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As a child, the first book I remember being read to by my mom was Hitty: My First Hundred Years by Rachel Field. Written in 1929, it’s a story about a wooden doll, carved by a peddler, and her long and adventurous life. In 1930, the book received a Newbery Medal. 

Hitty recounts her life in memoir-style: loved by multiple owners, narrowly escaping many hazardous experiences. Phoebe Preble, the daughter of a whaling captain, was Hitty’s first mistress and my favorite one of all. Maybe…because Phoebe lived in Maine and took the doll along on her father’s whaling voyage.

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Reading Hitty as an adult, I’ve noticed her dry wit, her use of understatements–something that sailed right over my head as a little girl. When my sister and I were on a research trip for the Three Sisters Island series, we spent a day traveling to some of the more remote islands-off-of-islands in Maine. Imagine my delight when we came across Hitty’s Café on Great Cranberry Island! There’s even a room in a tiny community center that was dedicated to Hitty. Author Rachel Field had spent time on nearby Sutton Island. 

I have to admit, the life-sized wooden doll we encountered creeped us out a little. While Hitty loomed large in my imagination…not quite that large.  

Hitty was also the last book I remember being read to by my mom. I was just starting to learn to read. I never had the patience to be read to once I could read for myself. I still don’t!


Three Sisters Island
On a Summer Tide
On a Coastal Breeze
At Lighthouse Point

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