Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
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Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  3,904 ratings  ·  217 reviews
Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. It is indeed a privilege to publish her memoirs, which, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. One glance at her portrait will show that she is no ordinary doll. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a lit...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Aladdin (first published 1929)
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Antof9
Read as part of the Read the Newberys" reading project. This is by far my favorite of the Newbery books read yet (we started at the oldest and are working our way to current time). In fact, it was fun and entertaining to read. It's Mehitabel's (Hitty's) memoirs, and is so fun to read. Hitty, of course, is a carved wooden doll, who chronicles her life through owner after owner after owner. Hitty's adventures in a way reminded me of The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, another Newbery book, but were fa...more
Tweety
I can't believe I forgot this book! When I first read it I loved it so much I copied the pictures on tracing paper so as to remember the story line. If I had this, it would be the "grab during fire" type of book.

I think I can safely blame this book for my dislike of dolls now. Hitty was so real to me, I lived her adventures with her, and her fears. I can never forget the P engraved on the hearth, that is forever burned into my brain.


Now, I go to the library every so often so as to look at it a...more
Sara
Read this as a child. I remember the title more than the book - I really liked the title.
Wendy
Another one you all seem to have read and loved that I never picked up before. I expected it to be cheesy, but it was highly readable, suspenseful, and very funny. I read it almost without stopping, though the first half was superior to the second.

ETA: I see that an edition with "updated text" has been released, presumably to remove racial stereotypes. I wonder how far they went? The stuff with the former slaves would be fairly easy to adjust, but what about the natives in the South Seas?
Ally Copper
"Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" by Rachel Field is the memoir of a small doll who was carved out of a piece of mountain-ash wood approximately one century before she began writing her memoir. When she begins writing her memoir she is in an antique shop, but her memoirs reveal she has been around the world and held by countless individuals from numerous countries. She began her life in Maine with her first owner, Phoebe Preble. She went on a sea adventure with the Preble family, survived a sinki...more
Sean McGuire
Feb 11, 2013 Sean McGuire rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone. No seriously. Everyone's life will be the better for it.
THIS BOOK.

I mean seriously, where do I even start? It's so good. "Hitty" is based on an old peg doll the author and her friend saw in an antique store. The doll's face had such personality that Ms. Mead was left to wonder just what the doll's story was. In answer to this question, Ms. Mead wrote this charming book, and the friend that was with her in the antique store, Dorothy Lathrop, provides fantastic illustrations.

Telling the tale is Hitty, a little ash wood peg doll who, over the course of...more
DaNae
She was shaped from a six-inch piece of mountain-ash, carried from Ireland in a peddler’s pack to ward of witches and other forms of evil. In Hitty: her first Hundred Years we travel though the titled century with that little vagabond piece of feminine-shaped ash as she is flung over a good portion of the world. From her respectable beginnings within a puritanical home she moves into situations that would scandalize most proper folk. Among her many incarnations Hitty can résumé graven-idol, snak...more
Jill
Feb 28, 2011 Jill rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: newbery-medal
How did this get such a high average rating? It's the 1930 Newbery winner and I struggled to get through it. I'm scratching my head wondering why this ever won. It would have been better as a 10 page picture book. 230+ pages of the same boring descriptions of mundane details. There were potentially exciting moments like the shipwreck or the auction near the end, and even in those moments I felt like I was trudging through thick mud just trying to make it through! Usually at the halfway mark thin...more
Melanie
I read this book practically in one sitting. It was a fast paced highly readable tale about a wooden carved doll who goes through many adventures and countries. She was carved from lucky mountain ash by a pedlar shown kindness by a Maine family in the late 1700s-early 1800s. The story tells of her writing her tale down while being a cherished favourite in an antique shop many years later.

I came away feeling so grateful that she had managed to keep her name thanks to her embroidered chemise, and...more
Megan Baxter
This was charming, but slight. It's a children's book about a wooden doll and her adventures over a hundred years, including some time on a whaling ship, being worshipped as an idol in the South Seas, time in India among missionaries (I did sort of wonder about the geography that got her from one to the other. Did people who were whalers in the Maine really go all the way to the Pacific to get whales?), time with a Quaker family, with a spoiled little girl, with an old lady or two, on a steamboa...more
Cheryl in CC NV
I enjoyed this almost as much as I did the (at least two) times I read it as a child. It's not pc, of course, but in the context it's fairly respectful and compassionate - in fact it's a good exploration of lots of different ways people have lived. The foreshadowing, especially in the beginning, got a little tiresome ("little did we know...") but in the main it was gracefully written. If I do ever get into woodworking I will seek out mountain ash for crafts I want to last!
Magda
I'm sure I read this when I was much younger, but I guess I remembered it as fusty and uninteresting. As an adult, the character of Hitty is quite enjoyable, as the author plays with giving her a human personality with a few surprises for the reader in terms of abilities, but ultimately limiting her, physically and believably, as a doll. The illustrations by Dorothy Lathrop are beautifully done.
Carl Nelson
1930 Newbery Medal recipient.

It's safe to say that if it weren't on the Newbery list, there's no way I would be reading the tale of a wooden doll travelling all over the world through many different hands. As the main character is an inanimate object incapable of anything other than being acted upon by forced beyond her control, I had a very tough time caring about Hitty. The endless descriptions of fashions and outfits was also lost upon me, and the tale was largely about how Hitty would be los...more
Benji Martin
I have been working on Hitty off and on for a few weeks now. It wasn't an easy read for me. I was really looking forward to it, thinking that after a decade of only men winning the Newbery, the first woman winner was a big step for the award. Sadly, the same racism and class-ism that plagued a few of the winners from the 1920's is present in Hitty as well.

Hitty has many adventures that take her around the world, and when she encounters natives of an eastern aisle, she calls them savages, which I...more
Kathi
Once again, I wish I could use a 3.5 rating.

Hitty’s character is a great example of the optimistic, make-the-most-of-your-experiences attitude that helps create a happy life as she travels from one adventure to the next in her lifetime so far. She has both very happy and very sad experiences during her first 100 years, and even a decade or two of just waiting. Hitty’s adventures are educational—if definitely old-fashioned and not politically correct for our century—and instructive, especially f...more
D.C.
I liked this a lot. The absurd and entertaining adventures of the strangely likable Hitty provide a great page-turner. A story about a doll's 100 years of existence could be very boring and poorly executed, but Field does it very well. A recommended Newbery romp.
Sharon
It's easy to see why "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" by Rachel Field received the Newberry Medal. The title character is a doll carved from mountain-ash wood by a peddlar who has been taken in by a friendly mother and her daughter during the harsh New England winter. From the moment she first puts pen to paper to record her memoirs, Hitty is captivating. Her personality is utterly charming as she takes in each new turn of fate with aplomb and an unfailingly cheerful disposition. Hitty seems to...more
Anita
Jan 19, 2008 Anita rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children
Recommended to Anita by: the librarian at Joaquin Elementary
I read this as a child and while most of the historical information got past me, the magic of this little carved doll popping in and out of children's lives was wonderful to me. It's a treasure.
Jessica
There should be an asterisk after those 4 stars. I really liked it, but the book is severely problematic. I have to admit avoiding this book in my Newbery reading. "Ugh, the story of a doll through 100 years. Seems like some little, old ladies idea of how to teach history to children and make it accessible in a very misguided way." Maybe that was the author's intent, but instead she created a ripping yarn. Adventures at sea, fire, war, kidnapping by crows, Hitty went through it all. While I roll...more
Beverly Diehl
4.5 stars. Long time ago, back in 4th grade, a librarian recommended this book to me; I read it, and liked it, but didn't feel it had made a huge impression. Yet it kept coming back to me over the years, so I decided to give it a re-read.

Hitty the doll was about a hundred years old; this story, published in 1929, is getting close. Some things have held up fairly well; the story of a small, hand-carved doll, going from beloved companion to heathen idol to fashion model and more, is fascinating, a...more
Debbie
83 1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (Macmillan) 83

9/5/2013 207 pages

Oh my goodness - this is another story that I love. Hitty is a doll carved from mountain ash which was given by a peddler to a little girl in whose home he stayed in a snowstorm. Through a serious of unfortunate events, Hittie lives with crows, in shipwrecked, becomes an Indian idol, works with a snake charmer, and on and on. One is kept wondering what next adventure will follow while falling in love with the...more
Tiffany
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Vivian
I read this aloud to my daughters, then spanning pre-school to grade school to middle school to high school. We all enjoyed it, learned a lot, and made note that she was carved of mountain-ash wood.

As it happens, a mountain-ash tree grew in our backyard. In the realm of fairy, mountain-ash is purported to have magical qualities. I think it was no accident that the author chose mountain-ash as the substance for this doll. When old-time sailors were on a ship that was "becalmed" the saying went th...more
Ensiform
Winner of the 1930 Newbery Award, this is the autobiography of a small wooden doll, carved before the Civil War out of mountain ash-wood by a peddler. Preoccupied with fine clothing and her dignity, Hitty goes through a variety of adventures, from being taken to a crow’s nest by a mother bird, to staying a year in a barn with mice, to being worshipped as an idol by island “savages,” to being used as in an Indian fakir’s snake-charming act, to serving as a portrait-painter’s prop, to touring as a...more
Erin
Long before Woody and Buzz Lightyear, there was a doll named Hitty who had an adventurous life, just not in a Pixar sort of way. I can see how this book would have been viewed as completely charming in it's day. I found it charming at times, but also often ponderous. Somehow, probably because Hitty is a doll and not a human character, she could get away with being really pretentious in a way I would not have tolerated in a human character. I think this book is as interesting an adventure tale fo...more
Handan
Apr 29, 2013 Handan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Plot
A doll, Mehitabel (or Hitty, for short), recounts her adventures of the past one hundred years.

Thoughts
First off, I have to give full credit for this being a clever idea. I thought I was wholly original with my short story of the life of a penny. Clearly, this is not a new idea (this novel won the Newbery in 1929).

And as anything written long enough ago, the language feels a little antiquated at first. However, the brain shifts quickly to accept it and so we carry on. The adventures Hitty s...more
Kelsey Carroll
This book was a very interesting read for me. Initially, I was a bit apprehensive about reading a book written from the eyes of a doll named Hitty, but after a couple of chapters I was somewhat fascinated. Hitty was carved out of mountain ash by an old peddler. He then gave her to Phoebe Preble. Phoebe takes Hitty to church with her, but accidentally drops her under a pew. Hitty spends a couple of terrible days under there until a boy named Andy finds her. Phoebe and Andy take Hitty on a picnic...more
Monica DeBlieck
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Lyndi
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Kristen
I remember reading Hitty: Her First Hundred Years as a child, so it was very interesting to revisit this book as an adult. I think I appreciated it more the second time through, because I remember not being too fond of it when I was younger. I really enjoyed how the story was told from the perspective of a doll, because not too many stories are told this way. I especially liked how the author used Hitty's point of view to make it seem like she herself were writing the story when she said, "I wi...more
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Rachel Lyman Field was an American novelist, poet, and author of children's fiction. She is best known for her Newbery Medal–winning novel for young adults, Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, published in 1929.

As a child Field contributed to the St. Nicholas Magazine and was educated at Radcliffe College. Her book, Prayer for a Child, was a recipient of the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations by El...more
More about Rachel Field...
Calico Bush Prayer for a Child All This, and Heaven Too And Now Tomorrow Time out of Mind

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