HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Raggedy Ann’s Wishing Pebble
Author and Illustrator: Johnny Gruelle
Publisher: Pook Press, republished 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1473321106 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1473321107 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1473321090 Paperback
ISBN-10: 1473321093 Paperback
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 4 – 8
Rating: ***** 5 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Gruelle, Johnny. Raggedy Ann’s Wishing Pebble (Published in 1925 by The P. F. Volland Company, Joliet, IL; republished in 1979 by Yearling Books, a division of Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 1 Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, New York City, NY 10017). Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy are two little, happy rag dolls with cotton stuffing, bright shoe button eyes, and cheerful smiles painted on their cloth faces. One day they venture into the Yellow Meadow to visit their friends near the Looking Glass Brook, including Mister and Missus Muskrat. Raggedy Ann finds a magic Wishing Pebble and wishes a soda water fountain and a lollipop field for the Muskrats. But when she loses the pebble, mean, old, selfish Mr. Minkey finds it and begins wishing bad things for people. What can the Raggedys do? Will they ever get the pebble back? And what happens to Mr. Minkey?
Raggedy Ann’s Wishing Pebble is one of a whole series of books written and illustrated for young children by Johnny Gruelle (1880 – 1938), who was an American artist and political cartoonist, as well as a children’s book illustrator and author. In 1915, Gruelle created Raggedy Ann for his daughter, Marcella, when she brought him an old hand-made rag doll. He drew a face on it, and, from his bookshelf, pulled a book of poems by James Whitcomb Riley, combining the names of two poems, “The Raggedy Man” and “Little Orphant Annie.” The character was introduced to the public in the 1918 book Raggedy Ann Stories. The concept had great success, and a sequel, Raggedy Andy Stories (1920) introduced the character of her brother, Raggedy Andy.
These are very pleasant stories for youngsters. The only negative aspect would be that a couple of the characters smoke a pipe. However, there are wonderful lessons interwoven into the adventures to emphasize such qualities as showing kindness, forgiving others, being unselfish, sharing, not hurting people, and friendship. There are even some interesting nature facts thrown in. Gruelle’s original text is nicely enhanced by his wonderful full-color drawings. Some may feel that books like this are hopelessly outdated in our time, but I’d much rather have them than much of the drivel that passes for children’s literature today. These two cute dolls with red yarn for hair and their triangle noses can be appreciated by young and old alike.