Monday, 17 October 2011

The Dolls' House

Children's book by Rumer Godden. Paperback.

I have decided to do a series of posts on books I enjoyed as a child, timeless classics I enjoyed time and time again. I want to share these with others so that hopefully they can find the magic that I did in these stories.

When I was young, a book I kept coming back to was The Dolls' House, by Rumer Godden. I think my dad originally read it to me, but I remember reading it to myself time and time again. It is a wonderful book, because there are many books where children's toys come alive, but not many where you come to feel so much for the characters, to feel like they are real people, and to remember them like you remember old friends, always glad to come back to them. This is the way I feel about this book. I only wish I still had it so I could read it again, but I think it's been passed on to some other children. I hope all it's future owners enjoy it as much as I did.

The Doll's House is the story of a family of dolls who lack a house. Tottie, Mr Plantaganet, Birdie, Apple, and the dog, Darner, live in a shoebox, and are the beloved toys of two little girls called Emily and Charlotte. Tottie is a hundred years old or so (I can't remember exactly) and belonged to the girl's great-great aunt, and she remembers the doll house she once lived in. One day, the doll house is discovered in an attic and is sent to the girls. They and the dolls love it and clean it and make it habitable, they move in, and everything seems perfect. Then comes Marchpane. She used to live in the house along with Tottie and she is beautiful, very expensive and very evil. She begins to turn their joy into misery.

The story really draws you in, and you feel the doll's joy and pain. I liked how it was written so that the younger girl, Charlotte, still senses what the dolls want and like with that kind of intuition to the thoughts of toys and animals that children often have in books, while Emily, who is growing older, is losing touch with what the dolls feel, and is won over by the beautiful and scheming Marchpane, who uses Emily to help her take over the dollhouse.

The ending is a little sad, but I think that this is a wonderfully imaginative book and a true classic for kids to read!

There have been a lot of different covers for this over the years, as it has been around for a long time. This is the cover of my old copy. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh this brings back memories of my childhood. I had forgotten about this gem of a book, but your post had reminded me of it. Thank you :)