Merry Christmas, Annie (An Annie Book)

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9780147513601: Merry Christmas, Annie (An Annie Book)

After eleven years at an orphanage, Annie longs for a family to call her own.  So when the wealthy Oliver Warbucks invites Annie to spend the Christmas holiday at his New York mansion, it’s a dream come true. Could it be that Mr. Warbucks is the family she’s waited for all along? Fifty million people of all ages have been delighted by stage and screen productions of Annie, and now some of the youngest fans can enjoy the story of everyone’s favorite little orphan as she experiences Christmas like never before!

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About the Author:

Dana Bergman is a children's book editor in New York. This is her first book.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

When Annie escaped from the New York City orphanage in a bundle of dirty laundry, she didn’t know how long she’d be gone. The orphanage had been her home for eleven years, and though she loved the other girls there very much, Annie couldn’t waste another day in dreaming. Her parents had left her in a basket on the orphanage stairs when she was just a tiny baby, with a note promising to come back for her one day. But that day hadn’t come yet, and Annie couldn’t wait any longer. She had to go find them herself.

For a while, Annie stayed with a couple named Fred and Gert Bixby, who owned a small pub on the Upper East Side. In exchange for food and shelter, Annie worked as a waitress and soon became a favorite among the customers. It wasn’t easy, and Annie had to work very hard to earn her keep. She soon realized she’d never find her parents by settling in one place. And so, Annie ran away again.

But this time, she had nowhere to go, and winter was on the way. With only her dog, Sandy, whom she had teamed up with after leaving the orphanage, and a shabby, thin sweater to keep her warm, Annie set off downtown, toward Grand Central Terminal, a transportation hub in the center of Manhattan. Thousands of people walked through the station each day. Surely, Annie thought, she was bound to find someone who knew her mother and father.

But it seemed no one had time for a little girl. Everyone had somewhere to go, and all of the people were rushing to get there as if their lives depended on it. After a short while, Annie found herself walking toward a man selling apples by the Lexington Avenue entrance. He was a worn-down, bearded man in shabby clothes, but he had kind eyes. “Apples, apples! Shiny, red apples! Two for a dime! One for a nickel!” he shouted.

Annie stood a few steps away from the man, watching. What she would do for one of those big, shiny apples right now! Her stomach grumbled, and she heard Sandy’s do the same. When the man noticed, he whistled for them to come closer.

“You hungry, little miss?” he asked.

Annie looked down, embarrassed. “Well, I . . .”

“Sure you are, we all are,” the man responded.

In 1933, the entire country was in the middle of what was called the Great Depression. Many people had lost their jobs and all their money. Some had even lost their homes.

The man handed Annie two round apples. “Here ya go, one for you and one for your dog. On the house.”

“Gee, thanks, mister!” she said. It wasn’t much, but Annie hadn’t eaten since the day before, so it tasted especially delicious. She fed one of the apples to Sandy, who wolfed it down in two bites.

It was nearing the end of the day, and still, Annie and Sandy hadn’t found a place to stay. Annie thought perhaps they’d sleep right there in the station. But then she spotted a group of police officers shooing the homeless men and women out onto the cold city streets and thought better of it. Instead, she decided to follow the apple seller to wherever it was he called home.

It turned out the man lived in what was called a shantytown: a group of makeshift shelters built from wood and rusty scraps of metal. During the Depression, people who found themselves without homes gathered together to form their own communities. This particular shantytown was located under the Fifty-ninth Street Bridge along the East River, and Annie thought it was the perfect place for her and Sandy to stay the night.

“Come on, Sandy. I bet if we’re lucky, these people will let us stay with them. And it looks like they’re cooking something, too!”

They made their way down the hill toward a group of people huddled around an open trash can, warming their hands at the fire crackling inside it.

“Pardon me, folks,” Annie said nervously. “But did anyone here leave a red-headed girl named Annie at an orphanage about eleven years ago?”

The men and women only shook their heads or shrugged. But a kindly middle-aged lady looked up from the pot she was stirring and smiled. “You hungry, kid?” she asked.

Annie nodded, and Sandy barked happily. The woman passed around warm bowls of watery stew. It wasn’t the best thing Annie had ever tasted, but it was better than the slop Miss Hannigan served at the orphanage.

“I’m Sophie, by the way,” the woman said.

“My name’s Annie,” Annie said sheepishly.

“Pleasure to meet you, Annie. You got a place to stay tonight?”

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