Rebecca's Reviews > The Friendship Doll

The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
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Jun 11, 2012

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bookshelves: family-story, children, historical
Read in June, 2012

In 1927, Japanese schoolchildren sent 58 magnificent dolls to the US as a sign of friendship. One of those dolls was Miss Kanagawa, who, over the years, touches the lives of many people, including a wealthy but lonely girl in 1927, a girl attending the Depression-era Chicago World's Fair, a backwoods Kentucky girl and the elderly grouch who hires her to read aloud in the 1930s, and a dispossessed Okie girl whose father is taking them to California. Miss Kanagawa teaches them about friendship, and also offers it.

Maybe I'm just not a doll person (particularly sentient dolls), but I didn't love this. I did like the historical background the author put into every story--a specialty of hers, and clearly she did a lot of research--and there was nothing wrong with the stories themselves, but the doll seemed rather tacked on and didactic. She seemed like a Victorian nanny; ready to correct other people's behavior, because of course her own is perfect and who better to correct the faults of others? I think the stories would have worked better without the doll, or if the doll had not been sentient. I think people are capable of learning their own lessons.
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