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A Book of Dolls Around the World

by Michelle Markel & illustrated by Michelle Markel

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-618-05487-1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

An alphabet of dolls from many countries and time periods displays each with a handsome full-page photograph accompanied by a brief description. There are dolls made from cornhusks, wood, cloth, wishbones, apples, clay, china, yarn, and even bread. For some, the author tells how the doll got its name. For example, a stiff little china doll from Germany called “frozen Charlotte” was named for a popular story of the 1850s about a vain woman who went for a sleigh ride with her boyfriend and refused to wear a warm cloak, which would cover up her pretty blouse. She froze to death, hence the name. The Nina doll smuggled documents inside her china head through Union lines in the Civil War. Other dolls were named for the designer or manufacturer, like the Lenci doll from Italy. Some dolls described were not playthings, but were used in religious ceremonies. Those include the Kachina dolls of the Hopi Indians, Harvest dolls from Greece, vodou dolls from Haiti, and the Ushabti, small carved dolls buried in ancient Egyptian tombs to serve as servants in the afterlife. Markel includes clay figures used in the Mexican Nativity, which she calls xmas dolls, but is careful to note: “Children are not allowed to play with the Nativity dolls, but may help pose them.” The author includes an afterword on doll-collecting, a map showing the location of all the dolls included, and books for further reading. An attractive title for display or reading, this should have a wide audience. (Nonfiction. 8-12)