The Doll Hospital

James Duffy, Author Scholastic $11.95 (168p) ISBN 978-0-590-41860-7
Eight-year-old Alison is an invalid with an undisclosed, life-threatening malady. Her only friends, other than her too-good-to-be-true 13-year-old brother Christopher, are her dolls Nettie and Boodles, who talk only to her. After Alison nurses new doll Denise through the measles, she opens a doll hospital, with Christopher as head doctor and Nettie as supervising nurse. Neighborhood children send in their sick and wounded dolls. Alison's health improves dramatically, then, just as dramatically, fails. Her doctor gives her a sick doll that is cured with the help of his experimental medicine. Then Alison goes into the hospital for a round of experimental medicine that likewise miraculously cures her. The plot of this book is remarkable for its predictability and complete lack of tension. Alison and the other human characters are cloyingly sympathetic (what bedridden child doesn't misbehave sometimes?), and it isn't made clear whether the dolls' speech and actions are meant to be magically real, or just a lonely child's fantasies. Dull and precious. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-590-41855-3
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