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THE DOLL SHOP DOWNSTAIRS by Yona Zeldis McDonough Kirkus Star


by Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by Heather Maione

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-670-01091-2
Publisher: Viking

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)