abigailAbigail by Portia Howe Sperry and Lois Donaldson, 1938.

Susan is a little girl living on a farm in Kentucky during the 1800s.  Her family has recently decided to move to Indiana, which is the new frontier of the United States.  Her uncle and his family are already living there, and he has persuaded Susan’s parents of the opportunities that await them.

As the family packs up to leave, Susan’s grandmother gives her a special present that she and Susan’s aunt made for her: a new doll.  Unlike Susan’s old wooden doll, this doll is a soft rag doll that she can sleep with.  They made the doll to look like Susan herself, but Susan names the doll Abigail after her grandmother.

Abigail accompanies Susan on her adventure as the family heads west to Indiana in their covered wagon.  Susan is sad and a little afraid at first, but when she thinks of what Abigail would say to her about her need to be brave and to explain to her all the strange things they will encounter on the journey, Susan regains her courage.

The family does have adventures on their two-week trek to Indiana.  They have to cross rivers, face down a bear, and worry about whether they will encounter unfriendly Indians (Native Americans).  Even after they arrive in Indiana, joining their other relatives, they will still have to get used to life in a new place.

Throughout the book, there are little side-stories, poems, and hymns that the family sings and tells each other.  Through it all, Abigail is Susan’s constant companion, helping her to feel at home in her new home.


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