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The Doll Shop Downstairs Hardcover – September 3, 2009
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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
-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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Author Yona Zeldis McDonough tells the story from Anna's point-of-view in first-person narration. Young Anna learns how to control her emotions, cope with sibling rivalry, and solve problems. Readers watch Anna mature. She comforts her younger sister, forges compromises that satisfy all three girls, and stays calm when she must give up her favorite doll. Anna earns the respect of her older sister Sophie and of their parents. Anna gains self-confidence from her success.
The illustrations by Heather Maione capture the different personalities of the main characters and develop the historical time period with details of clothing, hair styles, furniture, and, of course, dolls.
This uplifting story will help children to deal with family tensions and to understand the world of the early twentieth century.