Gracie is the purple-eyed, one-armed, spiky-haired doll who has won the snuggly arms and heart of Tasha. Only Emily- Nicole, the prettiest porcelain doll in Tasha’s collection, will have none of it. What Tasha doesn’t know is that when the lights go out, the doll wars begin… Pretty Dolls is a Children’s Picture Book Finalist in the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest.
An award-winning author and teacher, Kimberly Dana enjoys teaching writing to middle school students who give her much inspiration and insight into the world of tweendom. She is published by the National Council of Teachers of English and the recipient of several writing honors from Writers Digest and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. Other affiliations include the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition, where she serves as a judge for the annual eBook competition. Kimberly’s most recent books include her YA thriller, Cheerage Fearage, Lucy and CeCee's How to Survive (and Thrive) in Middle School, and the delightful picture book, Pretty Dolls - awarded Best Children's Book of the Year byReader Views.
Pretty Dolls by Kimberly Dana, a finalist in the Children’s Picture Book category at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest, is a delightful story about overcoming jealousy and the love a girl can share with her special doll, no matter what she looks like. Little Tasha has several dolls, but her favorites are Emily-Nicole and Gracie.
Emily-Nicole is the most beautiful of all, with porcelain skin, silky red hair and turquoise-blue eyes. She spends most of her days perched on the top bookshelf case with the other beautiful dolls. Unlike Emily-Nicole, Gracie has tufts of brown hair (from when Tasha played hairdresser), purple eyes (from when she played artist), and a missing arm. She’s not at all beautiful like Emily-Nicole. But Tasha loves her because she’s the snuggliest of all and that’s why she always carries her around.
Unbeknown to Tasha, once she’s deeply sound asleep in the quiet of the night, Emily-Nicole, jealous of Tasha and Gracie’s closeness, starts making fun of Gracie and calling her cruel names. The other pretty dolls giggle and together they mock:
"Pretty eyes and pretty hair. We’re the best dolls anywhere. If you were a pretty doll, you’d be up here standing tall."
Night after night the banter continues. As Emily-Nicole becomes more and more jealous, she turns increasingly cruel. Her heart becomes just as cold and porcelain-like as her beautiful face. Deep inside, though, she suffers. She would like to be the one to snuggle up with Tasha instead of standing on the shelf all day and night. She just can’t understand why Tasha prefers Gracie when Gracie is so ugly compared to her.
One day, Tasha’s dog Victor charges into the room and rocks the bookshelf back and forth, making Emily-Nicole stumble and fall. He snatches her into his mouth and shakes her, then heaves her into the air and she lands on Tasha’s bed... right next to Gracie. Will the other dolls help Emily-Nicole or will Gracie?
Pretty Dolls is an adorable picture book for little girls ages 3 to 8. It is a story about kindness and discovering new friendships. The book offers a valuable and lovely message about what it means to be truly beautiful and about accepting others, even if they look a little different than us. The language is simple and engaging, appropriate for this age group. The illustrations are charming, a splash of color on the pages with a lot of pinks and purples. There’s an accompanying audio book included with Pretty Dolls, which can be downloaded for free from the publisher’s website at www.tatepublishing.com and burned onto a CD or saved to a portable device such as an iPod. Recommended.
Kimberly Dana’s children’s book, Pretty Dolls, is a beautifully illustrated story about a young girl, Tasha, and her four dolls. It’s a very girlie book and I’m sure young girls would enjoy the pretty pictures and the heartwarming story.
The illustrations help to tell the story along with the words, so this would be a great book to read to a young child who cannot read on their own, as they can then look at the book afterwards and watch the story unfold as they look at the pictures. It would also make a nice gift for an older child.
Pretty Dolls tells the story of a little girl, Tasha, who owns four dolls. Three of the dolls are beautiful and displayed on a bookcase in Tasha’s room. The doll Tasha plays with, Gracie, has lost an arm, her hair has been cut by Tasha, and Tasha has coloured in her eyes with a felt-tip pen. Regardless, Tasha loves her little doll and snuggles up with her in bed each night. The beautiful dolls become jealous of the attention Tasha gives to the less than perfect doll. This jealousy means that they taunt and make fun of Gracie each night when Tasha is asleep. The doll who is most bitter about Gracie’s relationship with Tasha is the most beautiful one, Emily-Nicole. She cannot understand why Tasha doesn’t pay more attention to her as everyone says she is the most beautiful. One day, Tasha’s dog enters the bedroom and knocks, Emily-Nicole, off the shelf and onto the bed. Gracie and Emily-Nicole are thrown together by this event and Gracie shows her kindness, making Emily-Nicole realise that beauty is more than skin deep. The two dolls then become firm friends.
It’s a cute story with a nice message.
This is an interactive book. An audio book download is included when the book is purchased as each copy of the book has a code that can be used to download an audio version that can be burned onto an audio CD or listened to through computer speakers or an audio device such as an iPod. This is a nice idea, as then children would be able to listen to the story being read as they flick through the pages.
Pretty Dolls was a Children’s Picture Book Finalist in the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. Kimberly Dana, the author, is a national award-winning English teacher and writer of young adult and children’s books.
Reviewed by Maria Savva as a Reviewer for Bookpleasures.
I bought Pretty Dolls for my grandchildren but I'm keeping at my house because I like it myself. LOL. I can always read it to them when they come to over for a visit or take it with me when I visit them. Also, as they get older I'm sure they'll want to read it themselves. They already love it, especially the beautiful colourful illustrations and the audio tape that comes as a free download with the book.
This is a lovely story and a great way to show children right from wrong through the action of the dolls. It also shows children that looks and clothes don't make a person better than others and you shouldn't bully other children. I also write children's books and add bullies to all my stories, and how to deal with them of course.
When I was very young, I had a doll just like Gracie. Her name was Dumpling. She was made out of soft material and got quite grubby sometimes. I remember crying as a toddler when my mother threw her into the washing machine. I was sure she would drown. My sisters used to tease me about Dumpling because she was so raggy. But Dumpling slept with me every night, just like Grace slept with Tasha. Then one day my mother threw poor Dumpling in the garbage bin, saying it was full of germs and to torn to fix. I was most upset because I believed all my dolls to be real. Though my mum bought me another doll, it wasn't the same, so I made myself a new doll out of rags. I stuffed her with old comics and gave her yellow wool for hair. I named her Jenny and she slept in my bed right until the day I got married at the age of seventeen. But one day Jenny disappeared from our bed. I'm pretty sure my husband threw her in the garbage, but he never owned up to it. I soon solved that problem years later when I made a dozen more Jennies and placed them all through the house. He never dared touch these ones.
Anyway, this book brought back all the wonderful memories of my doll, Dumpling, and I'm sure every little girl has a favourite doll like Gracie. She sure looks like a cute doll too and I bet every little girl or boy who reads this book will want a doll just like her.
I highly recommend this book for children, (young and old), parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians.
Tasha is a sweet little girl with quite the doll collection. She has 2 very favorite dolls, Emily-Nicole and Gracie. Emily-Nicole is beautiful and rests in a place of honor upon the bookshelf. Gracie is well worn, missing an arm and sporting a haircut from Tasha. Not exactly what you would call pretty. Gracie however has a place of honor, nestled next to Tasha at night, and resting on her bed by day.
Once Tasha is resting peacefully the dolls come to life, and boy do those 'pretty' girls have a jealousy against Gracie. Emily-Nicole spouts out mean words to Gracie, taunting her about her hair and how she looks, prideful of her own beauty. Gracie sad from the taunting, but knows she is loved dearly by Tasha.
One day Victor the dog comes into Tasha's room while she is at school and knocks into the shelf where Emily-Nicole sits, knocking her to the ground. Not so high and mighty now!
True beauty is in the heart, not the outward prettiness and Kimberly Dana shows this wonderfully to young girls in Pretty Dolls. Being the prettiest or best dressed doesn't gain you more love than being ordinary and simple, it is what is in the character that matters most. The illustrations are just darling and little girls will love the theme of dolls. It is eye pleasing read, but also contains a fantastic message for young girls fighting their way in a overly glamorized society. Teach them while they are young with this great book Pretty Dolls!
What drew me to this book to begin with is the cover. The illustrations are beautiful throughout the book, and are a huge attention grabber!
This is the story of a doll named Gracie, loved by her little girl, but hated by the other dolls for being the favorite. It reminded me of how my own daughter has two kinds of toys…the scratched up ones that get dragged everywhere, and the “beautiful” ones that sit on a shelf and look pretty. Forgive the analogy, but as I was reading, all I could think of was this story was like “Toy Story” meets the “Mean Girls”.
I have a small issue with the wording on the back cover. The description suggests that “when the lights go out, the doll wars begin.” I found this to be misleading, since the “war” is totally one-sided and Gracie never fights back… more of a case of bullying than “war”.
I haven’t tried the audio download yet, but I’m sure my daughter will want to once I read it to her. A nice addition!
Frankly, I was torn between a 3 and a 4 rating here. A nice story with a good message!
Fun to read, with pictures that fit the story really well, this is a wonderful book about being accepted and making friends. There is a lesson in it for everyone, and kids will pick up and understand it easily.
If you're looking for a book to teach very young ids about accepting and liking those that are different form themselves, this is a goo one to pick.