Rose finds a china doll abandoned in the attic in a tale that builds on the themes found in The Velveteen Rabbit.
Rose is a difficult child, so clumsy at home that her mother never entrusted her with the doll and so dreamy at school that she is called weirdo. Amazingly, the doll comes to life when Rose's tears fall upon her. Although the doll, Regina, is demanding, she becomes the companion Rose desperately needs. However, Regina requires constant attention lest she once again fall into a deep sleep, a heavy responsibility for a child who longs to be out exploring. Readers will readily identify with both the needy Regina and the easily distracted Rose. For as Rose blossoms, she frequently forgets the doll and sheds many guilty tears over her—a situation many youngsters will recognize. In the most original scene, the doll brings Rose closer to her beloved big brother, for he, too, played with the doll in his youth and becomes Rose's partner in finding a home for her. In this prequel to The Very Little Princess: Zoey's Story (2010), Bauer uses a warm and confidential, if sometimes intrusive, storyteller's voice. Sayles' black-and-white pencil drawings tenderly capture Rose.
This early chapter book sets up the premise for Zoey's story and, more importantly, prepares children for the sometimes prickly task of growing up. (Doll fantasy. 6-9)