cover image The Hand-Me-Down Doll

The Hand-Me-Down Doll

Steven Kroll, illus. by Dan Andreasen. Marshall Cavendish, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7614-6124-1

Originally published in 1983, Kroll’s tale of a nameless, lonely doll on a happenstance journey to find a loving owner is updated for a new audience by Andreasen’s (Train Trip) softly lit and evocative oil paintings, which seem to set the story sometime in the early decades of the 20th century. Spoiled six-year-old Glenda has so many toys that she relegates a new doll with dark curls and a red velvet coat to a shelf where it gathers dust. Glenda’s mother eventually gives the doll to Farmer John when he stops by to drop off eggs. Farmer John and his wife sell the doll to a woman who uses her for a carnival prize, and the doll eventually ends up in the hands of a girl with “a smiling, friendly face.” The predictable yet heart-tugging story whisks readers to a simpler era of playthings that don’t require batteries. Throughout the book, the chubby-cheeked doll looks forlorn (if not downright horrified) at her circumstances, and her expression shifts to one of joyful relief in the final, satisfying spread. Ages 5–8. (May)