Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Racketty-Packetty House

The Racketty-Packetty House

Frances Hodgson Burnett
Illustrator:   Wendy Anderson Halperin 
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Simon and Schuster, 2006   ISBN: 978-0689869747

Though everything in it is old and shabby, the Racketty-Packetty house is a happy doll’s house. The sofa may need a new cover, and the dolls that live there certainly need new clothes and a touch up of paint here and there, but they are a happy lot, and the Fairies are always visiting the house to share fun and games with the dolls. There comes a day though when a new doll’s house arrives in Cynthia’s nursery, a beautiful castle doll’s house full of gorgeous new furniture and perfect dolls. Why, it even has an adjoining carriage house with a pony in it. On that day, the Racketty-Packetty house is stuck behind the nursery door where it can’t be seen, and the dolls hear Cynthia’s nurse say that the plan is to burn the Racketty-Packetty house. Thankfully, the Racketty-Packetty house is so well hidden behind the door that everyone forgets the house for a while, and the old dolls can sit and watch what is going on in the new castle doll’s house to their heart’s content.

Then Cynthia’s nurse remembers the old doll’s house and she is determined to get rid of it. What she does not plan on is that the Fairies are very fond of the Racketty-Packetty house and its charming occupants, and they are not going to stand by and let them be burned. The Fairies come to the rescue and station one of their number at the house to protect it. For now at least the house and its fun loving and devoted occupants are safe, but how long will this state of affairs last?

This one hundredth anniversary edition is not only beautiful to look at with its whimsical illustrations of dolls and fairies, but the story still has the ability to charm youngsters who are able to imagine a world where dolls come alive. It’s magic and its appeal are timeless, and young readers will be delighted with its perfect, and much deserved, happy ending.