The Doll Shop Downstairs

( 11 )

Overview

Nine-year-old Anna and her sisters love to play with the dolls in their parents' doll repair shop. But when World War I begins, an embargo on German-made goods-including the parts Papa needs to repair the dolls-threatens to put the family's shop out of business. Fortunately, Anna has an idea that just might save the day. Inspired by the true story of Madame Alexander, this is a timeless tale of family and imagination.

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The Doll Shop Downstairs

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Overview

Nine-year-old Anna and her sisters love to play with the dolls in their parents' doll repair shop. But when World War I begins, an embargo on German-made goods-including the parts Papa needs to repair the dolls-threatens to put the family's shop out of business. Fortunately, Anna has an idea that just might save the day. Inspired by the true story of Madame Alexander, this is a timeless tale of family and imagination.

This beautiful gift edition of The Doll Shop Downstairs, featuring an eye-catching foil embossed cover, will make a perfect holiday present for dreamers and doll lovers everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Taking loose inspiration from the true-life story of the late Madame Alexander, whose New York–based company has been producing dolls since 1923, McDonough (The Doll with the Yellow Star) fashions a wholesome tale of a Russian-Jewish immigrant family on New York's Lower East Side in the early 1900s. The Breittlemanns live above their doll repair shop, where Papa restores porcelain dolls, Mama repaints the faces, and sisters Sophie, Anna and Trudie help however they can, taking special pleasure in playing with unclaimed broken dolls. When WWI begins and needed doll parts can no longer be had from Germany, middle daughter Anna comes up with the idea of making cloth dolls. McDonough tells the story in nine-year-old Anna's straightforward, sympathetic voice, accurately presenting relevant historical details as well as the emotional complexities of sibling relationships. Reminiscent of the All-of-a-Kind Family series, the book distinguishes itself both by its foundation in doll history and its authentic depictions of imaginative play. Maione's (Princess Bess Gets Dressed) lighthearted line drawings only vaguely suggest the era, and the characters' cartoonish features do little to illuminate their personalities, but the lively illustrations have little-girl appeal. Ages 7–11. (Sept.)
Booklist
This short, appealing chapter book is reminiscent of Taylor's classic All-of-a-Kind Family series
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What is it like to live in a doll shop? Anna and her family live in a doll hospital. Anna's father, who repairs dolls, orders new doll parts from Germany. When World War I strikes, it is no longer possible to order these parts from the factory in Germany. How will the family survive now? Anna, age nine, comes up with the brilliant idea of making and selling dolls. The Breittlemanns sell Nurse Nora, a doll that is reminiscent of women serving overseas. The doll is picked up by FAO Schwartz, one of the most famous toy stores in the world, and orders quickly pour in. Soon the family has a booming business making and selling dolls. This story is loosely based on the childhood of Beatrice Alexander, the founder of the world famous Madame Alexander Doll Company. Young readers will enjoy this well-written, charming tale which takes place in New York City, circa 1915. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Anna's father repairs dolls for a living with parts he special orders from Germany. Their family lives above the shop and the nine-year-old and her sisters help with chores. In their spare time, they make up games to play with the dolls waiting to be repaired. Of course, each girl has a favorite. When war breaks out (an author's note says it is World War I and describes the embargo), Anna's father can no longer get his parts and the shop begins to suffer. He starts returning the dolls he can't repair, and soon there are only six left. Then Anna comes up with the idea to create new ones, and her Nurse Nora is a success. With business looking better, the only thing the girls have left to worry about is whether or not the owners of their favorite broken dolls will return to claim them. This slow but sweet tale has an old-fashioned feel and is based on a true story. Readers who stick with it will be happy with the ending.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA
Kirkus Reviews
Mix one part Rumer Godden's The Story of Holly and Ivy and many parts Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family and you create a standout family-and-doll story. It's 1914 New York City, and Anna, the middle daughter of a doll repairman, helps her parents save their business and helps her sisters become better sisters, too. The war makes it impossible to find the German-made supplies needed to repair the dolls in the Breittlemanns' shop, so Anna suggests they create new dolls, resulting in Nurse Nora. When the doll buyer from F.A.O. Schwartz discovers Nurse Nora, a new family business is born. Fascinating historical details of life on the Lower East Side mesh with the day-to-day routines of these Jewish sisters as they learn to get along with each other through work and play. Maione's charming black-and-white illustrations reflect the nostalgic tone and make the book manageable for new readers. A fascinating author's note lets readers in on a little secret-the birth of the Madame Alexander dolls was the inspiration for this story. (Historical fiction. 7-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670010912
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/3/2009
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 360,363
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 7.52 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Yona Zeldis McDonough is a longtime doll lover and collector. She is also an award-winning author who has published numerous books for children and adults. She presently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
Heather Maione loved dolls when she was a child, though not quite as much as she loved to draw. The illustrator of numerous children’s books, she lives on Long Island with her husband and two children.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Awesome Book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is amazing! It's the perfect book for young girls and old girls and all inbetween girls! It is sooo well written! Please buy this book for yourseelves and enjoy a good read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2014

    Pony rp dying help.

    Help us.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Strong, well written and Loving Story

    Sad and sweet story about children. The cover was decieving and not attractive to the real work between the pages. This is a well written, strong book about values and family. I enjoyed it very much. Another book that I would highly reccommend for a women's book club.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Good bedtime story

    I love this book it so adorable .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2013

    Love

    Cool

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Cute!!!!!!!!!!

    This book is perfect for ANY doll lovers (like myself).so cute and so well written. I recommend this book for everyone!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Great

    This is a great book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    Super

    I love it
    Mrinalini.s w

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2011

    Cute

    This looks like about the cutest book ever
    I want this book to read to my little sister (but also for my self)
    Im nine i love to read trust me get this book so cute
    Reccomended for ages 4-12
    - book club reviews

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    a charming book

    I bought this book for our grandchildren but also for myself. I like dolls. I grew up in New York which is where the story takes place. We've all enjoyed the book immensely. The story is delightful. We all liked the family, the doll hospital which was the first in America, the activities the girls joined in, the picnic in Central Park and the visit to FAO Schwarz especially. We liked finding out after we read it, that it was almost a true story. The illustrations are particularly delightful and not the usual sort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews

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