Tag Archives: historical fiction

Little House Laura

imageDoll friends, have you been over to The Queen’s Treasures to see the reveal of the Laura Ingalls Wilder doll?

I think she has a sweet face and expressive brown eyes.  Excellent value… For 99.00 you have Laura, her sleeping gown and cap, a quilt and pillow, her doll, and the world’s most adorable log cabin box.  I think I already forgot about Melody.

I love the respect that The Queen’s Treasures gives to kids and families.  Already have a doll who wants to be Laura?  You can just buy her clothing, including her “meet” outfit, for a reasonable $16.00.  Instead of bundling the cooking and home care items into a massive package, they are sold in smaller, more affordable bundles.

The must-have item:  Jack the Brindle Bulldog.  His muzzle is even pinkish just like a real bulldog.  It appears his nose is heavy vinyl and his eyes are plastic, not embroidered.

So glad there is now a quality play set that honors the Little House legacy.  Will we get Mary eventually?

Laura ships at the start of July.  Skip a trip to Starbucks every week and you’ll have money for Laura in plenty of time to welcome her in July!

 

 

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American Girl 2017

It’s hard to write about 2017 when I am still writing the date as 2015!

Exciting news this week from American Girl author Kathleen Ernst, author of the Caroline books and many of the AG mysteries.  She is currently writing a new book for American Girl which will be released in 2017.  She isn’t able to say whether it is a new character or a book for an existing character, but I know it will be great either way.  Secretly, I hope it is a new character because it was sad to see Caroline go.  I appreciate that the Caroline books featured her relationship with her father as a main theme.

My favorite Ernst book to recommend to you (all ages) is Betrayal at Cross Creek about the Scottish immigrants forced to take sides during the American Revolution.

I hope you considering following Kathleen’s blog  . . .  maybe she will throw her fellow history lovers some more hints 🙂

Addy: Let Your Spirit Sing

A few months ago I purchased Addy’s benne candy tin (Pleasant Co) from eBay, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day seems like a good date to revisit this part of Addy’s story.

Words below are from Connie Porter’s book “Happy Birthday, Addy!”  The character M’Dear is an elderly neighbor who encourages Addy to claim a birth date of her own, since she does not know her actual birthday having been born a slave.  The date she chooses is the end of the Civil War.

Momma led Addy to one table, and there at her place was a tin of benne candies from M’Dear.

Addys Birthday Outfit

noexif_IMG_6689_private“You sure did pick a special day for your birthday,” said M’Dear.  “This is from Sunny and me.”

Addy opened the gift to find two of Sunny’s bright yellow feathers tied together with a bow.  Addy held them gently, a bit of bright sunshine in the palm of her hand.

Addy Birthday Benne CAndy“Thank you,” Addy said.  She kissed M’Dear and pinned the feathers in her hair.

Addy Sunny Feathers“Let these remind you to always let your spirit sing out,” said M’Dear.

“I will,” promised Addy. “I will.”

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Meeting Melody

Our Melody American Girl book “No Ordinary Sound” arrived today… She beat Lea’s books here which Amazon hasn’t shipped yet.  Brianna and I started reading it in tandem.  We won’t spoil the book for you, but one shareable detail is that Melody’s family calls her Dee-Dee!

If your library won’t stock the book for a while and you want to get in the mood of the early 60s, I can recommend the young adult book, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963” by Christopher Paul Curtis.  He worked in an auto factory in Michigan prior to becoming a writer.  Most of his books are award-winning.

Have any readers started Melody or Lea’s books yet?  Maryellen’s?

Falling for Maryellen

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

I’m smitten.  Brianna finished Maryellen’s first book “The One and Only” the first day it was released.  It took me two days to finish it because I had to savor it just a little… and make dinner now and again.

I will not spoil the book for you because you simply must read it!  My first reading of the samples that Amazon posted in their “Look Inside” feature gave me the impression that this might be a “lite” book for kids.  I was very wrong.

Maryellen is a 1950s girl struggling to find her identity in a family of 6 kids.  In her efforts to be “the one and only Maryellen” she makes some poorly thought out choices.  Think Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy.  I truly did “LOL” during the book!  The comedic moments are accompanied by themes of being unique vs being part of a family, making our individual dreams come true vs sharing our joy with others, and seeing people as individuals vs excluding them based on groups they belong to.  This book is more Molly than Addy or Caroline.  So far Maryellen is not risking her life to intervene in the history of the day.  Her journey in the first book is inward.

Debbie Reynolds. Read the book and learn why I pinned this photo.

Debbie Reynolds. Read the book and learn why I pinned this photo.

Brianna thinks I can be too critical, but my complaints are that Dad isn’t a very developed character — at least so far.  I’m not even sure what his occupation is.  We don’t get to know him in the same was we get to know Caroline’s father in her books.  My other complaint is that the loss of small drawings in the historical books is very sad.  I made myself a Pinterest board as I read, looking up details like “Rosemary Clooney’s gown in White Christmas.”  The story is so much richer when these details have an accompanying image.  A lot of kids may not even have a reference for “coffee-cake” or “round suitcase”…. not to mention “cold cream.”  I hope that the historical dolls won’t lose their appeal as new readers discover their stories without the artwork we all associate with the original books.

Surprisingly, this is a Christmas story in Daytona!  It would make a wonderful gift during the holiday season, or could be read with a loved one who grew up in Maryellen’s time period.  Multi-generation book club?  Absolutely!

I found my heart warmed as I uncovered the deeper significance behind the clothing that is available for the doll.

The Maryellen doll may or may not be on your “wishlist” but don’t miss an opportunity to get to know her as a character.  I hope to hear your thoughts after you’ve read the book too!  No spoilers please.

 

 

 

Books for AG Fans – St Patrick’s Day Edition

Nory Ryan's SongMy daughter has converted me into a historical literature fan.  It all started long ago reading “Addy” and “Josefina” on the couch together.  Today I work in reading instruction at an elementary school and discover all sorts of fabulous fiction at work.

Nory RyanIf you enjoy American Girl historical fiction, I recommend the book Nory Ryan’s Song.  Nory is 12 years old and lives through the first year of the Irish Potato Blight of 1845.  Nory has many traits in common with our favorite historical AGs: tenacity, bravery, caretaking, intergenerational relationships, and healing.  I have to admit that I always wondered why the Irish didn’t fish in the sea when the potatoes failed.  This book explains how truly trapped the Irish were by the English landowners.

I recommend the book for 4th grade and up.  There is nothing inappropriate in the book, but younger readers may not understand the complicated tangle of problems the Irish faced.  The book was so compelling that my husband read it too!

Nory Ryan’s Song has two fantastic sequels that follow Nory through her life.  I recommend them all.

The author, Patricia Reilly Giff, based the book loosely on her on family’s history.  Ms. Giff came to writing as a second career after being a teacher for many years.

I would love to create my own doll based on Nory, and hope some day to locate a doll needing a new wig that might be transformed into Nory.  Until then, Saige will play along.

Saige as Nory Ryan.  The red ribbon and stone wall are elements in the book.

Saige as Nory Ryan. The red ribbon and stone wall are elements in the book.

Crafty with ‘A Girl for All Time’

Amelia, Victorian Period

We were excited to find a bookmark craft on the Living a Doll’s Life website courtesy of A Girl for All Time.  The dolls are English girls from the same family spanning four historical periods.  We were so excited to hear about them that we ordered the first book ‘Matilda’s Secret’ from the UK from a book reseller.  We hope it will arrive this week!

We printed the bookmarks out, and then fancied them up with scrapbook paper and ribbons.  We placed additional stickers and cut-out images on the back side of the bookmarks.

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Matilda, Tudor Period

 

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Clementine and Matilda

Then after a frenzy of bookmark-crafting, we packed them into envelopes and sent them off to some of the girls in our life, ages 4 to 93!

All the Girls