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

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  6,264 Ratings  ·  293 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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Megan Baxter
Jun 21, 2013 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
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
Jun 20, 2008 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?
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 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.
Oct 09, 2010 Melody rated it really liked it
Lovely, lovely book. A favorite from my childhood that has worn exceedingly well. Hitty is a doll carved from mountain ash who has the most exciting adventures. Do not read the new bastardized revision that has nothing to do with the original. Accept no substitutes!
Stephanie A.
Jul 21, 2012 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it
Wonderful. You know why I can't give up my toys? Whenever I consider it, I imagine many of them have secret life stories like this doll. Beautiful classic that I wish had been brought to my attention before I randomly found it on the shelves of my college library.
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
Juli Anna
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
May 31, 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
Feb 14, 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
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
Jan 28, 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
Jan 02, 2017 Mitchell rated it really liked it
Newbery read/re-read continues. And this one is a surprisingly good read given its age and subject. We follow Hitty, a handmade doll from Maine, in her mostly accidental travels around the world. And yet it doesn't devolve into a travelogue or a history. And never grows tiresome. We see rich and poor and it's never racist or even mean-spirited in its language. It never quite reaches to insightful, but still a pretty good read. 3.5 of 5.
| 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 17, 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!
Dec 29, 2013 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 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.
Apr 19, 2012 Jessica rated it really liked it
I read this book so many times as a kid! The adventures of the little wooden doll were fascinating!
Jul 15, 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
Jan 12, 2017 Sep rated it it was amazing
Hitty, a wooden doll, describes bits and pieces of American history from about the 1820's to the 1920's. She starts off in New England and visits the South Seas Island via a whaling ship. She spends time in India and there is rescued by a missionary. Returning to New England she continues on her journey going as far as New Orleans. Along the way, she learns to read and write and, as we read in the first few pages, has settled down to write her memoirs. Bit of a warning, Hitty is a product of her ...more
May 12, 2017 Elaine rated it liked it
While interesting from a historical purpose and engaging in all the adventures of the doll, I found it a bit empty feeling by the end. I really didn't get much personality or emotion from Hitty (although I realize she is only a doll).
Sandra Munger
Mar 23, 2017 Sandra Munger rated it it was amazing
This is a Newbery winner. It's the story of a wooden doll from the time she was carved in 1820 til she is sitting in the window of an antique store hoping to be able to go flying on that new thing, the airplane. Her life was filled with travel and adventure. Great book
Aug 26, 2007 Emma rated it it was amazing
I have been meaning to read Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (illustrated wonderfully in what I assume is pen and ink by Dorothy P. Lathrop) for a rather long time. Several years ago my mother bought me a reproduction Hitty doll by Robert Raikes (big deal carver of dolls and bears though he no longer seems to be making Hitty dolls).

After buying the doll, and doing a bit of research, we found an edition of Field's novel with the original 1929 text and illustrations. There is anothe
Hitty, her first hundred years

The new one is drastically simplified and denatured. The scary scene in which the natives (savages, of course) come to the island and take Hitty because they believe she is a god and if they have her they have the power of the people who worship her has been changed to “they gave her Hitty because they wanted her and they had spears”.

All mentions of anything spiritual have been removed, Christian or otherwise.

Over the top PC.

Kelsey Carroll
Oct 12, 2010 Kelsey Carroll rated it liked it
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
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The Newbery Award...: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years 1 6 Dec 29, 2016 04:37AM  
Children's Books: Winner & Honors from 1930 11 99 Jul 22, 2016 05:14PM  
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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