Tag Archives: Dolls

52 Mondays – Anna Ciddor

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Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 978176052348052mondays

Imprint: A & U Children

Pub Date: March 2019

RRP $14.99

 

It would appear that Anna Ciddor and I must be of the same vintage as this fictionalised account of a year of her childhood and the many references to commonplace 60s objects and events resonate so readily. While my own experience was growing up in suburban Sydney it would seem that suburban Melbourne was not so far removed after all.

Young Anna describes a year in her everyday life as the oldest of three girls in a Jewish family, all of whom relocated following the war. After reading a particular book Anna becomes infatuated with the idea of owning her own antique doll and her loving parents go above and beyond to make that dream come true. As the year passes with almost weekly visits to the local antiques auction house, Anna relates the family celebrations, the playtimes, school and the house which clearly is bursting with love.

It is a delightful story which I consumed in one sitting and as well as allowing readers a glimpse into a childhood spent in a family of a different culture, also invites a closer knowledge of daily life in a long ago decade when owning a TV was still fairly uncommon, children were not just satisfied but excited by far less in the way of outings and material possessions and family life was valued.

Highly recommended to readers from around eight years upwards.

 

Dolls of War – Shirley Parenteau

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dollsofwar

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9780763690694
Imprint: Candlewick
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $19.99
New Zealand RRP: $22.99

 

This is another charming book in the ‘Friendship Dolls’ series. The last one I reviewed examined the narrative from a Japanese girl’s perspective when the American dolls were coming as gifts of friendship to her country.  This one takes another tack with the story of Macy, an American eleven year old in 1941 just after the attack on Pearl Harbour.

The large doll Miss Tokyo and her accompaniments of small dishes, tea set, parasols etc have been a special part of Macy’s life and also the museum of which her father is the curator. Macy’s mother, who has recently died, was raised in Japan and always had a fond association with that country’s people and culture. Macy and her mother always had a special secret relationship with Miss Tokyo, when they pretended to ‘talk’ to her.  Now that her mother is gone, Macy feels an urgent protector role to the doll.

When Pearl Harbour is attacked, Macy’s town like so many other Americans are enraged and retaliate by engaging in mindless violence against all things Japanese. Macy’s lot is not good and realistically her father senses that she would be better off away from their town and in a quieter locale.

There are many twists and turns in this narrative with Macy’s determination to protect the doll and protest the senseless knee-jerk responses.

All in all, it’s another fascinating read for the history and the insight into a fictional participant in this turmoil.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards – and if your school has Japanese as another language or even Lower Secondary students studying World War II a fabulous read for the back story of ordinary people.

 

Dolls of Hope – Shirley Parenteau

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dollsofhope

 

Walker Books

March 2018

ISBN: 9780763677527
Imprint: Candlewick
Australian RRP: $19.99
New Zealand RRP: $22.99

 
A companion book to The Ship of Dolls this continues the little known history of the Friendship Doll project of 1926, this time from the Japanese perspective. Chiyo Tamura has been raised in a very traditional rural Japanese family and has never imagined that she might ever leave her small village. However, when her older sister becomes engaged to a neighbor,  wealthy landowner, Chiyo is sent to Tokyo to a girls’ boarding school. In Tokyo she discovers that Japan is undergoing a cultural shift as the old ways are abandoned and new Western ways are adopted.

She also becomes involved through her school in the Friendship Dolls project when her school is selected to receive one of the special little visitors and even has a hand in crafting the reciprocal gift doll Miss Tokyo.

But there are many dramas, both small and large, along the way as Chiyo struggles to adapt to life in the school and the city, and deals with the inevitable school bully.  Chiyo’s own perception of her own ‘worthiness’ that is her self-esteem and confidence increases as she grows in personality and skills.

Altogether this is a charming book, a very enjoyable read and certainly explored a piece of history of which I was completely unaware.

I highly recommend it to readers from around ten years upwards who will have no difficulty connecting and empathizing with Chiyo.