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Books About Dolls
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About the Author Greetings! This is me when I was 3. And, as you can see from the photo, I was very happy when playing with my dolls. Decades later, dolls still hold a fond place in my heart. I have created DollKind in order to publish my doll history research articles and to share my enjoyment of dolls with you.

 

Books About Dolls

Trust my list for the very best reading of the very best books about dolls ever written!

The books I have written about here provide not only stories that you will carry in your heart for a lifetime, but also some of the most excellent prose ever written for children. I am often troubled by the poor quality of language in many modern children's books. By introducing your child to the works of authors like Rumer Godden, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Beatrix Potter, and Louisa May Alcott, you are giving them not only delightful tales, but exquisite examples of the very best of the English language. Make no mistake, however, that these books are for children only. I have been reading them again and again for decades. The charm of the world of dolls has never been broken for me, and the following books depict that world with vivid beauty.

The Dolls' House by Rumer Godden The Dolls' House
by Rumer Godden
Illustrated by Tasha Tudor
Suitable for children ages 7 and up

Rumer Godden and Tasha Tudor bring to vivid life the Plantagenet doll family, and give us a peek into the secret world of dolls that begins the moment the doll house door is closed. Meet Mr. Plantagenet - a kind, if somewhat timid, father who was rescued from a dark toy cupboard. His wife Birdie is an inexpensive celluloid doll who came on a Christmas cracker and maintains her gay and festive, yet featherbrained, ways. Little Apple is the plush velvet baby boy of the family, no bigger than your thumb, and Darner, the dog, was made of a darning needle and barks, prick when he senses danger. Tottie, the antique wooden farthing doll, is the true heart and soul of the Plantagenet family, and it is she who comforts and sustains her companions when a haughty wax doll named Marchpane attempts to steal the dollhouse from the them.

This is the definitive book on the hidden lives of dolls, and Tasha Tudor's illustrations are exquisite. This book has been teaching children for years that dolls must be loved to become 'real' and that their happiness is dependent upon the kindness of the children they belong to. I read this book to shreds when I was a little girl and was quite convinced that my dolls were having exciting lives of their own the moment I went to sleep at night. The story instilled a sense of responsibility in me for my treatment of my dolls...and, perhaps, for my treatment of other people. Originally published in 1947, it remains in print for your enjoyment. I encourage you to share this timeless and celebrated story with your children!

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden The Story of Holly and Ivy
by Rumer Godden
Suitable for children ages 3 and up

Published in 1957, this poignant tale of a little orphan girl and a lonely doll is filled with the 'doll magic' that Rumer Godden introduced to generations of children. When Ivy purposely gets off a train at a wrong stop and goes in search of her dream of a grandmother, fate brings her to the window of a toyshop where a Christmas doll named Holly has missed her chance to be sold before the holiday. Through a wonderful and mysterious series of serendipitous events, Ivy not only finds her grandmother, but also finds Holly waiting under a Christmas tree, just for her.

The lively goings-on in the after-hours toyshop will delight any imaginative child. Roly-poly hippos named Mallow and Wallow, dozens of wonderful dolls and a fierce stuffed owl named Abracadabra bring tremendous color to this unique story. One of Rumer Godden's greatest talents was her ability to speak to children in a way that was never dumbed-down. Her stories deal with joy, but don't omit the sadness that is a real part of life, even for children. It is this combination of realism and a touch of magic that makes her a truly unique author. You and your children will love The Story of Holly and Ivy.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett A Little Princess
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Suitable for children ages 7 and up

This famous, bittersweet and romantic story was first published in 1905 and is an amazingly detailed and feeling portrait of the late-Victorian age. A motherless little girl, Sara Crewe, is sent to boarding school by her beloved young father. She is a child of privilege and the school's headmistress accords her every distinction Sara's wealth and social position require. Despite her upper class background, Sara is drawn to befriend the poor scullery maid, a friendless little fat girl and other outcasts and misfits. She entertains them with her wonderful imagination, telling them stories of rich enchantment. When tragedy strikes and Sara loses both father and fortune, she is reduced to the misery of serving as a scullery maid in the school. This book is unstinting in its realistic depiction of the hunger, cold and drudgery inherent in the Victorian system of child labor and the reader is filled with compassion for Sara's plight. In the end, Sara's learns who her true friends are, and her vivid imagination results in yet another mysterious change in her fortunes. I won't give the ending away, but I promise, it's a happy one!

I'm including this book here in my list of books about dolls because when Sara first arrives at the school, she brings with her a fabulous doll named Emily. It has been dressed by the finest couturiers in the city, and the description of the doll's wardrobe will thrill all doll lovers. Like Charles Dickens, Frances Hodgson Burnett was drawn to themes of social injustice and unfortunate children who are rescued out of sorrow by an unexpected twist of fate. I consider this to be one of the most charming and memorable books ever written for children and readers of all ages will love it. The edition of this book that I've linked to is my favorite - illustrated by Tasha Tudor, and very affordable. Please, treat yourself to A Little Princess.

The Dolls' Christmas by Tasha Tudor The Dolls' Christmas
Written and Illustrated by Tasha Tudor
Suitable for children aged 2 and up

When I was a little girl, I checked this opulent picture book out of my school library dozens of times. Famed illustrator Tasha Tudor's ability to draw us into the world of dolls is unparalleled. If you are a Tasha Tudor fan, you will absolutely love this sweet little book! Two little girls give a Christmas party and invite all their young friends and relations. Dolls are the guests of honor and it feels like joining in the celebration as you turn the pages of this story. Especially beautiful are the illustrations of the large dollhouse - the stuff of dreams! The language is simple, suitable for beginning readers, or perfect as a lovely bedtime story. I never cared that this was meant as a holiday-themed book. I read it year-round. First published in 1950, it has been reprinted several times, and I was thrilled to find a used copy of The Dolls' Christmas at Amazon.com.

The Tale of Two Bad Mice by Beatrix Potter The Tale of Two Bad Mice
Written and Illustrated by Beatrix Potter
Suitable for children aged 2 and up

When two bad mice named Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca break into a dollhouse while the dolls are out of the nursery, high adventure is afoot. This incredibly amusing and lively short tale was first published in 1904, and Beatrix Potter depicted the mice, the doll house and the dollhouse miniatures with matchless skill and love. Dollhouse miniatures enthusiasts will adore the glowing depictions of the plaster ham, pudding and fish that enrage the little mice who discover them not to be edible. The mice run amok in the dollhouse, tearing apart feather beds and scattering pretend pantry items everywhere. The poor dolls are quite shocked when they return. In the end, the mice repent of their misdeeds and attempt to make amends, but it is really their bad-tempered antics that are the funny heart of this story which has delighted children and grownups alike for more than one hundred years. Why not pick up the Tale of Two Bad Mice to share with a little one who loves a good laugh?

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott
Suitable for children 10 years and up

I felt that this American classic has a place in list of books about dolls because of its unforgettable depiction of Beth March's infirmary for dolls. Like this timid and loving little girl of fiction, I had a very tender heart for unwanted, neglected and unloved dolls and treated them with special attention to make up for their past 'hurts'. Little Women takes us back to Civil war America and encourages us to let little girls remain young and happy for as long as possible before shouldering the responsibilities of womanhood. Louisa May Alcott was a firm believer in delivering sound moral teachings along with her charming stories and I find myself turning to her works when the stresses of modern life feel overwhelming.

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 and Little Women maintains its appeal as a an example of sweet simplicity and goodness that children and women can aspire to. Originally published in 1868, this book is available in a wonderful illustrated edition here.

Books about dolls make splendid gifts!

Is a little one's birthday coming up? Are you looking for a meaningful gift that will be enjoyed for years? Then, simply click one of the books on my list above to purchase one of these classic stories about dolls. Happy reading lies ahead!