I Like Dolls

Dolls that come to life book list

I hope nobody I knew drove by while I was taking this picture!

I like dolls. There I said it and I am not ashamed to admit it!  I like old dolls, new dolls, plastic, ceramic, wood, and fabric dolls. I think I like them because dress up is fun and because they are vehicles of imagination.

My favorite doll as a child was a German doll we named Lorelei that I took everywhere and when I got a little older I had a doll house. That doll house was so grand it made me feel so special! Now I have a box with several small dolls I have collected over the years and once in a while, when I am trying to organized my things, I happen upon it and have fun looking. My two favorites are a wooden doll that came with a pattern to make her dress and a reissue of fashion designer Barbie (she even had a portfolio with drawings in it).
The idea of dolls coming to life is a theme that pops up in books from time to time and one that is fun to believe in! I definitely created this list for ME but it is okay if you like it too!

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Pinny Finds a House by Peter Firmin

Victor, a tiny wooden sailor, is happy when Pinny comes to the playroom, and he helps her to settle into the little china house next to his boat (Amazon description).

The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright

Once there was a little doll. Her name was Edith. She lived in a nice house and had everything she needed except someone to play with. She was lonely! Then one morning Edith looked into the garden and there stood two bears! Since it was first published in 1957, The Lonely Doll has established itself as a unique children’s classic. Through innovative photography Dare Wright brings the world of dolls to life and entertains us with much more than just a story. Edith, the star of the show, is a doll from Wright’s childhood, and Wright selected the bear family with the help of her brother. With simple poses and wonderful expressions, the cast of characters is vividly brought to life to tell a story of friendship (Amazon description).

The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden

A beautiful story of wishing: of a little girl who wants a doll and a grandmother; of a doll that yearns for a child’s arms around it; and of a lonely policeman’s wife who wants a child in her home (Amazon description).

The Tub People by Pam Conrad

During an unseen child’s bath time, the seven members of a wooden toy family ride on the floating soap and compete in swimming races. But after the near loss of the Tub Child down the drain, they are all reunited on a warm bed, where they mountain climb on the ridges formed by soft quilts (Amazon description).

The Very Little Princess: Rose’s Story (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))

Now in paperback, Marion Dane Bauer’s tale of friendship, family, and fitting in, which recalls The Doll People, Rumer Godden, and Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.

Regina is a princess. Her hair is gold. Her gown is pink. She’s a three-and-one-quarter-inch-tall doll. Rose is not a princess or a doll. She’s a real girl with dark curly hair and wild ways. Dishes seem to leap out her hands. Pencils snap. Her homework papers blow away in the wind. Her mother insists she’s too thoughtless to have such a fragile doll, but Rose doesn’t care.

Then something magical happens—Regina comes to life! For such a tiny thing, she’s a bossy spitfire. Still Rose is worried. She knows Regina is as delicate as ever. What happens if you break your best friend (Amazon description)?

Babushka’s Doll by Patricia Polacco

Natasha isn’t really a bad girl. It’s just that she wants to play on the swing now, not after the wash has been hung up to dry. And she wants her soup now, not after the goats have been fed. Looking after Natasha keeps Babushka, Natasha’s grandmother, very busy.

Then, after lunch, Natasha notices a doll sitting on Babushka’s shelf…a doll Babushka tells Natasha she played with just once when she was a little girl. When Natasha plays with the doll while Babushka goes to the store for groceries, she discovers why once is enough with Babushka’s doll…and finds out just how tiring it can be to take care of a child who wants everything now (Amazon Description).

Baba Yaga and the Wise Doll

A memorable Russian fairy tale to entrance and enchant Ruth Brown’s stunning illustrations accompany an extraordinary fairy tale about a little girl who, with the advice of her wise doll, escapes a truly terrifying witch and her slimy, child-gobbling toads. When Too Nice’s evil sisters, Horrid and Very Horrid, force her to kidnap the witch Baba Yaga’s jeweled toad, Baba Yaga devises a series of impossible tests for the little girl. If Too Nice passes them, she gets the toad, but if she doesn’t–the toad gets her! Too Nice’s only companion through the ordeal is the wise doll in her pocket, a gift from her mother, whose help leads to the miraculous completion of the tasks. And as gifts beget gifts, Too Nice gets the toad and the two evil sisters get theirs (Amazon description)!

The Hidden House by Martin Wadell

With the owner gone, three dolls watch as their house becomes hidden by growing plants and trees until a man walks by and discovers the residence (Amazon description).

The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys by Julian Fellowes

When Doc the bear arrives at the dump from his former home in a children’s hospital, he’s not sure what kind of life awaits him. But the friends he finds there are determined to make his new home a welcoming one. In the gentle, classic style of The Velveteen Rabbit, the toys discover what it’s like to live on their own (Amazon description).

The Poppykettle Papers by Michael Lawrence

The Poppykettle Papers is based on the old tales of the hairy Peruvians, a community of tiny fisherfolk, who centuries ago sprang to life from sacrificial Inca dolls on the coast of Peru (Amazon description).

Big Susan by Elizabeth Orton Jones

Mr. and Mrs. Doll and their six children, Nurse and the old Cook all lived in a house which had no front and belong to Susan. Susan was just an ordinary-sized little girl with taffy colored pigtails. But to the dolls she was a very Big, very Wonderful, very Important Person.

There was one short night in every year when they needed no help from Susan – that Wonderful Night when all Dolls come alive and can speak.

An exciting story full of ups and downs scaled to dollhouse proportions, full of sense and nonsense, fantasy and truth, with glimpses of the Christmas miracle that can happen anywhere – even in a dollhouse. A different sort of Christmas book, one that will be enjoyed at any time of the year and by the whole family (Amazon description).

Miss Hickory by Caroline Sherwin Bailey

Relates the adventures of a country doll made of an apple-wood twig with a hickory nut for a head (Amazon description).

Hitty Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field

Hitty is a doll of great charm and character. It is indeed a privilege to publish her memoirs, which, besides being full of the most thrilling adventures on land and sea, also reveal her delightful personality. One glance at her portrait will show that she is no ordinary doll. Hitty, or Mehitable as she was really named, was made in the early 1800s for Phoebe Preble, a little girl from Maine. Young Phoebe was very proud of her beautiful doll and took her everywhere, even on a long sailing trip in a whaler. This is the story of Hitty’s years with Phoebe, and the many that follow in the life of a well-loved doll (Amazon description).

The Doll’s House by Rumer Godden

The activities, sorrows, and joys of a family of dolls living in an old doll house are related from the dolls’ point of view (Amazon description).

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden

England is the last place Nona Fells wants to be. No one asked her if she wanted to leave sunny India to live in a chilly English village with her aunt’s family — and her cousin, Belinda, just hates her! But when two dainty Japanese dolls arrive at Nona’s doorstep, everything begins to change. Like Nona, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are lonely and homesick, so Nona decides to build them their own traditional Japanese house. Over time, not only does Nona create a home for the dolls, but one for herself as well.

Originally published in 1961, Rumer Godden’s classic story of friendship and being part of a family is now back in print for a new generation of readers to cherish (Amazon description).

The Doll People by Ann M. Martin

Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in (Amazon description).

The Raggedy Ann Stories: The Very First Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle

Raggedy Ann has been entertaining and charming young readers ever since the first book created by Johnny Gruelle in 1918 chronicled the adventures of the mischievous rag doll and her delightful toy friends. Gruelle’s inspiration was a real doll—a doll made for his mother by his grandmother and then much loved by his daughter Marcella. Raggedy Ann Stories, Gruelle’s first collection of tales, was soon followed by books that introduced Raggedy Andy and the fairyland called the Deep, Deep Woods.
In this edition of The Raggedy Ann Stories, which contains the best original tales and artwork, you’ll meet the rag doll’s toy friends, as well as Fido the dog and Marcella, the little girl in whose house there is a special room where Raggedy Ann and all the other dolls live. Often, by the end of a story, after an exciting adventure or, perhaps, a wonderful journey, Raggedy Ann and her friends have learned a small but valuable lesson of life.
From the days of her discovery by the real Marcella, the little rag doll with the red-yarn hair has inspired timeless tales and colorful pictures and has stirred the imaginations of millions of young readers all over the world (Amazon description).

Behind the Attic Wall (Avon Camelot Books) by Silvia Cassidy

At twelve, Maggie had been thrown out of more boarding schools than she cared to remember. “Impossible to handle,” they said — nasty, mean, disobedient, rebellious, thieving — anything they could say to explain why she must be removed from the school.

Maggie was thin and pale, with shabby clothes and stringy hair, when she arrived at her new home. “It was a mistake to bring her here,” said Maggie’s great-aunts, whose huge stone house looked like another boarding school — or a prison. But they took her in anyway. After all, aside from Uncle Morris, they were Maggie’s only living relatives.

But from behind the closet door in the great and gloomy house, Maggie hears the faint whisperings, the beckoning voices. And in the forbidding house of her ancestors, Maggie finds magic…the kind that lets her, for the first time, love and be loved (Amazon description).

The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh

The Mennyms are a family of life sized rag dolls who live in a modest British town. Their forty year long secret threatens to be exposed when a distant relative of their landlord visits from Australia. “Good old-fashioned fantasy at its finest.”-Publishers Weekly

The Best-Loved Doll (An Owlet Book) by Rebecca Caudill

This timeless story of the special relationship between a girl and her doll is told with directness and charm (Amazon description).

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Some of these we have or have read and others are from this Amazon List.  Have I missed any?  Please share!

Want more?  Check out this great 3 page list at Old Children’s Books!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • Thanks! I did leave out sequels because it was already getting long but a few of these do have sequels! The Doll People books are also illustrated by Brian Selznick!

  1. I like dolls too! As a mom to four boys I’d forgotten about The Lonely Doll, I remember it from when I was a kid. I remember one about a doll being left outside in a rain storm and being searched for my her little girl – probably not an uncommon theme but I remember loving that story too. A new book that I have read to my boys was Rosemary Well’s Yoko’s Show and Tell. The doll doesn’t come to life but it’s a sweet story about forgiveness.
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    • 4 boys! I know I am missing some – MaryAnne mentioned one too. The link I included has a bunch that are out of print. Dolls are a little old fashioned I guess!

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