Betty Doll

( 3 )

Overview

Whenever Mary Ellen needed Betty Doll, she was there. Betty Doll saw her through happy and sad times, thunderstorms and parties, weddings and births. Now, when Mary Ellen’s daughter Trisha needs Betty Doll most, she rediscovers the sweet old doll, along with a letter written by her mother before she died. This touching story is a reminder of the power of a mother’s love and the joy of life’s precious moments.

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Overview

Whenever Mary Ellen needed Betty Doll, she was there. Betty Doll saw her through happy and sad times, thunderstorms and parties, weddings and births. Now, when Mary Ellen’s daughter Trisha needs Betty Doll most, she rediscovers the sweet old doll, along with a letter written by her mother before she died. This touching story is a reminder of the power of a mother’s love and the joy of life’s precious moments.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Beloved author/illustrator Patricia Polacco recounts a touching story about a small, handmade doll -- stitched together by her mother, Mary Ellen, as a child -- that provided comfort right up to the day, many years later, when Mary Ellen was diagnosed with cancer. Inspired by a letter discovered after her mother's death, Polacco's Betty Doll is a loving, intergenerational tale that resonates with the warm and poignant memories of one family's legacy -- and is a tribute to the eternal power of a mother's love.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Polacco (Thank You, Mr. Falker) again elegantly embroiders a patch from the fabric of her own life in a moving tale that demonstrates the importance of family legacies. "I know that someday you'll read this when your heart is aching," reads the note that the author finds attached to Betty Doll after her mother's [Mary Ellen's] death. Mary Ellen's letter goes on to explain how, as a girl, she and her mother made the doll from scraps of cloth after her other dolls perished in the fire that destroyed their home. Readers will happily tumble back in time as the fluid, conversational narrative reveals anecdotes underscoring Betty Doll's importance in Mary Ellen's life. For instance, the sight of Betty Doll who had fallen out of her owner's book bag alerts the child's father to her whereabouts during a blizzard; and when the girl is bedridden with a fever, Betty keeps her company. Over the years, the author and then her own children find solace in the beloved doll, who "kissed away tears, soothed hurt knees and was a guest at hundreds of tea parties and slumber nights." In an effective graphic manipulation, the doll alone appears in color against Polacco's finely detailed black-and-white art, which smoothly incorporates framed family photos arranged on tabletops. Together, text and illustrations credibly and poignantly capture the powerful bond among four generations of a loving family. All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
After her mother's death, the author finds her parent's beloved doll, and the note attached to it inspires this story. "Polacco again elegantly embroiders a patch from the fabric of her own life in a moving tale that demonstrates the importance of family legacies," wrote PW. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Betty Doll, made by the author's mother to replace dolls lost in a fire, was always part of her life. Her mother left her story along with the doll, where it was discovered after her death. With the author, we relive the important events of her mother's life, from a dramatic rescue in a snow storm and an exciting trip to Chicago through her marriage and birth of children and grandchildren. As always, Polacco warms the heart with the love of family through the passages of life. Her visual story is told in somewhat rough-hewn, black pencil strokes, which suggest pre-color family snapshots; only touches of color are added. There are the details of generations—old furniture, clothes, sewing machine and the family members themselves, all depicted in large, double-page scenes and in photographs, as well. But Betty is always in color, for she connects the past with the present, in this valuable form of social history. 2001, Philomel Books/Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, $16.99. Ages 5 to 10. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Many of Polacco's books draw on her family memories and experiences, and this one is no exception. Using a letter from her mother that she discovered after the woman's death, she has created a special intergenerational book. Six-year-old Mary Ellen (Polacco's mother) made Betty Doll when her family's belongings were destroyed in a fire, and the doll accompanied her to her first day at a new school, saved her life during a blizzard, traveled with her to visit her relatives in Chicago, and was always there to offer comfort when things got tough. When Mary Ellen grew up and had children of her own, Betty was there to comfort Patricia and her brother, eventually becoming a symbol of family love and warmth, a focus for family history and a link with the past. The distinctive illustrations, done in pencil with soft muted grays, blacks, and pale yellows, emphasize the importance of "Betty Doll," the one bright spot of color on each page. The effect is reminiscent of old photographs and adds the perfect touch.-Judith Constantinides, formerly at East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

This loving tribute to the author's mother is based on a real doll -- one Polacco's mother made when she was a little girl -- who witnesses all the important events of a family over several generations. The story is made even more moving by the personal photographs incorporated into the nostalgic, soft-focus drawings.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142401965
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/21/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 189,758
  • Age range: 1 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.47 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2007

    sad to happy

    Betty Doll is a mix of heart-breaking events and tons of joy. A six-year old's house burns down, and with it all of her five dolls. Her mother sees how heart-broken Mary-Ellen is and helps her sew a new one. Mary-Ellen named it Betty Doll. Betty Doll goes everywhere with Mary-Ellen. Betty doll saved her and her brother's life once. They were hiding under a bridge during a snowstorm. Betty doll got lost in the drifts, when her brother came back with her dad Betty doll showed them where they were. Betty doll went to Chicago with Mary-Ellen and got a beuatiful new blue dress. Betty doll got passed down through the generations. I would recommend this book to people who like books that make the reader change emotions quickly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    Caring book

    In Betty Doll there is a little girl named Mary Ellen whose mother is dead. Before her mother died, she wrote her a letter and mailed it to her with a ribbon around it and when Mary Ellen got the doll she named the doll Betty Doll. She holds it tight when there are thunder storms and even takes her every where she goes. When Mary Ellen gets older she gives her doll to her daughter. This is a good book. It is a little sad in the beginning and the end of the story. It has a lot of Traditions and you should read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2001

    A STORY WOVEN OF MEMORIES AND LOVE

    Prepare to shed a few tears and be uplifted by this touching story of family love. Patricia Polacco bases her reminiscence on a letter her mother, Mary Ellen, wrote shortly before her death and a cloth hand sewn doll, Betty Doll. When Mary Ellen was a child of six, her farmhouse home was destroyed by fire. The blaze also took her five dolls. Seeing how forlorn the little girl was, her mother suggested they make a new doll, which they did. Mary Ellen stitched the doll together, and embroidered its face. Soon, Mary Ellen and Betty Doll were inseparable. They snuggled in bed together during Michigan thunderstorms, attended school, and had imaginative tea parties. The pair even visited relatives in Chicago, where both were clothed in pale blue crepe de chine. As time went on Betty Doll watched Marry Ellen become an adult, eventually marry, and have children of her own. Daughter Trisha (Patricia Polacco) played with the doll herself. As Mary Ellen's grandchildren arrived, Betty Doll 'kissed away tears, soothed hurt knees, and was a guest at hundreds of tea parties and slumber nights.' Illustrated in muted grays with Betty Doll the only bright spot on a page, this story is a reminder of the enduring bonds woven of memories and love. Gail Cooke

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