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The Doll Shop Downstairs Hardcover – September 3, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Doll Shop Series

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Realistic fiction for tweens
Ms. Bixby's Last Day
Wishing Day
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Anna's father repairs dolls for a living with parts he special orders from Germany. Their family lives above the shop and the nine-year-old and her sisters help with chores. In their spare time, they make up games to play with the dolls waiting to be repaired. Of course, each girl has a favorite. When war breaks out (an author's note says it is World War I and describes the embargo), Anna's father can no longer get his parts and the shop begins to suffer. He starts returning the dolls he can't repair, and soon there are only six left. Then Anna comes up with the idea to create new ones, and her Nurse Nora is a success. With business looking better, the only thing the girls have left to worry about is whether or not the owners of their favorite broken dolls will return to claim them. This slow but sweet tale has an old-fashioned feel and is based on a true story. Readers who stick with it will be happy with the ending.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA END

Review

-Mix one part Rumer Godden+s The Story of Holly and Ivy and many parts Sydney Taylor+s All-of-a-Kind Family and you create a standout family-and-doll story.+-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (September 3, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067001091X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670010912
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,283,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Yana V. Rodgers on September 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Breittlemann family operated a successful doll-repair business on the Lower East Side of New York City. Because store-bought dolls were made of fragile materials such as china and porcelain during the early 1900s, they broke easily, and the Breittlemann shop had established a good reputation for its high-quality work. Anna and her sisters enjoyed helping out in any way they could, especially when it meant they could play with the dolls undergoing repairs. After all, these were expensive dolls that their parents could ill afford to purchase themselves.

The start of World War I brought an enormous interruption to their business, since almost all the doll parts they used were imported from Germany and the United States placed an embargo on trade with Germany. When Mama started taking in sewing jobs in order to generate badly needed cash, Anna became determined to get a job and help her family. Along the way the Breittlemanns learned that taking a chance with an interesting idea could lead to some surprising outcomes.

This tender story, with its plot based on actual events, is loaded with substance. Economic themes, especially the impact of war-time scarcities on production and consumption, are delicately woven into a tale of Jewish culture, social class, and children's play. The book's subtle blend of these rich themes works well to broaden the appeal to more than just doll lovers.
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Format: Hardcover
With a nod to the best children's books about dolls, and another to Sydney Taylor's
All of a Kind Family, author Yona Zeldis Mcdonough gives us wholly original story about three doll loving Jewish sisters in New York City's Lower East Side. Mama and Papa run Breittlemann's Doll Repair Shop, whose sign states, "All Kinds of Dolls Lovingly Restored and Mended, Est. 1904". The story is told by middle sister, Anna, stuck between smart and grown up Sophie, age 11, and cute baby Trudy, who tries whining and crying to get her way. In a mere 107 magical pages, we are transported to the Breittleman's home and business, just before the outbreak of World War I. Dolls and doll parts, a resourceful Mama and Papa, and an appealing heroine and her sisters, are deftly drawn. Arguments among the siblings, hurt feelings, and lack of money are some of the problems that beset the family. When World War I breaks out, and an embargo is placed on importing German goods, economic problems loom; the doll repair business is in trouble. With resourcefulness, Anna surprises herself and her family by coming up with a possible solution. More than dolls are mended in this story. Anna, with the help of her encouraging mama, her pocket notebook diary and the comfort she finds in writing, mends her own heart, and finds her place in the family. Sketchy line drawings by Heather Maione convey the old fashioned ambience of the doll shop, and the active sisters in pinafores. Reading level, typeface, spacing and book length are perfect for young readers. This reviewer predicts that The Doll Shop Downstairs will become a classic. Jewish observance and values are a positive and matter of fact part of this very American story. For readers from 8-12 and as a read aloud for classrooms and families. Naomi Morse
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By GiGi on April 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I collect dolls and this book is great. I don't find too many books on doll stories. It is about a little girl, whose father owns a doll hospital. Her family is too poor to buy her a new doll and so she is allowed to play with a doll in need of repair. But once the doll is repaired it goes back to its owner. Read and see what happens! A nice book for doll lovers of any age!
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A Kid's Review on December 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is about three sisters named Trudie, Sophie, and Anna.Anna is nine. Even though all of them are in the book at a lot of times, Anna is sort of like the main character. Sophie is eleven and acts like a grown up a lot and Trudie is seven and she whines a lot. Anna thinks that it is hard being a middle sister, because Trudie is cute and little, and Sophie is pretty and smart and can do a lot of things that Anna can't do. Anna thinks that Sophie is really clever but I think that Anna is too. Like the time when Trudie was about to cry because they didn't have a bed for their dolls, and Anna already had something to be like a bed for them. They live above a doll repair shop that their family owns. They help their parents run the shop when they don't have school. This family lives in 1904, and they are Jewish. I really like historical fiction, and sometimes it can be more interesting then plain fiction. This is a really detailed book! A lot of times in books the beginnings are interesting, because they tell a lot about the family. But it was like that the whole entire book. The girls had "their"own dolls, but they weren't really their dolls. They were actually dolls that had been sent to the shop to get repaired. But Papa was unable to find the right doll parts from Germany. So Sophie, Anna, and Trudie get to play with those three dolls.Sophie's is Victoria Marie, Anna's is Bernadette Louise, and Trudie's is Angelica Grace.I really, really liked this book. It is the best book I ever read.
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Format: Hardcover
THE DOLL SHOP DOWNSTAIRS receives fine black and white drawings throughout by Heather Maione as it tells of a doll shop and an awkward middle child who feels special only when she's in her family's doll repair shop with her favorite doll - a repair doll that isn't hers. When war threatens the shop, Anna dreams of saving it - and her doll. Girls will find this a tender, winning tale.
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