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Friday, July 8, 2011

Doll Talk

In one of Brattcat's baskets, there reside comfort dolls, rainbow dolls, an elephant, a lamb, and rabbits, all waiting to be loved by children in a Haitian orphanage. An ample supply of yarn in her stash allowed me to begin one such soft creature, a soft blue rabbit. As I knit his body parts (and removed and reknit some), I not only felt his spirit taking shape, but I imagined the conversations a little person might have with my completed rabbit. The things I wish for that little person are stitched into him as well.

It was easy, then, for me to finish Kirby Larson's latest novel, The Friendship Doll, and consider the doll talk. Miss Kanagawa is a main character, one of 58 Friendship Dolls created by Japanese dollmakers and given to the children of the United States in 1927. When she arrives in New York City, her influence on young Bunny Harnden prompts the girl to change course when she is part of a welcoming committee. At the Chicago World's Fair, the doll's positive spirit causes young Lois Brown to view her great aunt and her dear friend Mabel in a different light. That spirit of positive thinking works its magic with Willie Mae Marcum in 1937 and Lucy Turner in 1939-1941. Each of the girls encounter Miss Kanagawa and are enchanted by her eyes and spirit. The doll, meanwhile, strives to spread the positive thoughts of her maker to others.


  1. All the bears and lambs and babies eagerly await the arrival of your soft blue bunny. The Friendship Doll sounds like a must-read.

  2. That would make a great reading list: doll stories.

    I remember reading, and loving, MISS HICKORY when I was in elementary school, but perhaps that's not really a doll story.

    EDWARD TULANE by Kate DiCamillo would certainly qualify, and I enjoyed that book immensely as well.

    I was an adult when I read HATTIE, HER FIRST HUNDRED YEARS, and found it very interesting.

    Any other favorite doll stories?

  3. I have long loved brattcat's comfort dolls and animals - great characters, all.