From the Publisher
Starred Review, Booklist, September 15, 2007:
"Parents looking for books on sharing will find this an appealing exploration of the subject, teachers seeking picture books set during the Depression will find many details that bring the period to life. A gentle lesson that plays into the spirit of the holiday."
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 2007:
“Full of humorous dialogue and scenes of realistic family life showing the close bonds within the family. Pinkney’s watercolor illustrations are masterful, as always…” - Kirkus Review
Review, The New York Times Book Review, December 2, 2007:
"An evocative book with a universal message."
Krystyna Poray Goddu
The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll is a rich portrait of a poor black family in the midst of the Depression. Written by Patricia C. McKissack, the winner of numerous awards, and illustrated by the equally renowned Jerry Pinkney, it has the look, sound and feel of a classic. McKissack's direct and unfettered language partners beautifully with the vivid tones of Pinkney's pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. Inspired by a true story, The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll is an evocative book with a universal message.
The New York Times
Abby McGanney Nolan
Jerry Pinkney's lovingly detailed, pencil-and-watercolor illustrations reveal a humble but lively place where the family members and their colorful clothes stand out from subdued brown-and-gray surroundings.
The Washington Post
In expertly wrought watercolors, Pinkney focuses on how light hits certain objects-voluptuous oranges, a new patchwork quilt, a baby doll's yellow frock-which are some literal bright spots for a family holding onto the positive despite their Depression-era struggles. The newspapers that line the walls and three-to-a-bed sleeping conditions fade, ceding to the clan's Christmas observance. McKissack's story shines as well, homing in on the most straightforward language to convey realistic but difficult situations: "Christmas always came to our house, but Santy Claus only showed up once in a while." Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-During the Great Depression, the all-black town of Boykin, AL, was identified as "the poorest place in America." "Santy" hardly ever showed up, but this year middle-child Laura Nell Pearson writes him a letter asking for a Baby Betty doll that she's seen advertised in a newspaper. Her two sisters are scornful, but to their amazement, the doll appears on Christmas morning. Of course there's a fight, and Daddy and Mama tell the girls to work it out. Laura convinces her sisters that the doll belongs to her, but soon discovers that playing with an inanimate object isn't as much fun as it is to play with real live sisters, and in the end invites them to a tea party for Baby Betty. McKissack's knack for combining historical detail with true-to-life family drama and language is shown to good effect, showcased beautifully by Pinkney's evocative watercolors, which give a real flavor of the time period. An author's note at the beginning gives the history of the story. Learning to appreciate what you have and to share what you get are two lessons that never go out of style.-Mara Alpert, Los Angeles Public LibraryCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
McKissack and Pinkney join forces for their third collaborative effort in this story of three sisters who have to share one doll for Christmas during the Depression. The middle sister, Nella, writes to Santa to ask for a Baby Betty doll, even though she knows there isn't much chance of receiving her due to her family's modest circumstances. On Christmas morning, the girls each receive a little bag of treats, but there is only one doll for all of them, leading to bickering and arguments. The wise parents tell their daughters to sort it out for themselves, and they do: Nella claims the doll as her own, and the other sisters ignore her and continue to play together. Nella finds that her sisters are more fun to play with than a silent doll, so she decides to share Baby Betty. The longer story is full of humorous dialogue and scenes of realistic family life showing the close bonds within the family. Pinkney's watercolor illustrations are masterful, as always, capturing the emotions on the girls' faces and filling in details of the family's Depression-era world. (author note) (Picture book. 4-8)