Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Christmas Doll Audio

The Christmas Doll Audio

Elvira Woodruff
For ages 9 to 12
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Bernadette Dunne
Blackstone Audiobooks, 2004   ISBN: 978-0786181926

Lucy and her little sister Glory are all alone in the world. Most of their lives they have lived in the workhouse where they have been overworked, underfed, and cruelly misused. To help her little sister bear their dreadful existence, Lucy tells Glory stories about what their life was like before, when their parents were alive. Most often Lucy tells Glory of the doll called Morning Glory which belonged to them and which they lost when they were brought to the workhouse. For Glory this doll represents all that was once good in their lives and she never gives up hope that one day they will find her again.

When sickness comes to the workhouse Lucy decides that the only way to save her sister’s life is for them to run away. Out onto the cold, dangerous streets of London the little girls go, trying to find a way to make enough money for a little food. They join a small army of children who look for "treasures" in the mud of the river and there they find the remains of a doll. For Glory this is the most wonderful find possible for she is sure that the doll is none other than the one that they lost all those years ago.

For Lucy the find is bittersweet for she knows that she is going to have to sell the doll so that they have enough money to buy some food before they starve to death. At the same time she knows that giving the doll up may break Glory’s poor sick little heart. Then, my some miracle and perhaps a little Christmas magic, the sorry looking doll with her peculiar lop-sided smile helps Glory and Lucy find what they need the most in the world, a home with someone to love them.

This wonderful story about two children in Victorian London is both disturbing and heart warming. It is hard to hear about the suffering that the children have to endure and to discover how precarious life was for orphaned children. At the same time there is that ray of hope which Glory keeps in her heart and which she never loses even when the future is looking very grim indeed. Though Lucy is the one who takes care of them both, it is Glory with her generous heart and her undying faith in miracles who keeps them going. This is a perfect tale to enjoy during the Christmas season for it reminds us that Christmas is not just about gifts and feasts, but it is also about family, giving to others, and love.