It’s not only the patients, but the doctor and nurses who are dolls, too.
Dr. Pegs, a doll with Raggedy Ann–orange hair, a light brown face, and green scrubs, gets overwhelmed when too many patients arrive. There’s Portia, a pretty, brown porcelain doll with a cracked arm, and Scoop, a blond, pink-faced stuffed boy doll with a tummy ache. Then come Baby, a white doll whose talking mechanism is broken (“Instead of saying ‘Mommy,’ she says, ‘MOO!’ ”), and Teddy, a brown bear missing one eye. Dr. Pegs had one chore in mind: to sort the buttons, needed for emergencies. Now she’s terribly flustered and must ring the “special bell” for the Nesting Nurses. A set of nurses with diverse racial identities, resembling Russian wooden dolls, arrives and efficiently solves every toy’s problem, even sorting the pesky buttons. In fact, they do all the work, but Dr. Pegs centers herself when she says “I couldn’t have done it without you.” Collage and digital illustrations have a charming retro look with a palette that relies on red, green, yellow, and brown (and, interestingly, no black), and the text is cumulative in a satisfying way, but the message is mixed. Although the doctor is female and cheerfully thanks her female assistants, she still manages to come out on top. Couldn’t medical teamwork have been shown in a more enlightened way?
Although the instinct to care for others is important to nurture, this seems like an unnecessary throwback to an earlier era. (Picture book. 3-6)