-old girl named Patty Reed.
She has a special friend who helps her endure this Ordeal by Hunger--a tiny wooden doll which she keeps hidden in her clothing. This doll (now on display at the Donner Museum near Truckee, CA) bravely shares the fate of her young mistress without complaint, and Patty keeps no secrets from Dolly. "I could not tell her, but I think she knew I lived on Love, not mortal food."
A tender story of incredible deprivation and the will to live. Young readers will be so caught up in the Reed family's struggle (shared by many other Irish families), that they will hardly notice how much they are learning about the Westward movement, wagon trains and the towering Sierra Nevadas. Here is a gentle dose of gritty American history.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book many years ago, but images still remain with me. As told via the narration of the wooden peg-doll (a real doll now residing in a museum!) belonging to Patty Reed, one of the survivors of the infamous Donner Party, this is a fascinating account of the everyday, and also the extraordinary efforts of the families to survive their trip across the west. This is great reading for young people, evocative and vivid...I highly recommend it to anyone!
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By A Customer on July 12, 1999
Format: Paperback
when you start to read this story . it transforms you into a person in the donner party . this story really makes you take a second look on the donner party .
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Format: Paperback
This is a beautifully written book that captures the plight of pioneers traveling west. My fourth grade students really gain a sense of what life was like once upon a time. Great book!!...
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book that is based on fact and actually sticks very close to the true facts. It is hard to put down once you start it. Our 6 year old granddaughter loved the book, as I did also. I highly recommend it for both children and adults, even though it is written for elementary age children.
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Format: Paperback
Recently my 10 year old was looking at some graphic novels (comic book format) and saw one called The Donner Party. She asked me what it was about. I vaguely remembered the story and thought it was something my daughter didn't really need to know about yet. But I looked up information on it at Wikipedia and found the story quite interesting, in fact fascinating. Not the gruesome aspects of it, of course...but just the entire story. One bad decision after another which led to tragedy upon tragedy. In my search for information, I saw this book Patty Reed's Doll. Because of the good reviews here, I bought a copy (our library couldn't get it). We just finished reading it aloud this week. We both really enjoyed it a lot. It's one of those books that you don't want to stop reading. I kept hearing my 10 year old plead, "Just one more chapter...please??" We both were sad when the book was finally over. I definitely think it's one of those books that she'll keep and reread herself. It sparked a lot of different conversations between us. We talked about what we would do on such a long journey. The trials they went through were heartbreaking. Think of spending all winter cramped in a tiny broken down cabin with no food. What would you do all day every day? How would you pass the time? There was nothing to read, no toys to play with (only Patty's doll that she hid in her dress), certainly no tv, computer, or kindle (oh the horror!). If you were a parent, what would you do with your young children all day long? How would you feel when they kept crying because they were hungry...and all you had to give them to eat was a dirty old oxhide or some leather shoes? To me, it would have been a living nightmare. It really makes you wonder what you would do if you had been there.Read more ›
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