THE CHRISTMAS DOLL by Elvira Woodruff
Kirkus Star


Age Range: 6 - 11
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Imagine that 150 years ago, Charles Dickens decided to write a book just for little girls: a touching tale of not one but two deserving orphans, runaways from the workhouse who are starving in the teaming streets of Victorian London. Through luck, pluck, and assorted amazing coincidences, they find a streetwise older boy (an honest version of the Artful Dodger) to help them and a kindly doll-shop owner, Miss Thimblebee, who gives the oldest sister a job and eventually provides a loving home for both girls. Dickens, of course, never wrote a tale of two sisters, but Woodruff (George Washington’s Socks, 1999, etc.) has spun just such a magical story, expertly incorporating a dash of Dickens with extensive historical research in the early Victorian era into her well-crafted plot. Ten-year-old Lucy and her six-year-old sister Glory are desperately trying to survive in the crowded slums of London when they find an old doll in the mud next to the Thames River. The plot turns on this particular doll, which is sold for a penny, later refurbished in the doll shop, and then chosen as the Christmas doll for the ailing daughter of Queen Victoria’s gardener. The story is told in short chapters with the author employing another Dickensian device—much cliffhanging chapter endings. Young readers who like the American Girls and Dear America series will enjoy this fast-paced historical novel, and mothers or grandmothers will enjoy reading it to girls too young to read by themselves. A “dollightful” surprise for Santa to tuck under the Christmas tree . . . perhaps in the arms of an old-fashioned doll. (Fiction. 6-11)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-590-31872-1
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2000


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