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House of Dolls

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3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  81 reviews
In a little house from another time, with lace curtains in every window and paintings hung in gold doily frames, Wildflower, Rockstar, and Miss Selene live a warm and cozy life. They wear fancy dresses, bake play-dough cakes, and spend their days enjoying one another's company.

For the three dolls, life is small but good.

But life is not good for Madison Blackberry, the owne
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Hardcover, 61 pages
Published June 1st 2010 by HarperCollins (first published July 14th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 930)
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Kathryn
"[Block and McClintock have] made a book that is more than pretty and sweet, though it's both of these things. HOUSE OF DOLLS is tragic and hopeful and strange and lovely." So says Emily Jenkins (author of Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic) and I couldn't agree more.

This is the story of three dolls, beautiful and beloved Wildflower; thoughtful and mockingly named Rockstar; and Miss Selene, the fairy who is missing s
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Ellyn
Ugh. The illustrations were nice, but the book lacks an audience. Teens, even fans of Block, are likely to pass over it because it looks too childish and young girls are unlikely to stick with the flowery descriptions because of the paper-thin plot. Probably best for adult fans of Block? Not sure where to put this in my library.
Jocelyn Koehler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nicole Field
Oh my god, did Francesca Lia Block really put that much into 61 pages??!

House of Dolls may look like a story for children. Certainly, it is the length of a children's book, with illustrations and a cast of dolls to match. Most of the story, in fact, is told from the points of view of two dolls, a fairy doll, a teddy bear and, perhaps, a G. I. Joe kind of doll? Together, they live in a dollhouse owned by one very lonely girl. The only thing that makes her feel more lonely than she already feels i
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Julie Decker
House of Dolls is a short fairy-tale-esque depiction of some dollhouse dolls' lives, and how their lives are affected by the whims and life events of the little girl who owns them. In the usual Block fashion, the decorations and fashions of the dolls are described lavishly, and the various dolls being quite a mismatched set yet quite a happy family is also typical for the author. The dolls have been occupants of the dollhouse through three generations, and all of them have different personalitie ...more
Valerie
We have this book in the children's department of the library. It is a good story, but I can't think of any children that would enjoy this book. It was a very quick read (30 minutes). Some parts of it would be difficult for children to understand the actual meaning. It might be a good one for parents to read with children to explain what is really going on.
Sarah
I love Block's style. This book had meaning, which was well-executed compared to her other book, The Waters and the Wild, which I read earlier this year. I'm very glad to have sat down and read it cover to cover, it took no time at all! The story was a bit too... youthful for my taste. Otherwise, I would have given it a higher score.
Tara
I can't figure out the ideal audience for this one. The vocabulary is laborious and yet the book is small. Eventhough the pages are tiny, the text block inside the book is even tinier. The subject matter is dolls, but the lexile level is at least middle school, if not higher.
Margaryta
House of Dolls Another gentle, whimsical, and touching book by an author I love (and respect) very much. The story is simple, but unlike what other reviewers have said I must disagree in that this book WILL find an audience. It will resonate with teenage girls but also with younger girls who may be in the same kind of situation as Madison Blackberry (which is an awesome name, by the way).

Block's familiar style shines through, from the characters to the descriptions to the sheer whimsical-ness of
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Heather
Not nearly as great as the 'starred booklist review'.

The book tells the story of a dollhouse, and the dolls that live inside. On the plus side, at 60 pages, I read the whole thing in about a half-hour. I did enjoy Barbara McClintock's illustrations.
Betsy
One Sentence Review: Though I can see how the sheer strangeness of the title might put people off, after more than a year this book remains crisp and clear in my mind, just as it will for the kids who chose to read it.
Michelle
(3.5 stars) This short little book falls between genres and age ranges. I think adults with a sense of whimsy and wistfulness will like it, but for the most part, it could be read with someone younger. The story is about a dollhouse now passed down to the granddaughter, Madison. While the three dolls live a good life with their two male companions, one a teddy bear, one an action figure, there is something missing for one of the dolls. Madison’s life is lonely, with her parents involved in other ...more
Emmeline Guest
“There were dresses that made the dolls feel like ice-cream sundaes, flowers, seashells, cocoons, butterflies, angels, goddesses, rock stars, heavenly stars, and moon.”

Oh, how I adore this book ...

House of dolls is small (just a few inches in either direction) book beautifully black and white) with a vibrant colored cover of a dolls dressed in elaborate gowns and head plumes, a fairy with thin slivery wings, and flowers twining from back to front -- just holding it in your hands feels magical.

A
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Kris
Francesca Lia Block is one of my favorite writers. She brings her magical realism storytelling to a younger audience with House of Dolls. Three dolls, Wildflower, Rockstar and Miss Selene, live a beautiful doll house. They have beautiful clothes and lives their serene lives with two male toys, a G.I. Joe type doll named Guy and a teddy bear named B. Friend. Madison Blackberry is the owner of the doll house. But she has no love for the dolls. This house belonged to her grandmother and both her gr ...more
Brittany
There were three doll who all lived in a beautiful house. They were once treated grandly with new gowns and love from Madison Blackberry's grandmother. Madison does not really like the dolls having all the fun though, so she breaks them up in hopes that it will make her feel better.

This is a hard book to set and age range for. The brevity and illustrations lend an air of juvenile fiction to it, but the subject matter is complex and subtle which makes me want to stick it in with older kids. On th
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Greta is Erikasbuddy
Remember back when you were a little girl? Remember that doll house you had that was your mother's? ANd before that was your grandmother's?

Or perhaps you remember a special doll that you weren't allowed to touch but you longed to. REmember it sat in your mother's room on the high shelf... just out of reach of little fingers. SHe told you that was your great-grandmother's doll and was not meant to be played with. But it looked as though it had been played with. It looked as though it had been pla
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Megan D. Neal
Madison Blackberry's dolls live the high life in a sumptuous dollhouse, with handmade clothes and furnishings, provided lovingly by Madison's grandmother. The problem is, Madison is being ignored by the adults in her life, and she's taking her resentment out on the dolls.

A good story that is both tragic and hopeful, about the importance of time spent with your children. The issue of the grandmother showing her love for her granddaughter by providing her with these lavish "things" for her dolls,
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Swankivy
This short fairy-tale-esque book introduces us to a family of mismatched dolls and illustrates how their lives are affected and reflected by the little girl who owns them. Living in a dollhouse that has been in the Blackberry family for three generations, the dolls have a close relationship even though they are very different from each other. The story isn't exactly clear on the "reality" of the dolls, but their owner, Madison, does various things to them mostly to express how she's feeling, and ...more
Danine
One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite children's book illustrators are together in one gem of a book. Small lessons of humanity learned by dolls.
There's a lot of long-winded reviews about how this book is not Block's typical writing finery. I will say that this book is simplistic and minimalist to explain not so simplistic emotions of anger and jealousy especially within a neglected child.
Give Block some credit for venturing out of Weetzie Bat to make this lovely story.
Dawn
Three dolls named Wildflower, Rockstar and Miss Selene live in an ornate Victorian dollhouse in Madison Blackberry’s luxury penthouse apartment. They go about their doll house business and are quite happy. They have plenty of clothes, beautiful dishes and two boyfriends for company; however, there is a sadness about Miss Selene. The dollhouse used to belong to Madison’s grandmother when she was a child. Madison Blackberry is jealous of the dolls and her perception of their happiness, so she take ...more
Larissa
Jan 27, 2011 Larissa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Wildflower, Rockstar and Miss Selene live a quiet and isolated life away from all the sadness and pain of the real world, surrounded only by all that is beautiful and loving. That is until their world came into the hands of a little girl called Madison Blackberry.

Madison Blackberry is a lonely little girl who is bored with her life and jealous of everyone about her. Vulnerable and powerless in her own world she takes out her pain on the doll house and its occupants Wildflower, Rockstar and Miss
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Rebecca
Feb 24, 2011 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th grade and up
Francesca Lia Block and Barbara McClintock are a kind of dream team for this book. Extremely small in size, it brought to mind when WPL had a "mini book" collection for all those tiny Beatrix-Potter-like titles. This would be a great gift book for any girl who has imagined that her dolls have very real lives...enough to be jealous of them. McClintock's line drawings are fittingly frilly and intricate, but the prose is dark and real. Four small sections might be called chapters, but this is an il ...more
katie
This book delighted my getting-ever-closer-to-five-year-old. She picked it out herself at the library, and I was thrilled that she'd stumbled upon a FLBlock book I'd never seen before. She drew while I read to her, and she gasped at all the right moments and thought the book was beautiful.
Erica
This book was short and sweet. A tale of a little girl and her dolls. The story reminds us of the magic one believes lives in their toys as a child and also how helpless one feels too at such a young age. The story can be enjoyed by all ages and is beautifully illustrated.
Lisa Gricius
It's a beautiful thing when you can sit down with your almost twelve year-old daughter and read a picture book together. Author Francesca Lia Block, a favorite of mine since reading Weetzie Bat has created a tiny gem with a powerful and sophisticated message that a mature middle reader who has an understanding of metaphor and theme will understand and be moved by. This story made my daughter cry and as a parent, this story made me think hard regarding some of my parental decisions. I believe the ...more
Ann
Then one day, as things always do—even for dolls—everything changes.


I love this book. I love FLB. Her books are always so vividly written, and House of Dolls is no exception. Her descriptions of the dolls' lives and thoughts are exactly what I dreamed about my own dolls as a little girl. The illustrations are beautiful.

Why only 4 stars? As some other reviewers have said, I don't know if younger readers will get the messages. I need to ruminate on who to book talk this one to . . .it's such a pre
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Ann Boytim
Cute little book. A fast read - makes me want a doll house again and dolls to play with.
Rachael Quinn
Another dent in my books by Francesca Lia Block.

This one is aimed at younger girls and it was actually very cute. It still managed to play into some of FLB's themes. There is a doll that is a fairy. There is a doll who hides who she really is. There are males: A G.I. Joe named guy and a stuffed bear with glasses. Then there is the doll that came with the house and is a family heirloom. The dolls are happy in their house until the day their owner is bored and jealous and sends the boys away to wa
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Tricia
Oh quirky little book, you pose a quandry for libraries. As a J title, you are for elementary students...yet you are deep and dreamy--too much for many immature readers (even with illustrations). For teen readers, though...hmn, you may lack appeal--after all, partial setting is a dollhouse. As an adult reader, I liked you--but most adults won't be picking you up! Madison Blackberry is an unhappy and lonely child who envies the dollhouse and residents passed down from Madison's grandmother. Beaut ...more
Lisa
I was disappointed in this book. I thought it could have been so good. B. McClintock is one of my favorite illustrators, and the illustrations were great, but the story was not good. It was just such a sad little story with no depth to the characters at all. Who was this intended for? Because I really don't think kids would get this at all. Guy says that war is the absence of the distactions that makes life liveable. Oh ya, that's upbeat. Ya, this was a big disappointment, sauf the illustrations ...more
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Francesca Lia Block was born in Los Angeles to a poet and a painter, their creativity an obvious influence on her writing. Another influence was her childhood love of Greek mythology and fairy tales.
She has lived in the city all her life, and still resides there with her daughter, Jasmine Angelina (about whom she wrote her book Guarding the Moon), her son Samuel Alexander, and her two dogs: a spr
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More about Francesca Lia Block...
Weetzie Bat (Weetzie Bat, #1) Dangerous Angels (Weetzie Bat, #1-5) The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold I Was a Teenage Fairy Echo

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“War is being reminded that you are completely at the mercy of death at every moment, without the illusion that you are not. Without the distractions that make life worth living.” 15 likes
“Life was small but good. (15)” 4 likes
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