My two granddaughters love their dolls. So when my favorite librarian suggested some books about dolls, I eagerly checked them out.
I started reading The Doll People by Ann Martin and Laura Godwin to my 8-year old granddaughter and she didn’t want me to stop.
I read to her over the phone several times a week. I found the story so appealing I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. When we had 30 pages left, my granddaughter went to the library with my daughter and got a copy herself so she could finish the story!
She called me that night and said: “Baba, I know what happens to Auntie Sarah!”
“Don’t tell me,” I pleaded. “I want to read it myself!”
Auntie Sarah is the focus of a search by Annabelle Doll, who’s over 100 years old, and her new friend, Tiffany, from the “Real Pink Plastic” Funcraft family. Annabelle lives in a dollhouse with her family who keeps Auntie Sarah’s disappearance shrouded in mystery. All the dolls have the ability to come to life when the real people in the house are asleep or out of the house. But if they’re ever caught in motion, they risk Permanent Doll State, turning them into regular nonliving dolls.
Another popular book about dolls is Miss Happiness and Miss Flower written by Rumer Godden in 1961. This doll classic tells the story of 8-year old Nona Fells, an orphan who comes to live with her aunt and cousins in England. She is homesick after leaving her nurse in India and feels unwanted, just like the two dainty Japanese dolls that are delivered shortly after Nona’s arrival. When Nona decides to build the dolls a traditional Japanese house, she engages the whole family to help with the project and in the process starts to feel like she belongs.
While researching the author, I discovered that she drew on her own experiences for this story. Born in Sussex, England in 1907, Godden was taken to India when she was six months old for her father’s work as the head of a steam navigation company.
There are several more books about dolls by Godden, including The Dolls House, originally published in 1947. I plan to find that one next and read it to my granddaughter.
There’s one other American classic that came up in my search for books about dolls: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I’m both embarrassed and proud to say that I have not yet read that classic, but my granddaughter has and she loved it! Little Women was included on DollKind, a wonderful website about doll history, because of Beth March’s infirmary for dolls.
I was delighted to read this quote about the importance of dolls in girls’ lives because my granddaughters treat their dolls with great care.
Dolls are not merely toys. They are symbols of humanity and vital tools that allow little girls to explore their yearning to tenderly care for others. Chances are, if a child is kind to her dolls, she will grow up to be a kind and considerate adult.