An article in today's KidsPost about children making their own toys ("Creating Toys with Their Own Two Hands," 11/11/09) reminded me of two otherwise very different books about girls making their own dolls. I'm very fond of Elizabeti's Doll by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (illustrated by Christy Hale; Lee and Low, 1998) -- of all the Elizabeti books, really. In this one, Elizabeti has a new baby brother and wants to take care of her own baby, so she picks up a rock that's just the right size, kisses it, and names it Eva. Stuve-Bodeen's text and Hale's illustrations evoke the Tanzanian setting beautifully, but the focus of the book is squarely on Elizabeti's relationship with Eva.
Holly Hobbie's Fanny (Little, Brown 2009) is a very different book, and despite its more familiar setting and concerns--Fanny's mother doesn't want her to have the Bratz-like Connie doll Fanny has her heart set on, so Fanny makes her own doll--I haven't warmed up to it (we own it). I wonder if it has something to do with why Elizabeti and Fanny are motivated to make their own dolls? Or could it be the mere presence of the Connies? If you've read Fanny, I would love to know what you make of it. And if you haven't read Elizabeti, I highly recommend it! The two make an interesting comparison.