Hitty: Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field -- In the early 1800's, a peddler carves a doll for a little girl of his acquaintance out of a sturdy piece of mountain ash wood. The doll is painted and dressed and given the name Mehitabel -- Hitty, for short. Over the course of her life, Hitty travels around the world by boat, by train, and eventually by automobile in the hands of various little girls (and sometimes, briefly, boys, men, and women). A hundred years later, she ends up in an antique shop, from whence she tells her story -- but are her adventures through? Hitty doesn't think so!
I was surprised at how readable I found this book. Though
Hitty's adventures are episodic, I found that the plot carried me right
along, always wondering where Hitty would end up next and how she would
get out of whatever scrape she found herself in. I think that, if I had
read this as a child, I would have enjoyed it immensely. After all, who
doesn't imagine that their toys and dolls secretly come to life when
nobody is watching? However, due to several problematic depictions in
the book ("red injuns," "heathen savages," and African-American families
speaking in an unflattering dialect, among other things), I probably
wouldn't recommend this to children today, at least, not unless they
were reading it with a good deal of adult guidance.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)