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The Dolls' House

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  1,169 ratings  ·  70 reviews
Tottie is a loving little wooden doll who lives with her family in a shoebox. The doll family are owned by two sisters, Emily and Charlotte, and are very happy, except for one thing: they long for a proper home. To their delight, their wish comes true when Emily and Charlotte fix up a Victorian dolls' house - just for them. It's perfect. But then a new arrival starts to wr ...more
Paperback, 153 pages
Published November 3rd 2006 by Macmillan (first published 1947)
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I have a thing for living dolls. I guess it's the combination of allegory and childlike whimsy that appeals to me.

This story perfectly captures the joy of dollhouses as well as the essence of childhood. I remember how my dolls had personalities that I hadn't consciously created. I just sort of sensed them. Godden taps into that sense in the most delightful way! --But it's not all whimsy and roses. There's a touch of melancholy to the narrative as well. There's so much to this little book! It wor
Melissa McShane
I was never the sort of child who played with dolls, other than dressing up my Barbies for covert intelligence missions. But I was obsessed with dollhouses. We used to get the J.C. Penney catalog every year, and every year I would look at the different houses and all the tiny furniture and accessories and imagine owning them. I never did get one, but then I think the fantasy was better than the reality.

Which is why The Doll's House has always been a comforting favorite of mine. My favorite part
Alex Tierney
Mar 02, 2012 Alex Tierney added it
Shelves: eced-221
The Dolls' House is about a group of dolls who all come together and are owned by two little girls, Emily and Charlotte. The main doll, Tottie, was the girls' Great-Great Aunt's and had been passed down to them. The other dolls that they have were all ones that were given to them. The dolls all want a doll house to live in, so when Emily and Charlotte recieve the house from their Great-Great Aunt, the dolls are happy. The girls' want to fix up the house, but don't have enough money to get what t ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Kathryn added it
Shelves: stalled
I read the first few chapters and was rather captivated. Yet, at the same time, I felt melancholy the enitre time and decided to stop reading. At first, I thought it was just nostalgia for my childhood, but then I realized what it was... The dolls are not happy being with girls who love them, in the shoeboxes the girls provide as homes because they cannot afford a real doll's house. The dolls long for a real doll's house. Now, perhaps something changes as the story progressed (and I heard the en ...more
I have to add that I have NOT read this but my little sister used to read out loud and I heard most of it.

It kept her amused for ages which meant she left me alone.

Useless fact (I'm 30 minutes older than her)
She liked to think sometimes of the tree of whose wood she was made, of its strength and the sap that ran through it and made it bud and put out leaves every spring and summer, that kept it standing through the winter storms and winds. "A little, a very little, of that tree is in me," said Tottie. "I am a little of that tree."

I used to love this book when I was younger, and yet every time it came into my head (as it tends to do - it sticks with you) I was seized by an inexplicable dread. I remem
Eleanor Toland
The Doll's House might seem at first glance to be sugary and twee: the main characters are dolls and the children who play with them. The plot is straightforward, involving the dolls' quest to live in a house house instead of a draughty shoebox. A potential reader might be forgiven for thinking the story will be as slight as something made up by, well... two five-year-olds playing with dolls.

But Rumer Godden's story is never sentimental. The Doll's House is heart-wrenching and often surprisingly
Candy Wood
(Note: I read the Young Puffin edition first published 1971, reprinted 1982, no ISBN.) Writing for children, in the kind of narrative voice that speaks directly to child readers, Rumer Godden treats some of the same themes as in her novels for adults. The wooden farthing doll links Emily and Charlotte in 1940s London to their great-grandmother and great-great aunt in the 1840s, as the house in A Fugue in Time links generations. So does the dolls' house, which reflects some of the precariousness ...more
Lisa Rathbun
One of my favorites from childhood. The theme that beautiful doesn't always equal good or kind is an important one to learn, and the lesson of self-sacrifice took my breath away when I first read the ending as a child. I couldn't believe what had happened! Part of me felt loss and wished that the author hadn't let that happen; the other part of me realized that it made sense and was actually beautiful though sad.
Interesting little book written mostly from the perspective of a mixed-matched family of dolls. I found myself a little nervous when I started to read it; probably stemming from an irrational fear of dolls I had when I was little. ;) So funny how those things hang on. There was suspense, sadness, joy, and a few little lessons thrown in. Enjoyable book, perfect for girls ages 8 and up.
A lovely little book that reminded me a lot of my childhood.
Laura Morrigan
I have decided to do a series of posts on books I enjoyed as a child, timeless classics I enjoyed time and time again. I want to share these with others so that hopefully they can find the magic that I did in these stories.

When I was young, a book I kept coming back to was The Dolls' House, by Rumer Godden. I think my dad originally read it to me, but I remember reading it to myself time and time again. It is a wonderful book, because there are many books where children's toys come alive, but no
This is the kind of book I loved as a child -- the inner lives of toys -- and at nearly fifty, my tastes haven't changed. A delightful story of a doll family, told in shifting third-person-limited points of view: the dolls' and their owners'. There is surprising and subtle wisdom here, too, and perfect illustrations by Tasha Tudor. Very glad I finally got around to this.
this iis the single best book i have ever read. why, else, would i not forget about it after ...probably 8 years? i've only been thinking about this book. especially lately. the author does a fantastic job making you feel like you're really IN the dolls' house! i can't find this book at my local library, but i'm 100% willing to buy it on amazon. i love this book and––even though it's nearly eleven on a saturday night––i had to let people know about this amazing story. in third grade i learned th ...more
This book is so quirky and magical and I love it. Have read it a few times with different kids. John read it aloud to us, too, and Jessie turned it into an interpretive presentation.


"Mrs. Plantagenet was not quite right in the head. There was something in her head that rattled; Charlotte thought it might be beads, and it was true that the something made a gay sound like bright beads touching together. She was altogether gay and light, being made of cheap celluloid, but, all the same, n
Amira Thoron
My grandmother first read this to me when I was eight or nine. It is one of my favorite books, one I re-read every couple of years. Always a joy to come home to.
In her first-rate doll stories, Godden manages do something few others can: she writes from a child's heart and imagination.
Apr 30, 2008 Rita rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: loved, kids
I read this in 6th grade about a million times. I read every Rumer Godden book I could get ahold of back then. I understand Demi Moore named one of her daughters Rumer after this author, so my worship of her was not isolated. Then I read this book to my kids last year and they loved it (yes, even the boy got a kick out of it, although for obvious reasons he had to pretend he was doing something else in the room, he couldn't just sit and listen to his mother read a book called "The Dolls House" o ...more
Jane Asher
Read this in elementary school, then re-read as an adult, still liked it.

Nov 16, 2010 Spencer added it
Shelves: junior-q1
This was a very interesting novel showing the relationship between husband and wife in the early 1900's. Through out the story we see that the two main characters, Torvald and Nora have more of a father daughter-relationship rather than a husband-wife relationship. The wife attempts to show her dominance over the husband but time after time is shutdown because of the actions of society during this time. I did not love this book because it was very hard to follow, although I did like how they wer ...more
Hannah Victoria Katherine
Sweet little Children's story told from the dolls' point of view.
Beautiful book with lovely writing. Couldn't put it down.
This is one of my favorite books, even going back and re-reading it, it's such a touching story, and at the same time so silly in its very existence. I can't help but fall in love with the characters... it's very simple feeling and a very simple plot line... but very elegant in its simplicity. So silly and yet so sweet... it always makes me tear up a little, just at the pure joy in life that these dolls have. It's the feelings and lives that I always thought my own dolls had behind my back when ...more
Mr. Plantaganet doesn't like Margipan but I think he is right. I agree with him. Emily thinks she is lovely. But Charlotte doesn't think she is quite as lovely. Birdie is a good character. She is chosen as Mrs. Plantaganet. Mr. and Mrs. Plantaganet are Tottie's parents. But Mrs. Plantaganet has another name: Birdie. Apple is a little plush doll. He is very cute. Sometimes he sings for Margipan which in my opinion is not the best idea. Well just open up the Doll House and you'll have a really fun ...more
As usual : sorry for my scholar English. Read this book in French as a child. One of my favorite books I borrowed in the public library so many times. Bought it last year to my little girls. I can't explain how I was fascinated by the doll's house, how it was fixed, how the furniture were...I hope my daughters will love it too. As I know, it isn't very popular in France and can't be find new. It's a shame. I bought a old examplar of the marvellous collection : la bibliothèque internationale by F ...more
Adele Griffin
Ultimate Doll House book for middle grade. What I am struck by in my grown-up reading is how unsentimental it is-- not for wimpy kids, this book is harsh-- and how spare and economical the language. Kid's books from the mid-20th century could be very syrupy; this is not one. I was not in love with the illus. as a means of transporting me back to the story, though they are very pretty, I could not quite connect with them.
What a beautiful story! This novel was written for children and is full of sophisticated thinking and observation. Godden places sharp detail without over-talking the plot. A keeper.
11 September 2010: I just re-read this book; first time reading it as an adult. What a lovely, bittersweet story. Rumer Godden was definitely a kindred spirit. This book makes me want to bring my dolls out of storage and hug them all. When I get a bigger home someday, I hope to have a room where I can display all my dolls…
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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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“It is an anxious, sometimes a dangerous thing to be a doll. Dolls cannot choose; they can only be chosen; they cannot 'do'; they can only be done by.” 33 likes
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