cover image The Sunday Doll

The Sunday Doll

Mary Francis Shura. Dodd Mead, $12.95 (138pp) ISBN 978-0-396-09309-1

Versatile, gifted Shura has written another memorable novel that both children and adults will enjoy for its imaginative themes. Emmy faces her 13th year reluctantly, afraid she'll get weird like all teenagers. Exacerbating her problems is the annual gift of a doll from her great-aunt Harriett. The doll appears ominous to Emmy; it is Amish, with no face. But she comes to understand the significance of the blank features, after time spent with Aunt Harriett and Aaron, a Vietnam veteran who helps manage the farm. Emmy's overly solicitous parents have shipped her there during a family crisis that she hears of secondhand. As the story unfolds in Emmy's words, the reader comprehends her frustrations, the anxiety created by mistaken efforts to protect her. Thanks to wise Aunt Harriett and Aaron, Emmy learns the value of truth and straightforward dealing with situations, no matter how tragic. This is a novel about serious issues, but it's spiked by the humor that brightens Shura's delicious Chester, Eleanor and her other award winners. Ages 10-up. (May)