A small girl is united with the doll of her dreams in this Christmas confection. When Ilyana's second-grade class visits a toy store, she has eyes only for Noelle, a beautiful ballerina doll who seems to reflect Ilyana's own dreams of becoming a dancer. Unfortunately, spoiled, rich Mary Jane has also set her heart on the doll, and unlike llyana, she is undeterred by the $175 price tag. Meanwhile, the doll wants more than to be bought and loved by a child; considering herself an artist, she longs to dance as a real ballerina. When she is purchased by the prop manager of the Imperial Ballet to appear in ""The Nutcracker,"" Noelle feels her dreams are coming true. How Ilyana's perseverance (and luck) win Noelle for her own, and how the doll discovers the joys of being loved while still keeping her dreams of dancing, make a warm if somewhat bland tale that tugs at our heartstrings with familiar images of toys withering on a shelf waiting to be loved. Though the outcome is predictable, the plot has some nice twists and Ilyana's pluck is refreshing. Mary Jane's machinations to get the doll for herself add tension. The book is nicely designed, with serene full-page black-and-white illustrations and chapter decorations. A perfect seasonal read-aloud.