Saturday, April 26, 2014

Hitty Her First Hundred Years - Newbery Medal 1930

The Newbery Medal, the most prestigious American children's book award, was awarded to Hitty Her First Hundred Years in 1930.

Grade level Equivalent: 8.1
Lexile Measure®: 1180L

Overview: 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 little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip in a whaler. This is the story of Hitty's years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll.

I've begun reading this to the children after breakfast and lunch. Not only is it a living history book, spanning one hundred years starting in the 1800's, but the prose is charming and engaging and the characters lively and expertly developed. Your child's vocabulary will be enriched, her imagination engaged, and you, dear reader, will be charmed beyond belief at this delightful story, the first of its kind. My boys are not amused thus far, but the book promises lots of adventure, even on the high seas and in India, so I think they'll be smitten, as I am, in no time.

There is a newer version reworded by Rosemary Wells, which I encourage you to avoid. Reading the original prose is always better.

Rachel Lyman Field (September 19, 1894 – March 15, 1942) 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.

Field was born in New York City, and, as a child, contributed to the St. Nicholas Magazine. She was educated at Radcliffe College. Her book Prayer for a Child was a recipient of the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations by Elizabeth Orton Jones. According to Ruth Hill Vigeurs in her introduction to Rachel Field's children's book Calico Bush, published in 1931, Field was "fifteen when she first visited Maine and fell under the spell of its 'island-scattered coast'. Calico Bush still stands out as a near-perfect re-creation of people and place in a story of courage, understated and beautiful."

Field was also a successful author of adult fiction, writing the bestsellers Time Out of Mind (1935), All This and Heaven Too (1938), and And Now Tomorrow (1942). She is also famous for her poem-turned-song "Something Told the Wild Geese". Field also wrote the English lyrics for the version of Franz Schubert's Ave Maria used in the Disney film Fantasia (film). Field married Arthur S. Pederson in 1935, with whom she collaborated in 1937 on To See Ourselves.

Field was a descendant of David Dudley Field. She died at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, California on March 15, 1942, of pneumonia following an operation.

Rachel Field also wrote a story about the nativity of Jesus Christ titled "All Through the Night".     source
Do you have childhood memories of Hitty, and have you ever owned a Hitty doll?

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Beth said...

That is a new book for me. It looks like a great book to read aloud.

How are things at your house? Thinking of you and praying for you.

Christine said...

Everything is going well, Beth. The dog is doing well still. I am looking forward to reading all about England on your blog! So exciting.