It s 1926, and the one thing eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis wants more than anything is to leave Portland, Oregon, where she has been staying with her strict grandparents, and rejoin her mother, a carefree singer in San Francisco s speakeasies. Read more...
It s 1926, and the one thing eleven-year-old Lexie Lewis wants more than anything is to leave Portland, Oregon, where she has been staying with her strict grandparents, and rejoin her mother, a carefree singer in San Francisco s speakeasies. But Mama s new husband doesn t think a little girl should live with parents who work all night and sleep all day. Meanwhile, Lexie s class has been raising money to ship a doll to the children of Japan in a friendship exchange, and when Lexie learns that the girl who writes the best letter to accompany the doll will be sent to the farewell ceremony in San Francisco, she knows she just has to be the winner. But what if a jealous classmate and Lexie s own small lies to her grandmother manage to derail her plans? Inspired by a project organized by teacher-missionary Sidney Gulick, in which U.S. children sent more than 12,000 Friendship Dolls to Japan in hopes of avoiding a future war, Shirley Parenteau s engaging story has sure appeal for young readers who enjoy historical fiction, and for doll lovers of all ages."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-05-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Parenteau (Bears in the Bath) deftly incorporates the 1926 Friendship Dolls project—in which American children collected and sent more than 12,000 dolls to Japanese children as a gesture of friendship—into the story of 11-year-old Lexie Lewis, who has been sent to live with her strict paternal grandparents in Portland, Ore. Her father dead in a car crash and her insouciant flapper mother remarried, Lexie is struggling to adapt to her new circumstances. Her class has contributed a doll to send to Japan, and when Lexie learns she has a chance to rejoin her mother at a farewell party for the dolls in San Francisco, she’s determined to win that opportunity. While Lexie encounters more than her share of bad luck, she never stops persevering. In Parenteau’s well-conceived story, transformations come slowly and believably; Lexie warms to her grandparents and mischievous neighbor, Jack; her grandmother comes through for her in unexpected ways; and even her nemesis, a snotty classmate, shows some character. Parenteau weaves in information about the Friendship Dolls so subtly that it never overshadows Lexie’s story; an author’s note explains the project in full. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)