A diverting story of a little girl's devotion to an obdurate donkey and of her unselfishness in foregoing a dreamed - of doll dovetails ideally with elementary curricula in the upper grades concentrating on U.S. geography and, in particular, on the Erie Canal. Hannibal was the burro which pulled Butte. Molly Flynn's family's canal boat. Money was scarce on the canal in the 1870's but Molly coveted a beautiful china doll she'd seen at Mr. Higgins' store in Watertown earlier. Just when the doll was within reach, Hannibal became ill. The cost of the veterinary was the price of the doll and for a while it seemed Molly could not have both. Pigtailed Molly should appeal to girls her own age -- from eight to eleven. Good to read aloud, as well.