cover image The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll

The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll

Patricia C. McKissack, , illus. by Jerry Pinkney. . Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83759-3

In expertly wrought watercolors, Pinkney focuses on how light hits certain objects—voluptuous oranges, a new patchwork quilt, a baby doll's yellow frock—which are some literal bright spots for a family holding onto the positive despite their Depression-era struggles. The newspapers that line the walls and three-to-a-bed sleeping conditions fade, ceding to the clan's Christmas observance. McKissack's story shines as well, homing in on the most straightforward language to convey realistic but difficult situations: “Christmas always came to our house, but Santy Claus only showed up once in a while.” Ages 4-8. (Sept.)