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Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,799 Ratings  ·  271 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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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
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
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
Jul 20, 2014 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery
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?
Jul 10, 2014 Sara rated it liked it
Read this as a child. I remember the title more than the book - I really liked the title.
May 14, 2009 Melanie rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Jan 31, 2016 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery-winners
Newbery Medal Winner--1930

This is the first Newbery winner of the 30's and the first written by a woman--and for the most part, was pretty enjoyable. These older Newbery winners are a little harder to get through because of language and out-of-date thinking, but this one follows Hitty, a wooden doll, and the adventures she has throughout her first 100 years. These adventures include going on a whaling ship, becoming an idol for an group of island natives, working for a snake charmer in India, an
Monica Fastenau
Mar 07, 2016 Monica Fastenau rated it liked it
Read the full review here:

This story about a beloved doll and her adventures was surprisingly interesting. Hitty is taken on trips, passed from girl to girl, and even lost during her first hundred years. I do remember that, reading this as a young teenager, I was a bit overwhelmed by the length of the book and the old-fashioned writing style, so for a younger kid, it might work better as a story you read to them, bit by bit. But don’t pass this book by si
Juli Anna Herndon
Well, this was a complicated one. Of course, I must make the now-obligatory announcement that this book is racist and imperialist. Not as bad as some, but worse than others. In one sentence, this book is a somewhat slow, meandering adventure story, the protagonist of which is a wooden doll. "Hitty" is the hapless and (literally) helpless victim of all sorts of shenanigans: she is stolen by crows and taken to their nest; she lives aboard a whaling ship and falls overboard; she is worshiped as an ...more
Benji Martin
Jun 14, 2014 Benji Martin rated it it was ok
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
Sean McGuire
Feb 11, 2013 Sean McGuire rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone. No seriously. Everyone's life will be the better for it.

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
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
Feb 28, 2011 Jill rated it did not like it
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
| AgainstTheUniverse |


I read this book when I was fairly young, so my review may not apply. But when I read this book, I had no idea what was happening. AT ALL.

The concept of this book was fairly interesting. However, I never want to read this book ever again.
Oct 20, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
Can't wait til my children are old enough for me to read this to them and discuss the idea of colonialism, the morality of whaling, the passage of time and change in culture. Charming and completely holds up, imo. This book was one of my favorites from the library as a girl and deeply impressed the way I played with dolls and viewed antiques. Love!
Megan Baxter
Jul 03, 2014 Megan Baxter rated it liked it
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
I got this book through a Scholastic Book Club flyer when I was in the fourth grade. I knew nothing about what it was about, I just really liked the colors of the cover. And then it turned out to involve some of my favorite things: history! Geography! Antiques! Adventures! I remember liking it a lot, in spite of the fact that I was never really a doll person. So I was looking forward to a re-read...But. As much as I wanted to enjoy the crazily unlikely world-hopping history & near-miraculous ...more
Jul 24, 2014 Jesse rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing on so many levels. I expected an enjoyable read, but didn’t expect how blown away I would be by the depth of this story.

Hitty: Her First Hundred Years is a pretty interesting title to start with, and the premise of the memoirs of a doll through the ages has a definite charm. I think most of us have, over the years, looked at some sort of object (not necessarily a doll for everyone, but perhaps some other worn and beloved child’s plaything or a certain piece of furniture or c
Jun 10, 2016 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
This is a fabulous story. Unfortunately, I found this book only after reading the modern version, Rachel Field's Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, the abomination written by Rosemary Wells. Since the story (and illustrations) in that book was changed in so many ways, the publisher should have required Wells to give her book another title or at least a descriptive sub-title. It is NOT the same book at all and to imply that it is disrespects Rachel Field big time.

The flaws in Rachel Field's origina
Carl Nelson
Feb 03, 2014 Carl Nelson rated it it was ok
Shelves: newbery-winners
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
Mar 17, 2014 Kathi rated it liked it
Shelves: newbery
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
Jan 09, 2014 D.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
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.
Jan 09, 2014 Sharon rated it really liked it
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
Jan 19, 2008 Anita rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 05, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newbery
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
Dec 31, 2013 Debbie rated it it was amazing
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
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Dec 10, 2012 Vivian rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s
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
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2015 Reading Chal...: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field 1 11 Aug 24, 2015 07:20AM  
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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 about Rachel Field...

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