I still have a lot of my books from when I was growing up, but the large majority of them are classic mystery series, such as Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. Therefore I've been on the prowl during recent trips to Goodwill and have picked up a few most-definitely-girl books.
The first one I found was The Dollhouse Magic which is really ironic if you know me. I didn't really "do" dolls when I was growing up. I remember playing with dolls with friends but never on my own. I'm not really sure why. I have no recollection. But I do care that my daughter would have a happy, innocent girlhood, filled with dolls and dresses and any other princess-y thing she'd like to get into. And who knows the extent that mommy may or may not participate also. I'm willing to start by finding magical books to share with her. The Dollhouse Magic had a promising ring to it.
I read it quickly myself one afternoon and it is really a charming story. It is set during the Great Depression and follows the story of two sisters, Lila and Jane. Lila and Jane's father has come on hard times and the happy family makes do on little more than love and money that they scrape together for essentials. The girls befriend an elderly lady named Miss Whitcomb who owns a delightful little dollhouse which she displays from the front window of her home. Miss Whitcomb notices the girls admiring her dollhouse and invites them over one afternoon to see it up close and personal. The three females form a friendship over this dollhouse which is charming, to be sure.
The story does have a rather happy-sad ending in that Miss Whitcomb passes away. However, she leaves her dollhouse to two little girls whom she knows will love and cherish this treasure. The Dollhouse Magic isn't really about magic, although the title would suggest it. Rather, it is the story of girlhood wonder over a special dollhouse that has been loved for years. It's the story of cross-generational friendship that is particularly meaningful during a period of hard times. It is, in short, a lovely story. I'm glad to have found a copy.
(I will say though that author Yona Zeldis McDonough's writing style is a bit curious. She uses present tense to tell the story when it really feels as if it ought to be written in the past tense. It comes across a bit awkwardly at times but you sorta get used to it and can ignore it for the sake of the story.)
If you are going to have dolls, you have to feed them, right? I was equally happy (and amused) to find a copy of Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls at Goodwill also. (These $0.99 scores are just wow-ing me these days!) Apparently this book was recently re-released in hardback form but I found the paperback copy with the cover art you see displayed here, copyright 1996. This book, however, goes back much further, having first been published in 1961.
It is, in a word, adorable.
I'm just going to quote from the book because it'll give you an accurate picture of what you can expect to find inside.
"This is a cookbook for dolls. It is written for kind climates and summertime. It is an outdoor cookbook, because dolls dote on mud, when properly prepared. They love the crunch of pine needles and the sweet feel of seaweed on the tongue. The market place, then, will be a forest or sand dune or your own back yard." (From the Forward.)
It continues on . . .
"Doll cookery is not a very exacting art. The time it takes to cook a casserole depends upon how long your dolls are able to sit at a table without falling over. And if a recipe calls for a cupful of something, you can use a measuring cup or a teacup or a buttercup. IT doesn't much matter. What does matter is that you select the best ingredients available, set a fine table, and serve with style."
The book is divided up into the following categories: Appetizers, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches, Main Dishes, Pastries and Desserts, Beverages and Suggested Menus.
It's a quick and easy read and definitely dated to 1961. That said, it's cute, innocent and tongue-in-cheek. Adults would find the humor in it. Young ladies, I suspect, would take it seriously just as they should. I love it!
So now you know my latest passion, obsession and craze: dolls. Who'da thunk it?