Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dahlia” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


4.08  ·  Rating details ·  212 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Looks can be deceiving!

When Charlotte gets a delicate doll from her aunt Edme, she is not too happy. She tells the doll that she and Bruno, her bear, "like digging in dirt and climbing trees. No tea parties, no being pushed around in frilly prams. You'll just have to get used to the way we do things." Much to Charlotte and Bruno's surprise, Dahlia seems to like getting dir
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dahlia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dahlia

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Kathryn by: Chandra
I love this book! And tomorrow I would love to wake up and spend the day with Charlotte and Bruno and Dahlia. What a sweet story, and the pictures are very pretty. I really appreciate Charlotte's character; she loves nature and playing outdoors, climbing trees and fishing... but she also knows how to take care of her dolls. I was much the same as a girl. I can't say enough about this darling story except READ IT and fall in love yourself.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ann by: Katie
A very sweet story about a young girl who gets a delicate doll from her aunt. At first the girl doesn't want the doll (she's a bit of a tom boy) but after a while the doll is able to join in on the girl's adventures and becomes a happier doll for it. It's a very sweet story and the illustrations are lovely. A great book for remembering that we each make our toys into something unique, and that the fun and imagination is in what the child brings to the toy, not the other way around.
Sarah N
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Utterly delightful with several clever twists!
Mar 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is one of my all time, favorite-ever picture books. I adore Barbara McClintock. Her illustrations exude a detailed elegance that bring to mind Victorian parlors, frilled cuffs, and high tea. But in this book she pairs that elegance with the fresh, rough air of the outdoors. These two opposing forces combine in her head-strong protagonist, Charlotte.

The premise of the story is this: Charlotte is a born naturalist. A two page spread of her bedroom reveals collections of abaondoned birds nest
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2011, childrens
This is a wonderful story about a fun-loving little girl named Charlotte (who loves to climb trees and is not afraid of getting dirty) who is given a fancy doll and proceeds to love her and play with her. The eventual meeting with the aunt who gave the doll to Charlotte offers a very pleasant surprise.

I loved that it depicts the little girl as being adventurous and free-spirited, but also loving and nurturing. I like that she can be rough and tumble and keep up with the boys and still knows how
Lisa Vegan
Oct 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: girls who like dolls, girls who don’t like dolls, everyone who like dolls in books
Recommended to Lisa by: Chandra
Oh, I’m so glad I’ve found Barbara McClintock. This is another winner from her.

Unlike Charlotte, the girl in the book, I did like dolls when I was a girl, but I liked dolls who make appearances in books even better.

This is a fabulous book where a doll becomes a central character.

The story is funny and sweet and engaging. Charlotte and Bruno and Dahlia, and Aunt Edme, are memorable characters. McClintock remembers exactly what it feels like for a child to play with stuffed animals, dolls, and toy
Megan M
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A truly magical little book about a young girl who loves to run around and play outside and the doll she is given by her aunt. Charlotte has never wanted a doll and doesn't want to be forced into tea parties and dress up games. She'd much rather play outside, race with the boys and make mud cakes. But quickly she finds that her doll is the perfect playmate. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed. Though it is a fairly recent publication, it has a timelessness that makes it feel like an old ...more
Dec 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Great book about a tomboy girl that gets a china doll from an elderly aunt. The doll, by the end of the day of playing, doesn't look perfect anymore, but it does look loved.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved the imaginary play pictured and put in the story. Something kids could do more of, and perhaps this story would help spur their imaginations. Loved the twist at the end of the aunt happy about how the doll turned out.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Christina by: “Book Crush” by Nancy Pearl
Solid story about an outdoorsy girl who receives a pretty doll as a gift. I liked the detailed illustrations which had a vintage feel, and set the story around 1900 if my guess about the clothes is right.
R. G. Nairam
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books, to-own
A book for little girls like I was: constantly in dresses, and climbing trees playing at Robin Hood.

Delightful and surprising.
Laura Molinario
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Picture Book
Jaclyn LeVasseur
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Summary: It was a beautiful blue morning, Charlotte and Bruno, her bear, were making mud cakes in the yard. Her mother called and there was a package for Charlotte, inside was a doll. Charlotte did not want a doll and it did not really fit in with the other items in her room. "We like digging in dirt and climbing trees," Charlotte said to her doll. They made mud cakes, made boats from sticks and leaves, went fishing, dug in the flower bed and sat in a wagon and went for a ride. At the top of the ...more
A cute book but the best part is Charlotte's bedroom: Her collections and her little life is awesome.

Charlotte is a tomboy (or has that term officially become offensive?), who loves to explore and play and climb and race. When she receives a prissy little doll, she looks at it with disgust, but plays with it anyway. Throughout the day, the doll, Dahlia, gets more and more dirty and mussed up. After a bad fall, she doctors Dahlia but can't fix the dirty clothes and tangled hair. But when she shar
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dahlia is the doll that Charlotte receives from her Aunt, but at first Charlotte doesn't know if she will like her. The doll is too dressed up and fancy for the adventures that Charlotte likes to go on. After an afternoon of making mud pies, racing their wagon and climbing a tree, they decide they will be the best of friends. Little Dahlia falls off a high branch and Charlotte has to nurse her back to health. But when her aunt comes for dinner that night what will she think of the doll all cover ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
More vintage-y Victoriana from Barbara McClintock, this time in the form of a little tomboy (Charlotte) who is given a doll (Dahlia) that she initial thinks she hates. Friendships can be formed from the strangest pairings, and Charlotte and Dahlia become besties by the end. McClintock's story is sweet and fun, and her gentle descriptions of the doll's changing attitude and face, from cold to warm, is quite lovely. Aunt Edme could have been the stock mean old maid aunt, but instead McClintock cre ...more
Inhabiting Books
Our family loves this delightful story of a little tomboy of a girl named Charlotte who receives a frilly doll from her aunt. At first, the tomboyish, nature-loving little girl doesn't know what to do with her, but she drags Dahlia along on her day's adventures anyway. By the end of the day, Dahlia is not so frilly anymore, but she has a strangely happy smile on her face. Best of all is the aunt's reaction when she discovers the state of the doll. Such a good story, with wonderful illustrations! ...more
Nov 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
When Charlotte got a fancy, frilly doll as a present, I don't think dismayed is the right word. It's clear from her room (filled with bird nests and dragonflies) that she's not a doll kind of girl. Still, she makes the best of it, she and her bear... and they realize, eventually, that there's no reason you can't play with a fancy doll in the same way you'd play with any other toy.

The revelation at the end that the doll was bought specifically so she could be played with in mud puddles and tossed
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have spent the last few years searching regularly online for this book I read whilst in elementary school. I didn't remember the author or the title just the pictures and the story. You can imagine my delight when I find it on Goodreads by random chance! I'm so happy and perhaps I can find it at a library to read it again.
Mar 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
A sweet story with lovely illustrations about a girl who isn't sure a new frilly doll will fit in with her outdoor adventures. Turns out girls can wear lace and silk and also like getting dirty and climbing trees and racing wagons. Also, a nice reminder to parents that toys are meant to be loved and played with and not sit on a shelf.
Dec 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Barbara McClintock's book is darling. It's a Victorian setting with Charlotte and Bruno and Dahlia as the adorable characters. I'd just like to spend the day with all three of them and have fun and even get a little dirty!
The Brothers
Jan 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dolls, toys, aunts, playing
A lovely story of an outdoorsy little girl who received a prim, frilly, lacy doll. The girl totes the doll around on all of her (somewhat dirty) adventures and the doll becomes less prim and more happy. A nice twist at the end regarding the prim, frilly aunt who has given the girl the doll.

Beautiful illustrations.
Abbi Kraus
Dec 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book because it shows kids to give things a try and not judge things/people at first sight. I would read this to my class any day and have a discussion about making the most of what they have!
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A really wonderful story for little girls, and the line illustrations are AMAZING. McClintock goes crazy with the details, and it pays off for the reader. I'll be checking out all her books to share with my nieces.
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
We gave this funny book to Hazel for her birthday and it charmed us all on the first reading. If you've got a little tom boy, you'll eat this book up. And if that tom boy somehow loves dolls, even better.
Sep 21, 2010 rated it liked it
this is a cute little book about a tomboy girl who receives a "perfect" looking doll & isn't into dolls at all. It was perfect for us because we also have a little tomboy girl and she just received a doll for her birthday. cute story.
Jul 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
I love all of McClintock's illustrated books, but this is my favorite of her stories. Excellent for teacher/moms of girls who want to reenforce that girls can be wonderfully feminine, smart and adventurous all at the same time.
Jun 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
So glad Jenn and Clara Sechler introduced me to Barbara McClintock. This is a book for everyone who's ever played with a doll...or in the mud...or both. As a side note, Charlotte's room is the best room ever.
Jennifer Hunt
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My three year old daughter adores this book. Charming story and illustrations!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fanny
  • Flora's Very Windy Day
  • In a Blue Room
  • Fletcher and the Falling Leaves
  • Flight of the Dodo
  • The Flower Man
  • Tacky's Christmas
  • Very Hairy Bear
  • Pierre the Penguin: A True Story
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!
  • Grumpy Cat
  • Rainstorm
  • Elsie's Bird
  • My Penguin Osbert
  • The Very Best Pumpkin
  • Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary
  • All the Things I Love About You
  • The Duchess of Whimsy
Barbara McClintock is the author and illustrator of books for children.

Her books have won 4 New York Times Best Books awards, a New York Times Notable Book citation, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor award, numerous other awards, recommended/best book lists, and starred reviews. Her books have been made into children's videos, a ballet/opera, and a recorded books on tape.

Barbara drew constantly as
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »