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The Dollmaker of Krakow

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  4,323 ratings  ·  989 reviews
In the land of dolls, there is magic.
In the land of humans, there is war.
Everywhere there is pain.
But together there is hope.

Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Delacorte Press
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Amelia G I think that the theme of the book would probably be friendship, as Karolina and the Dollmaker as well as others establish some very deep relationship…moreI think that the theme of the book would probably be friendship, as Karolina and the Dollmaker as well as others establish some very deep relationships as they go through some really hard times. Since the book is also about the Holocaust, though, it does talk about some harsher themes like war, prejudice, and other austere themes. (less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Kamila / Fishtalking
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  4,323 ratings  ·  989 reviews

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Nov 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The Holocaust is a difficult subject to write about, let alone when your target audience are children, but R. M. Romero managed to pull it off in this novel. The fantasy elements can be an enticing entry point into an important and emotionally challenging topic. However, don't let the fact that it's a children's book keep you from reading it. "The Dollmaker of Krakow" is a beautifully written, profound, and poignant story that will leave its imprint on a reader of any age.

First of all, let me a
Jessi ❤️ H. Vojsk [if villain, why hot?]
Actual rating 4.6⭐️

Story ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Karolina is a doll that lived in the land of dolls, before waking up in krakow in the shop of a dollmaker. It’s 1940 and the nazis march into Poland and from there on Jews are being treated differently.
It’s a great story for everyone above 8-10 years, that shows them what it was like under the nazi regime. With the little magic in it, it makes the story so much more appealing.

Characters ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
All of the characters are wonderful and I fell in love with them
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

Books are an affair of the heart, and this one hit the arrow straight into its target.

In two different worlds a war has broken out. One world is the Land of the Dolls, and the other being our world during WWII. Karolina is a doll, a seamstress in her kingdom, where dolls like her go after they have been abandoned by their human owners or are not wanted anymore.

“When their wood and cloth and porcelain could sustain their soul
R.M. Romero
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
I'm very happy to be able to share this book with all of you this fall! ...more
Whispering Stories
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book Reviewed by Nia on

This book is a strong contender for my favourite book of 2018, it’s going to take a lot to beat my enjoyment of this book!

If you do buy yourself a copy of this book (which you should), you should absolutely buy the hardback edition. Not only is the cover beautiful, the pages smell divine (if you’re into that kind of thing) and there are illustrated embellishments to the pages that you just don’t see these days that makes the book feel extra specia
destiny ♡ howling libraries
When I went into this story, I knew it would be sad, given the contents, but I never thought that it would be so beautiful, or so haunting. I never could have expected it to nestle itself so deeply in my heart. This story devastated me in the best way, and I will cherish it forever.

“Magic is an odd thing,” he said. “It never takes the form you expect.”

All Karolina wants is to save the land of dolls from the evil rat invaders, but when she comes to life in our world, she’s surprised to learn
Maria Espadinha
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Weird Kind of Blend

Holocaust and Magic -- what a strange combination!

And you know what?!
It really works!

That's up to you to find out! ;)

The author's purpose was writing a book with a message "Never Again" enough apealing to kids.
Kids are about to be leaders and rulers. Like it or not, sooner than later they’ll be the architects of human society. So... “Never Again” — makes sense, doesn't it?!
The Dollmaker of Krakow is a beautiful story that parallels a country called The Land of Dolls with 1940’s Kraków, Poland. Karolina was living in the world where dolls come to rest after their doll bodies perish here on Earth. In that world, she was a seamstress who would sew wishes into each article of clothing that she made for her doll customers. At the start of the story she is not in that world for very long before she awakens to find herself in the home of the Dollmaker.

I thoroughly enjoye
Nov 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF'd at chapter 14.

I enjoyed the first few chapters, but the more I continued to read the less interest I had in the story and the characters.

I picked up this book because I thought it would be interesting and something I would enjoy reading. But I couldn't get into it.

I did not like the writing style.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"No one is ever truely lost as long as their story still exists."

This is a true gem that just doesn't get enough attention. I'm truely grateful that this was recommended to me.
I don't really have the words to say how much I loved this book and how important it is that people read it. It's a story about a very cruel time that should not be forgotten. I advise that you carry tissues while reading - you will need them. Also: do NOT read this in public! Unless you don't mind bawling your eyes out
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction

*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion.

A fairytale in a bleak world, The Dollmaker of Krakow is a whimsical story set with a tragic background.

Following Karolina, a living doll lost in the world of war-torn Poland, this middle-grade/children’s novel seems to me the perfect way to set a book during the war without it being *too* hard-hitting. Don’t get me wrong, the dark, bleak world is very m
"You can destroy a person...but destroying their story is far more difficult. No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists." ...more
Oliwia Potocka
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I usually don't enjoy books with Polish touch written by not-Polish authors, because most often they are based on stereotypes and harmful presuppositions about Poles and Poland itself (see Bone Gap). But I like reading such books just to complain about them (yup, I’m one of those). I learned about “The Dollmaker of Kraków” from one of Regan’s (PeruseProject) videos and it caught my attention, because 1. the author is definitely not from Poland, and 2. it is set in Kraków, where I live atm and it ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
I really didn't know where to place this book - but not in a good way. I felt disconnected throughout the book, and will not be buying this for the library. The problem is that the author R.M. Romero seems not to know which audience she is actually writing the book for. One the one hand you have a dark story written about the second world war, set in Poland, which covers the treatment of the Jews by Hitler, ending up in the infamous camp of Auschwitz. This is dark and compelling, and would suit ...more
Holly (Holly Hearts Books)
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Don’t read this in public,
Mel (Epic Reading)
Anytime you pick up a book that is set during WWII you must be prepared for a sad or at the very least a bittersweet ending; even when it's a middle-grade book.

The Setting & Characters
The Dollmaker of Krakow is set in German occupied Poland. As a survivor of WWI whose missing a leg, the Dollmaker is a quiet, downtrodden older man. To me he felt like the kind of old man that you just want to hug and listen to all day long. I adore him.
As this is a middle grade (ages 9-11) book it conveys the ho

"This world was marching into the dark, and Karolina was being pulled along with it. And in the dark, she knew that she would know loss in whatever terrible form it took."


The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero is a story set during World War II in Krakow, Poland. When a lonely Dollmaker breathes life into a doll named Karolina, their lives are forever changed. The two form a fast friendship with a Jewish father and daughter, Jozef and Rena, and the happiness they share begins to eclipse th
Nell Beaudry
The Dollmaker of Krakow is a very, very special book. Set in Poland during World War II, it follows Karolina, a doll whose homeland has been invaded by evil rats. She is sent into the world of humans by a magic wind and finds herself in the home of a talented dollmaker, Cyryl, who is sad and lonely and has never really recovered from his experience during World War I. With her help, he becomes friends with a wonderful Jewish father, Jozef, and his little girl, Rena. As you can imagine, the book ...more
Kate Howe
Jan 29, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Now I need to have a good cry. This book was amazing and unexpected! It's set in Nazi occupied Krakow so the subject matter is harrowing but the balm of the magic in it carried me through. Such a beautiful story. ...more
Is it awful that I, a Jewish person, didn’t connect with this story? I liked it okay I guess? Don’t get me wrong, it was beautifully written and the each character had their own personality, but I just didn’t connect. I still liked the message it spread: it doesn’t matter if in the end you end up helping one person, it’s still one person more than no one.

Isa (Pages Full of Stars)
"The more people tell the story, the more alive it becomes."

The Dollmaker of Kraków by R.M. Romero is a poignant and meaningful tale about the horrors of WWII. I was really looking forward to reading this book and I absolutely loved it! It's an exquisite story, which I hope will be able to reach to many readers.

Karolina is a living doll, staying in the Land of the Dolls - a place where all toys are moved when their owners forget about them. Her country is under attack of evil rats and one d
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'd never heard of this book before I stumbled across it in the bookstore today and I'm so glad I picked it up. It combines folklore/fairytale in the style of The Nutcracker and Pinocchio with historical fiction about World War 2, and it does so without romanticizing that time period and without softening its horrors, which I think is an impressive feat. Very insightful and heartachingly beautiful! ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story about friendship in terrible times. A great read for early teens and all adults. The doll herself makes a great protagonist.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.”

This book was so beautiful! Definitely one of my favorites this year! I’m always interested in reading about the holocaust, but wow this one was special.

Karolina is a doll who lives in The Land of the Dolls, but one day her home is invaded by rats and she is forced to move on. A strange wind sends her to Krakow, Poland where she meets the Dollmaker who soon finds out he has a magical gift; he can bring toys to life.

Again, this wa
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I cried. A lot.
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After I finished reading "The Dollmaker of Krakow" all I wanted to do was sit in silence for a while. I didn't have words to express what the experience of reading this novel was like - I don't know when I last felt such a strong emotional reaction to a novel.

In an effort to describe this book succinctly, I would say that it is a historical novel with a fairy tale heart. And, rather than weakening either of these forms in the combination, the result strengthens the effect of both and creates som
Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard
So this is the third book in my life that has made me cry. It's heartbreaking and despite being a middle grade book, does absolute justice on the topic of the WWII invasion of Poland and Auschwitz. This book went there! YA books don't even tend to go there. it's not a fairytale ending. It beautifully balances being horrifying (to scare a middle grade audience) while also emphasizing the true acts that took place in this time and place.

The magic element made it bareable to read and really emphasi
Love, Celina
Mar 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fav-audiobooks
Giiiiiirl i just wanted to listen to my audiobook while baking a bday cake for my sister and now im ugly crying in the kitchen Happy birthday here have a cake of my tEaRs
Ri (colourmeread)
Books that evoke strong emotions are among my favourites and The Dollmaker of Krakow certainly fits the bill. The book alternates between Poland in the 1940s and the Land of the Dolls where a similar yet different war is taking place.

Romero writes a beautiful tale of friendship between a doll and the dollmaker, as well as the relationship they have with Jozef and Rena, a father and daughter whose lives change drastically after Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland.

The book starts off slowly and may
Ketiana Osias
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So glad I did not read this in public. Could not stop crying towards the ending and this was honestly the best MG novel that I've ever read. ...more
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R. M. Romero is a Jewish Latina and author of fairy tales for children and adults. She lives in Miami Beach with her cat Henry VIII and spends her summers helping to maintain Jewish cemeteries in Poland.

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“No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.” 30 likes
“You can destroy a person, Karolina, but destroying their story is far more difficult. No one is ever really lost as long as their story still exists.” 17 likes
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