Living in the country where her parents, both dropouts from teaching, are waiting to be discovered as a weaver and a potter,...

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THE SECRET MUSEUM

Living in the country where her parents, both dropouts from teaching, are waiting to be discovered as a weaver and a potter, Jennifer Fairfax comes upon an isolated playhouse full of weeping dolls who tell her as she wipes their tears how neglected they feel since their owner, now an old lady, mistreated and then abandoned them years ago. There is some conflict when another girl, a tougher visitor from the city, discovers the dolls (but not that they talk, which remains Jennifer's secret), but soon the two make friends and convert the playhouse into a museum where they put the antique toys through daily puppet-like performances for a paying audience. The idea is slight and the atmosphere thin and the appeal probably limited to those who can sympathize with the Queen doll's nostalgia for ""a real ball with dancing and singing and elegant games and buttercup cake and dandelion tea and clover wine."" But the fantasy is well integrated with the ""realistic"" level of wish fulfillment which gradually takes over, the contrast between the girls' resourcefulness and Jennifer's parents' mopey wistfulness (their luck picks up toward the end, thanks partly to her example) is unobtrusively bracing, and we suspect that Jennifer isn't the only little girl to whom this will seem a lovely way to spend a summer.

Pub Date: April 15, 1974

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 127

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1974