Project Description

The Wheat Doll

The Wheat Doll

by Alison L. Randall
illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

Share this moving story of steadfast devotion and hope with someone you love.

It is the late 1800s. Mary Ann lives with her family in the rugged Utah territory, where she tends the vegetable garden, dips candles, and braids rags into rugs. Mary Ann has a busy life, and a special friend to share it with: her beloved homemade doll, Betty.

Betty’s wheat-filled body sits straight and tall. Her embroidered eyes never blink. Still, Mary Ann knows that Betty is always paying attention, and listening to her secrets.

But one afternoon, a sudden, fierce storm forces Mary Ann and her family into their cabin before the young girl can retrieve her doll from the garden. By the time the wild wind and rain subside, Betty is gone. Heartbroken, Mary Ann refuses to give up searching for her best friend. Then one day, when winter turns to spring, Mary Ann spies a familiar shape growing as a patch of slender grass near the bottom of a hill…

An afterword by the author reveals the story of the real-life Mary Ann and her doll, the inspiration for The Wheat Doll.

Hardcover: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-456-3
Total Pages: 32
Size: 9 3/4 x 11
Language: English
Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 127014
AR Reading Level: 3.9
AR Points: 0.5

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: O
F&P Grade: 3

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 3.2
Reading Counts Points: 1


“…a sweet story of loss and renewal told with empathy and feeling that is never heavy-handed…realistic oil paintings have a warm, soft quality that matches the tone of the text…a great addition to all collections…” ―School Library Journal

“Farnsworth’s oil paintings and the overall book design possess an unhurried, old-fashioned quality; and the compliment Randall’s simple, heartfelt story.” ―Booklist

“…this tender tale and the accompanying oil paintings capture frontier life and the timeless bond between kids and their playthings.” ―Washington Parent Magazine

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“Farnsworth’s vivid oil paintings marvelously depict the realities of frontier life and capture the intense emotions of the story.” ―Bloomsbury Review

“Balanced perfectly with luminous illustrations and rich frontier settings… a loving testament to the true value of a treasured toy.” ―Birmingham Parent

“…exquisite oil paintings…a loving tribute to the hardships of the Western settlers.” ―Deseret News

“…This is a lovely story… What a wonderful thing she did by writing this story so everyone can enjoy the tale of the little girl and her wheat doll. The illustrator did a beautiful job…” ―It’s About Time MaMaw blog

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Storytelling World Resource Awards (honor, Stories for Young Listeners) ―Storytelling World magazine 2010

Goldfinch Award (nominee) ―Iowa Association of School Librarians

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Meet the Author

Alison L. Randall lives in Utah with her husband, three children, and a cat named Indy. The Wheat Doll is her first picture book. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Bill Farnsworth has illustrated more than 40 award-winning books for young readers, including The Wheat Doll. He has spent much of his professional life painting landscapes, and his art has appeared in many national shows and private collections throughout the United States. He lives in Florida. You can visit his website here.