Dahlia

by Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock creates another picture book with a Victorian look and feel while... read more

Barbara McClintock creates another picture book with a Victorian look and feel while its young protagonist is wholly in step with many contemporary children. Charlotte has never like dolls, so when her elderly Aunt Edme gives her one, “dressed in linen and lace and delicate silk ribbons” Charlotte is not very excited. In her bedroom filled with bugs and birds nests, Charlotte explains to the newcomer that she and her dog, Bruno, like “digging in dirt and climbing trees….You’ll just have to get used to the way we do things.” The doll—whom Charlotte names Dahlia after flowers in her mother’s garden—turns out to be more resilient than she looks. After a day spent accompanying Charlotte and Bruno on their many activities and adventures, Dahlia is muddy and torn and tangled, but she feels wonderful. When Aunt Edme arrives and asks to see her gift to Charlotte, the little girl is anxious because of Dahlia’s unruly state. But her aunt surprises her: “When I saw your doll in a shop window, I thought she needed to be out in the sunshine, and played with, and loved. I knew that is just what you would do for her.” (Ages 4-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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