cover image This Is My Dollhouse

This Is My Dollhouse

Giselle Potter. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-553-52153-5

Potter’s narrator has lovingly crafted a cardboard box dollhouse and all its accoutrements, including a “plate of noodles” from a bottle cap and yarn. Her dollhouse family is sweetly eclectic, too: a mouse, bear, two fashion dolls, and rag doll, all sharing a large bed. Her friend Sophie’s dollhouse, by contrast, is an “all perfect” prefab residence whose inhabitants who are both literally and figuratively plastic. The girl is both appalled and cowed, but Potter (Tell Me What to Dream About) doesn’t interpret this emotional turmoil for readers; they’ll quickly glean from Sophie’s boring, literal play that the dollhouse has stunted the girl’s imagination. Happily, Sophie turns out to be a creative spirit yearning to break free, and the narrator’s handcrafted house, which she initially tries to hide from Sophie, is just the ticket. As in her previous books, Potter’s characters have enigmatic, mini-adult visages reminiscent of early-18th-century child portraits. The realization that creative, outside-the-box artistry can be more inspiring than anything manufactured makes for a wonderful story, one that may motivate future members of the artisanal economy. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]