This book is based on Anna Ciddor's childhood memories. Anna, living in 1960s Australia, borrows a book from the library:
"Hitty, the life and adventures of a wooden doll."
I think Anna would be thrilled to discover someone produced a sewing pattern for Hitty dolls and that you can even find Pinterest collections about her.
If you have an adult friend who was a child in the 1960s then this book - 52 Mondays would make an excellent gift. I have discovered Anna and I are almost the same age and because this book is based on her own childhood I recognised so many of these:
- Milk deliveries by horse and cart
- Birds pecking the tops of the milk to get the cream
- Vita wheat biscuits with butter and vegemite
- Deb mashed potato
- Green grocer shops where your purchases are put into paper bags
- That same grocer spinning the paper bag so the corners twisted into neat seals
- Listening to The Children's hour on the radio
- Cleaning the black board duster at school
- School milk
- Sewing at school
- Lollies from the milk bar - violet crumbles, lolly teeth, fruit tingles, and best of all lolly cigarettes
My favourite memory comes in Chapter 32 when Anna talks about putting a tennis ball into the end of an old stocking and hitting it against a wall while chanting a rhyme.
I am not supposed to include text quotes because I have read an Advanced Reader Copy of 52 Mondays but I cannot resist this line:
"Anna went on reading Hitty every moment she could. She tried to slow down and make the book last longer, but too many exciting things kept happening."
If you are a librarian or a Teacher-Librarian make sure you read Chapter 28. Memories of catalogue drawers, due date slips, book pockets and having a date stamped on your own hand!
The structure of 52 Mondays with Anna waiting for Monday each week when she can go to the auction house hoping to find an antique doll means the plot moves along at a pleasing pace and I liked the way each chapter reads as a distinct story. The addition of Jewish family traditions added to my interest.
This book is a companion volume to an earlier title by Anna. I had The Family with two front doors on my too read pile for over a year. I have not yet read it and now it has disappeared. Perhaps I gave it to a friend for her library. Now I will have to retrieve it. Oddly the reviews of this one wildly disagree about the audience. Sue warren of Just So Stories says 12+, Ms Yingling says it might not appeal to her Middle Grade students, and Megan Daley will or has used this with her Grade Six Book Club girls.
Anna loves dolls and doll houses. I was desperate for a dolls house when I was a child but I did have some very special dolls. Here is one of them: