Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Gingerbread doll

The Gingerbread doll

Susan Tews
Illustrator:  Megan Lloyd 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Clarion Books, 1993   ISBN: 978-0395564387

When Rebecca was a young girl in the 1930's, her family moved to a farm, and life was very hard for a while. The farm house was in bad shape, much of their first crop was destroyed, and Rebecca was told that "it would be a lean Christmas." Rebecca hoped that she would get the porcelain doll that she had seen in a store window in town.

But, with money so tight, Rebecca's parents had to make do with very little. Buying such an expensive doll was out of the question. Mama did her best to make Rebecca's Christmas special by making her a doll instead of buying her one. Button Marie was made out of gingerbread, and Rebecca loved her dearly. Unfortunately Button Marie eventually got broken and Rebecca sadly set aside the little dress that Mama had made for the doll.

The second year on the farm things got better. The house had bright white siding now, and for Christmas Rebecca was given a corn husk doll that her mother had made for her. And then, for her third farm Christmas Rebecca finally got the porcelain doll that she had always wanted. But, though this new doll was perfect, Rebecca never forgot Button Marie.

As they read this book children who have to plow their way through mounds of gifts at Christmas will discover that there was a time in America when buying even one doll was beyond the means of many families. They will discover that a gift made with love can sometimes be more precious than a fancy present that was bought in a store.

Simply written with pathos and warmth, this picture book would make a grand addition to a Christmas picture book collection.