Gift Guide

Wheat Doll

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Life is hard in the rugged Utah territory. Mary Ann's homemade doll stuffed with wheat is her best friend and dearest confidante. One day, as a severe storm looms on the horizon, Mary Ann's mother urges her to hurry to the storm cellar. Only when the wind blows harsh between the cracks does Mary Ann remember that, in her haste, she left her beloved Betty behind. When the storm passes, she searches for her doll. She looks not only that day, but in the days and months that follow. Betty's absence is felt in Mary Ann does. When at last spring arrives, Mary Ann heads to her garden plot. She is surprised to see tiny green shoots of tender grass in a shape that amazingly resembles the outline of Betty. Mary Ann tends the plot with great care. In the fall, she sets to work fashioning a new doll, once again stuffed with wheat. A crisp and gentle narration keeps this story (based on a true event) from being too sentimental. The handsome oil paintings of Betty and Mary Ann are filled with tenderness, and those of the approaching storm are filled with drama. They capture the severe landscape of the 1800s and the strength and dignity of the settlers. This is an excellent story for sharing one-on-one or using to commence a unit on intergenerational storytelling. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
With few playmates in 19th century Utah, Mary Ann relies on her homemade doll, Betty, for company. Made of wheat, with bright embroidery eyes, Betty goes everywhere with Mary Ann. The girl inadvertently leaves her in the garden during a storm and then fears the doll is lost forever. She searches frantically but can't find her buddy, now covered with mud. During the winter, she remembers Betty's companionship while she dipped candles and braided rugs. Come spring, though, Mary Ann receives a surprise: Betty's wheat body has grown into thin green blades, which the girl tends and uses to make another Betty. Based on a true story, this tender tale and the accompanying oil paintings capture frontier life and the timeless bond between kids and their playthings. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

Mary Ann is a pioneer girl who lives on a rustic Utah farm with her mother and father. Her best friend is her homemade wheat-filled doll. One day Mary Ann sets Betty on a stump while she pulls carrots in the garden. Suddenly a storm sweeps across the valley, and Mary Ann's parents hurry her into the safety of the cabin. After the storm, the girl searches everywhere but she cannot find her beloved doll. Mary Ann is lonely without it all winter, but in spring she discovers a doll-shaped patch of wheat sprouting from the mud near where the toy was lost. She tends the sprouts and makes a new doll from the grains. This is a sweet story of loss and renewal told with empathy and feeling that is never heavy-handed. There is just the right amount of detail to make the setting seem real without bogging down the narrative. Farnsworth's realistic oil paintings have a warm, soft quality that matches the tone of the text. Like the author, he adds just enough detail to establish the setting without distracting from the main subject. This picture book is a great addition to all collections, but has special appeal to libraries in areas with a pioneer heritage.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561454563
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,016,284
  • Lexile: AD680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Wheat Doll - A Lovely Story

    In the nineteenth-century little girls that lived on farms usually had handmade dolls. Rag dolls stuffed with rags, saw dust, hay or wheat anything that was at hand.

    This was the case for Mary Ann she had a lovely little doll stuffed with wheat. Her doll's name was Betty and she had pretty black satin embroidery eyes. Betty spent most of her time in Mary Ann's apron pocket. She would listen to and watch Mary Ann do everything. Like making candles and work in the garden. She went everywhere with Mary Ann because they were best friends and best friends kept secrets. Then one day during a bad storm Betty got separated from Mary Ann. Mary Ann was very sad and never stopped looking for Betty.

    Was Mary Ann ever able to be reunited with Betty? I hope you will buy the book to find the answer.

    This is a lovely story. The author heard a friend tell about one of their ancestor's real life story of Mary Ann and her wheat doll. That was when the author decided to write the story of THE WHEAT DOLL. What a wonderful thing she did by writing this story so everyone can enjoy the tale of the little girl and her wheat doll.

    The illustrator did a beautiful job in capturing Mary Ann and her little wheat doll. You can see the sorrow Mary Ann experienced over being separated from Betty in the illustrations.

    This is a story you will want to share with everyone young and old.

    I highly recommend this book.

    I received a free book from Peachtree Publishers for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    2009 IRA Award Winner, with good reason

    This book was the winner of the 2009 International Reading Association Children's and Young Adult's Book Award (Primary Fiction Category). It is a great addition to your library, both for the story (which is based on a true story from the 1800s) and the illustrations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2008

    Beautiful Book

    I got this book for my daughter and she absolutely loves it! It is a heartwarming story with beautiful illustrations. I wish this book was around when I was a little girl.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2008

    Good book

    This book is very well written and has beautiful illustrations. It is one that can be read over and over to your 3 to 6 year old children or grandchildren.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Heartwarming Story

    I am a grandmother and love good stories that I can read to my grandchildren. This book is heartwarming both in story and illustrations. Beautifully done!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Wonderful, well-written story

    This story quickly tops the list of perfect children's picture books. The illustrations fit this heartwarming story perfectly. My family loves this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2008

    Family loved book.

    I thought it was a wonderful book that will be great for the whole family. Well written with colorful pictures, this book is great now and will be for generations to come.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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