HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Ellis Island Days: Book #3 in the “Hitty’s Travels” Series
Author: Ellen Weiss
Illustrator: Betina Ogden
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2002
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 6-9 (grades 1-3)
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Weiss, Ellen. Ellis Island Days: Book #4 in the “Hitty’s Travels” Series (published in 2002 by Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). The inside front cover of Ellis Island Days says “Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field, was published in 1929 and awarded the John Newbery Medal in 1930. Since then, Hitty and her adventures through history have delighted countless readers. Now, Aladdin Paperbacks brings you Hitty’s Travels in our Ready-for-Chapters format. Perfect for beginning readers, Hitty’s new adventures are an exciting introduction to the beloved doll as she travels far and wide, sharing her historical experiences along the way.” There are three others in the series: Civil War Days, Gold Rush Days, and Voting Rights Days.
In Ellis Island Days, Hitty is purchased in 1908 by a wealthy man from Yonkers, NY, for his daughter, Louisa, who thinks the doll is stupid. When the family goes to Italy for the health of Louisa’s brother, Louisa loses Hitty (whether accidentally or intentionally Hitty does not know). The doll is found by a young Italian man who takes her home to his niece. This Italian family just happens to be emigrating to New York City, so Hitty ends up back in New York. I have never read Hitty: Her First Hundred Years, but it has been highly recommended and this book makes me want to do so. Louisa is quite a spoiled brat, but her bad behavior is set in contrast to the fondness for Hitty on the part of the Italian girl, Fiorella. And the historical background information is both interesting and educational. It is pleasant reading that would probably be most enjoyed by girls but is suitable for anyone–Karen checked it out for Jeremy and he seemed to like it.