Monday, March 2, 2015

Best-Loved Books about Dolls

I must admit, I was a kid who played with dolls long after it was considered cool. I was so committed to the care of my two My Child baby dolls in fourth grade that they had carseats, food, and diapers. I talked my mother into sewing a suitcase full of outfits for them. They even had birthday parties and received Christmas presents. I guess it was good training for where I am today at home with my four kids. 

It also might explain why I have such affection for books about dolls. There is a wealth of great literature about dolls. Even if you weren't a doll-lover like me, I think you will find something to love in these stories.
The Doll People series by Ann. M. Martin and Laura Godwin. This is the story of two doll families: an antique porcelain set and the plastic Funcrafts. The two young girls of the doll families, Annabelle and Tiffany, team up to solve the mystery of a missing member of the doll family. We discovered this first as an audiobook and it quickly became one of our favorites. Read by Lynn Redgrave, she does an amazing job with the voices of the two families. There are three other books in the series, all with awesome illustrations by Brian Selznik.
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden
Rumer Godden might just be the queen of doll books. She has written so many books about dolls including her famous Christmas story The Story of Holly and Ivy. We recently read Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. What a wonderful book to inspire love of learning in your kids!  A little girl is sent from her father's house in India to live with her relatives. Nona struggles with loneliness until a cousin sends two tiny Japanese dolls. Nona sets out to build a proper Japanese home for the dolls, and soon she is becoming braver than she ever dreamed. The whole family is drawn into her passion for learning about Japanese culture and they build an authentic wooden dollhouse for the dolls. There are even plans for the dollhouse in the back, should you want to make one yourself. I look forward to reading more of Godden's books.
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey  
 I just discovered this little gem, which won the Newbery medal in 1946. It tells the story of a little doll with a hickory nut head and an apple twig body who is left for the winter in New Hampshire and most find a home in the woods and friends among the animals there. Beautifully written, it left me wondering what other older Newbery-medal winning books I may have missed.
 The Rackety Packety House by Frances Hodgson Burnett 
A lesser known book by the author of The Secret Garden, this book is a perfect introduction to chapter books for younger readers, especially if you can find the edition with illustrations by Wendy Anderson Halperin. When the old rackety-packety doll house is shoved in the corner of the nursery, replaced by the very fancy Tidy Castle, the Rackety family of dolls must find a way to save their home. The Rackety family will charm you with their good humor and spirit that conquers all.
The Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona Zelda McDonough
Inspired by the true story of the creation of the Madame Alexander dolls, Anna and her sisters love to play with the dolls in their father's repair shop. When World War I causes an embargo on the German doll parts the shop needs for repairs, the family comes up with a new idea to keep the shop afloat.
The Best Loved Doll by Rebecca Caudill
This is a sweet little story about a little girl who is invited to a doll party. One of the dolls is going to win a prize and Betsy can't decide which doll to bring. Finally she brings her worn but well-loved favorite. There is no chance the doll will win a prize, or will it?
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
We recently listened to this on audiobook. I must warn you there is a lot of heartbreak in the middle of this book, but the redemptive ending makes up for all of the loss. This book is the story of Edward Tulane, a self-absorbed china rabbit who is incapable of love. When he is lost on a ship voyage, his life begins to take some very unexpected turns which teach him the value of love and loss.

Do you have any favorite books about dolls?


  1. These look wonderful! I bet hf would love them! Thank you!

  2. Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field is wonderful.

  3. Thanks for the recommendation. I have that one on my shelf, but I haven't read it yet. I look forward to reading it!