The Angel Doll: A Christmas Story

Jerry Bledsoe

Down Home Press
$14.95 hardcover
5 ¼ x 7 ¼  
123 pages
Illustrated by Tim Rickard
Published in 1996

The time: the early '50s. The place: Thomasville, a small, furniture-manufacturing town in North Carolina. Sandy Black is four years old, a victim of poverty and the great polio epidemic. She is utterly devoted to her older brother, Whitey, and she loves a book called The Littlest Angel.

When she makes it known that she wants an angel doll for Christmas, something nobody in Thomasville has ever seen, Whitey and his best friend, both ten years old, set out to get her one. Their quest leads them to the greatest gift of all: the lesson of love.

A deeply moving story, The Angel Doll is certain to be read again and again for many Christmases to come.


“An instant classic. You will love this book if even a small part of a child still lives within your heart.”
—Morganton Times-Herald
“Proof that a Christmas book need not drip with mawkish sentimentality is offered by this affecting novella from the author of such true-crime novels as Bitter Blood. Though published as fiction, the story Bledsoe tells has the ring of truth, plus the asset of his lean prose and carefully nuanced delivery. The tale is set in the early 1950s in a small North Carolina town, where the 10-year-old narrator shares a newspaper route with a friend, Whitey Black. Whitey's father is dead, and his younger sister, Sandy, has survived polio with a wasted leg and precarious health. Inspired by her favorite book, the classic The Littlest Angel, Sandy hopes for an angel doll for Christmas. How Whitey manages to find the doll, and the tragic event that ensues, is the substance of the story. Because Bledsoe doesn't milk the emotions, the poignant ending is neither manipulative nor preachy, but authentically moving.” 
—Publishers Weekly
“Life in Thomasville, NC, in the 1950s is not easy for 10-year-old Whitey Black. He is new to town, with no father, a perpetually weary mother, and a four-year-old sister, Sandy, who has polio. Sandy's greatest pleasure is for Whitey to read to her The Littlest Angel and, more than anything else, she wants an ‘Angel’ doll for Christmas, just like the one in the story. Whitey, his hard-won friend (the narrator of the story), and other members of the small community work together to give the child her wish. It is the story of their efforts and the results that are the basis of this Christmas tale. Told matter-of-factly, the story is evocative of a time and a place, and has great appeal to readers of all ages.” 
School Library Journal
“In the best traditions of Christmas tales from Dickens to Capote.” 
—Southern Seen