cover image Hidden House

Hidden House

Martin Waddell. Philomel Books, $14.95 (26pp) ISBN 978-0-399-22228-3

With its Laura Ashley-style endpapers and country flowers, Waddell's quiet tale of three solemn dolls is elegantly illustrated. A lonely man carves three dolls to keep him company, and when he moves away, the dolls watch from the window as weeds and brambles run wild and their ``little house disappeared in the middle of green things.'' A tree grows in the deserted kitchen, and insects and small animals take refuge from the winter cold. Now it is the dolls who are lonely until--many years later--a family moves in; the daughter paints new faces on the dolls, who are happy to have ``a whole family to live with'' again. The haunting and strangely animating presence of the dolls, the exquisite details of landscapes and interior scenes and the delicacy of Barrett's watercolors lend grace to this enchanting story about the passing of time and seasons. Ages 5-9. (Apr.)