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The Dolls' House

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  1,087 ratings  ·  64 reviews
For Tottie Plantaganet, a little wooden doll, belonging to Emily and Charlotte Dane is wonderful. The only thing missing is a dollhouse that Tottie and her family could call their very own. But when the dollhouse finally does arrive, Tottie's problems really begin. That dreadful doll Marchpane comes to live with them, disrupting the harmony of the Plantaganet family with h ...more
Hardcover, 125 pages
Published 1948 by Viking (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
Alex Tierney
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
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
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.
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.
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.

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.
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…
This is the story of Tottie who lives with her family in a shoebox. Even dolls have dreams and this family's dreams come true when they inherit an old Victorian doll house. Unfortunately, Marchpane moves in too and this is a doll who is used to getting her own way. There is only one word for this children's book...enchanting.
I really wanted to finish reading this to my girls, but they lost interest pretty quickly. I think it was because of the amount of unfamiliar words. It was difficult for them to follow along and while I could make a lot of inferences, I too got lost in the vocabulary. Maybe we'll give it another try in a few years.
This is arguably the greatest children's story most people have never even heard of, let alone read!

Filled with a beautiful story and metaphor, imagery and values. If you're lucky enough to come across it, GET GET GET A COPY!!! You and your children will be so happy you did so!!
The activities, sorrows, and joys of a family of dolls living in an old doll house are related from the dolls’ point of view.

It’s rather dated, but charming. Read this if: you ever played with a dollhouse – or wanted to (and who didn’t?) 3 stars
Jasmine Anne Victoria Bamber
May 13, 2012 Jasmine Anne Victoria Bamber rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jasmine Anne Victoria by: People who are young at heart
I loved this book. It is a lovly story about a family of dolls of dolls who want a dolls house despertly but when they get one, they get a mean doll who ruins everythings. Thuis book is one of the books which convinced me reading was good.
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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...
The Story of Holly and Ivy In This House of Brede The Greengage Summer Miss Happiness and Miss Flower An Episode of Sparrows

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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.” 31 likes
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