THE STORY OF BARBIE  by Cindy Eagan

THE STORY OF BARBIE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Mattel unveiled the iconic Barbie doll at the 1959 Toy Fair, but her journey there was not all smooth sailing.

Ruth Handler, a white woman, came up with the idea for Barbie by watching her daughter play with paper dolls that looked more grown-up than her baby dolls. In what could be the most provocative and provoking spread, Ruth pitches Barbie to a team of evidently all-white, male designers at “Ruth and her husband’s toy company,” who say that the idea is “too different” and “impossible”; this is how readers learn that Ruth is Mattel’s co-owner. (Can they actually tell her no?) Their reactions only make Ruth more determined, and two short, explanation-free pages later, the Barbie doll is launched to great success. The commentary also evades the body-image issues that the Barbie doll has created. The book is tolerable in part due to Bates’ soft watercolor renderings depicting Barbie’s evolving career—starting with Ballerina, Nurse, Singer, and Flight Attendant and morphing into Barbies who go into space, become veterinarians, and run for president. Barbies of color—of various backgrounds and professions—pepper the inside pages and jacket of the package; however, the narrative’s relentlessly cheerleading approach and holes may leave readers ungratified. Readers after a truly inspiring story of toy invention should check out Chris Barton and Don Tate’s Whoosh! (2016).

Leave this substance-free Barbie in the box. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-399-55378-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2017




MORE BY AMY JUNE BATES

ChildrenGITTEL'S JOURNEY by Lesléa Newman
by Lesléa Newman
ChildrenLOVING HANDS by Tony Johnston
by Tony Johnston
ChildrenTHE BIG UMBRELLA by Amy June Bates
by Amy June Bates

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenWHOOSH! by Chris Barton
by Chris Barton
ChildrenLEVI STRAUSS GETS A BRIGHT IDEA by Tony Johnston
by Tony Johnston
ChildrenSHE PERSISTED by Chelsea Clinton
by Chelsea Clinton