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

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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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
  • Lexile Measure: AD650L (What's this?)
  • 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: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,571,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The story is about a loving family rich in traditions, and loyalties to each other and very poor financially. The family is made up of two parents and three daughters. The middle daughter wants a doll for Christmas and her two sisters try to disinterest her in the doll because they are simply too poor to expect such a grand gift during the time of the depression. The sisters do everything together until one Christmas day when one special gift arrives. I loved this story because it reminded me so much of my sisters and when I was the middle daughter. Life has its challenges and sisters die of breast cancer, parents pass away and yet memories linger. Childhood is a life long sentence after all and no one is released for good or bad behavior. This story shares what it is like to find happiness and comfort despite being dirt poor because you are surrounded by something money can not buy, the love of your family. I recommend this book to anyone who can read, and to anyone who can't read, but can find someone to read it to them.
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