Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Chapter Books For Doll Lovers
Written by Elizabeth Orton Jones
Ages 6 and up
(Published in 2002 by Purple House Press)
This wonderful classic book was originally published in 1947. It's a timelessly sweet story that my little girls love. A tale about miracles large and small, the story focuses on Christmas Eve, the one night when the dolls come alive each year. (Big Susan is the little girl who owns them.) Most appealling for the 6-10 age bracket.
Written by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
Illustrated by Brian Selznick
Middle Readers, Ages 7 and up
(Published in 2000 by Hyperion Books)
This is the first book in a series that my girls continuously turn to for reading pleasure. This first book tells the story of Annabelle Doll, an eight-year-old doll who had been passed down from mother to daughter for 100 years. Her current owner, Kate, seems to be getting too old for dolls because Annabelle hasn't been played with much lately, and she's bored. It seems to Annabelle that nothing exciting has ever really happened, except for the matter weighing heavily on her mind lately: the disappearance of Annabelle's Auntie Sarah some 45 years ago. No one knows where she's gone. In her exploring, Annabelle has found Auntie Sarah's journal, but keeps it a secret from her family while she figures out what to do.
When Kate's little sister, Nora gets a new dollhouse set for her birthday, the two girls from the very disparate doll families become fast friends. Together they try to solve the mystery of Auntie Sarah's disappearance, while trying to bridge the generational gap between their two families, and avoid Doll State (if they are seen moving by a human, they lose the ability to move and end up in Doll State for 24 hours) and the family cat, Captain, who shows too much interest in their movements and seems to have a penchant for stashing toys.
My girls love this story, and the next two books of the series, and they love the illustrations. We had these books before Karina could read, and she frequently picked them up to pour over the pictures. She was so excited when she was finally able to read these books. Now both older girls pick them up frequently to re-read their favorite parts.
House of Dolls
Written by Francesca Lia Block
Illustrated by Barbara McClintock
Middle Readers, Ages 8 and up
(Published in 2010 by HarperCollins Children's Books)
Madison Blackberry's dolls live the high life in a sumptuous dollhouse, with handmade clothes and furnishings, provided lovingly by Madison's grandmother. The problem is, Madison is being ignored by the adults in her life, and she's taking her resentment out on the dolls.
A good story that is both tragic and hopeful, about the importance of time spent with your children. The issue of the grandmother showing her love for her granddaughter by providing her with these lavish "things" for her dolls, but not lavishing her time on the girl is an important message for anyone. And the story's resolution is satisfying. I certainly enjoyed the book and message, and, of course, the illustrations. (The main reason I bought it. I'm a huge fan of Barbara McClintock's work.)
I haven't read this aloud to my girls, because the dolls in the story have "boyfriends", and one of the ways the little girl punishes the dolls is by sending their boyfriends to "war" (a shoebox in the closet.) This is a very big deal to the dolls, and while nothing inappropriate goes on, I feel like that is not an issue I want raised front and center with my little girls. There will be plenty of time for that later. So this is one book I will have to keep for my own enjoyment for a few more years.
And some recent purchases that I'm looking forward to reading:
Illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop
"This Newbery Award winner is a timeless classic about a very special doll that belongs to Phoebe Preble. Phoebe brings her beautiful doll everywhere she goes, both on land and sea, and they share many adventures and meet new friends. This is the story of Hitty's years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll." (From Goodreads)
Written by Kirby Larson
Written by Mary Downing Hahn
"After Ashley and Kristi find an antique doll buried in old Miss Cooper's garden, they discover that they can enter a ghostly turn-of-the-century world by going through a hole in the hedge." (From Goodreads)
Written by Rumer Godden
"Tottie is a loving little wooden doll who lives with her family in a shoebox. The doll family are owned by two sisters, Emily and Charlotte, and are very happy, except for one thing: they long for a proper home. To their delight, their wish comes true when Emily and Charlotte fix up a Victorian dolls' house - just for them. It's perfect. But then, a new arrival starts to wreak havoc in the dolls' house. For Marchpane might be a wonderfully beautiful doll, but she is also terribly cruel. And she always gets her own way ..." (From Goodreads)