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Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (Japanese Dolls #1)

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  630 ratings  ·  55 reviews
When little Nona is sent from her sunny home in India to live with her relatives in chilly England, she is miserable. Then a box arrives for her in the post and inside, wrapped up in tissue paper, are two little Japanese dolls. A slip of paper says their names are Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Nona thinks that they must feel lonely too, so far away from home.

Then Nona ha
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2006 by MacMillan UK (first published March 1st 1961)
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Community Reviews

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I'm not even a doll person but I immediately fell in love with this book! Even now I'm hard pressed to say who captivated me more, the adorable little dolls named in the title who speak (only to the reader of course!) throughout this children's-book-for-adults or lonely Nora suddenly finding herself a stranger in her aunt's home in cold England after growing up wild and warm in India. And then there were her cousins, staunch Tom who coaxes and challenges Nora right from the start, wise and kind ...more
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are Japanese dolls that are given to two little girls living in England. The book is told from the point of view of the dolls. Nona, a lonely little girl who just moved to England from India loves the dolls and wants to build them a proper Japanese dollhouse. The other little girl is Nona’s cousin, whom she now lives with. Belinda is not very understanding of Nona’s loneliness and often mocks her. Though as the dollhouse gets built, with some help from her cousins, ...more
Julie Davis
In case you've missed my other comments about Rumer Godden's childrens' books, here are the basics. I love her children's books just as much as her novels for adults. Godden has a knack for incorporating local culture, awkward and unappreciated people, and interesting plot with a lovely prose style. She is unafraid to have her characters behave naturally which means that a story's crisis points will often leave readers feeling very uncomfortable because they recognize the behavior so well and dr ...more
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is a stirring tale by Rumer Godden. It is the story of Nona Fell and her new family receiving two Japanese dolls from her Aunt Lucy Dickinson. Nona feels the sorrow and loneliness that the dolls are feeling, and decides to build them a new house, but this house becomes a home for not only the dolls, but also Nona. This story is very touching and sweet, and is a simple and classic tale for young students to enjoy. The story can be quite dramatic, but after a while, ...more
This is the simple and sweet story of Nona, an eight year old girl. She was born and raised in India by her father. (Her mother passed away.) Her father has sent her to England to live with relatives. She stays with an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Despite the relatives mostly warm welcome, Nona is homesick and lonely. One day two dolls arrive. Nona feels the dolls must be lonely. As she researches and builds them a Japanese style home (with the help of her cousin), she also develops her place ...more
Reviewing two of Godden's adult novels made me re-read this most beloved book from my childhood. Nine-year-old Nona is living with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and she is a lonely, shy misfit in their lively family - until two little Japanese dolls arrive in the mail. The dolls long for their own Japanese dollhouse, and only Nona has the heart and intuition to make their dream a reality.

Yeah, I was that girl. (Except not as cool as Nona) My own homemade dollhouse (made of orange crates, with han
October 2009 review:

This was a very enjoyable book to read; it reminded me of something Frances Burnett would write. It was a lot like The Secret Garden, or The Little Princess. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are two little Japanese dolls that are sent to Nona Fell, a little girl from India, now living in England with some cousins. The dolls were sent to Anne and Belinda, Nona’s cousins, but Anne says she is too old for dolls and Belinda is not interested in them, so Nona takes them in. When Non
A little dated but a great read aloud book. I liked how the children relied on each other and themselves and not the parents to do things for the dolls. I thought it was a great story of how the dolls helped Nona make friends and adjust to her new family. I also liked how Belinda, who was initially jealous, changed over the course of the book.
For such a short book, there is a surprising amount of atmosphere and characterization.
I found myself getting very personally invested in this story, like NOOO BELINDA DON'T BREAK THE HOUSE!!! (Spoiler: the house is okay)
Also I felt this horrible sinking feeling when Nona wished she could be a boy. :-(
Girls can be leaders too, Nona!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nona Fells feels lost. For all of her life she has lived in India with her father, where she tended by her Ayah and soothed by the bright flowers, fruit, and sun. But here in England, it is cold, cold, cold. Her cousins laugh at her clothes and her accent, but how can she be expected to act English, when all of her life has been Indian?

Slowly, Nona begins to settle into her new English life. But she is not cheerful. How can she be? She feels all alone. And then, one day, a package arrives, addre
Flapping fantastic. A kids' novel from another time where the characters aren't boring. Especially not Belinda. I was nothing like her in elementary school, but I knew kids like her and I still don't understand them. How can you not like books? And how can you be so confident? Where is all this confidence coming from, little girl? Belinda is a tornado and she's Nona's cousin. Nona came from India to live with her aunt and uncle and cousins. She's lonely, she reads and cries and misses India and ...more
I felt that a book was needed to inspire my daughter on the wonders of playing with a doll's house. Now would be the perfect time for 'Miss Happiness and Miss Flower', I thought, Rumer Godden's children's book published in 1961; one of the most magical books there is on the subject of dolls and their houses.
The plot: a girl from India comes to a strange land to live with her aunt and cousins. Nona Fell is lonely in this chilly English village, and feels out of place.
But just then, she is given
I read this book together with my 6 year old daughter, and we both loved it.

It tells the story of a 8 year old Nona who moves from India to live with cousins in London. She is sad and homesick, and having difficulty adjusting to her new life.

A Great Aunt who lives in San Francisco sends Japanese dolls to Nona and her cousins. This inspires Nona to start a quest. She researches all about Japanese homes, gardens, and culture, and starts to plan a Japanese doll house. Her 11 year old cousin Tom hel
One of my very favorite all time childrens books. I think I read it a million times. I forgot the title for many years, and tried to find it again and again telling people the gist of the story... 'its about two dolls from japan that get their very own house...' and suffered many blank stares until I finally found it again in the late 90s by accident. It is (to me) such a sweet book.
Sweet little book. Quiet, not much happens. A little girl who feels all alone in a new place is captivated by two little Japanese dolls. For some reason I was not very comfortable with the way the author broke the fourth wall. I felt talked down to. This doesn't always bother me, but it did in this book. Was it just my mood?
This is Rumer Godden at her best. The story is like beautiful music--cute, lyrical, and deeply moving. If you like Britain, or Japan, you'll like it. But if you love books about real people and real kids and real emotions, you'll love it.
Plus, it's got a lot of interesting detail about building a Japanese doll house.
This book was so lighthearted and beautiful! Belinda annoys the ever-living daylights out of me, but the story was so full of hope and goodness that by the end she can't help but catch it. I don't really think, though, that all of her emotional issues stemmed from jealousy of Nona and the dolls; most of it just seems like Belinda is a real piece of work, made even more volatile by Nona's arrival.

What I appreciated was that Miss Happiness and Miss Flower didn't become objectified Japanese signifi
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are Japanese dolls. For Christmas they are sent to England as a present to Nona and Belinda, but Belinda doesn't want her doll. Nona takes both and begins to make plans for a house for the dolls.

This is a cute book and nice story. Although short, there is a lot of detail to this little book, especially when it comes to the house that was built for the dolls. At the end, there is directions to how it was built.
I think it is a story of finding somewhere to belong, ev
Faith Hough
We read this as part of our introduction to Japanese culture. Ended up finishing it in two sittings because we all enjoyed it so much. Rumer Godden is just...yeah. No words. :)
Una Rose
One of my favorite books as a child. I bought a copy for my daughter and re read it myself. It still inspires and touches me. What a lovely story.
Reading with Cats
This was a sweet story, but Nona cries All. The. Time. in the first half of the book. It gets a little tiresome.

3.5 stars
The utterly charming story of two Japanese dolls and the little girl who creates a proper dollhouse for them.
This book was my first comfort read. I have constantly re-read this since I was little. I highly recommend it for 6-9 year olds.
This book is like baby's first orientalist novel.
When two Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, arrive in England, lonely Nona musters her wits to create a suitable home for them. As in The Kitchen Madonna, Godden draws us into Nona's research, so that we learn about the traditional Japanese lifestyle and get excited as Nona's work starts to pay off. Godden always adds a twist, though, and this one comes in the form a jealous cousin.
Found this lovely copy at the Strand on the 4th of July.
A really cute children's story about a young girl forced to move from her father's tea plantation in India to cold, cheerless England. It reminded me slightly of the intro for The Secret Garden, but the characters are different. It's about her quest to get a home for the two Japanese dolls that have just arrived from San Francisco. A fun read for kids.
Andrea Hickman Walker
I loved this book when I was a child. I wanted to be Miss Happiness and Miss Flower ((view spoiler)). This is a simple, heart-warming story about being a child who doesn't fit in, who finds something to connect with and who manages to connect with all the people around her as a result.
Sirpa Grierson
This was possibly my favorite book as an 8-year-old girl who had just made one more move to a new home and environment. I related to Nona as I began my lifelong love affair with Japanese culture. Rumor Godden's tender story and delightfully written pages filled many a lonely night.
A darling book for that hard to find reading level of 3rd grade chapter books. It reminds me of an old classic. A sad little girl loses herself in making her dolls feel at home. By service,she finds happiness herself. Great lesson as well without shoving it in your face.
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She was born in Sussex, England, but grew up in India, in Narayanganj. Many of her 60 books are set in India. Black Narcissus was made into a famous movie with Deborah Kerr in 1947.

Godden wrote novels, poetry, plays, biographies, and books for children.

For more information, see the official website: Rumer Godden
More about Rumer Godden...

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