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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Reader's Award

Oh Rebecca, what have you started!  Thank you for thinking of me in your Reader's award.  I really enjoyed reading about all the different books that you could associate with people whom you've met in blogland, especially as several of the books are already familiar to me.  I love The Shield Ring by Rosemary Sutcliff - the Lake District area where it is set is a place I love, and grew up with the Laura Ingalls Little House books and have them all.  However what you chose for me was a book I had not encountered:  The Adventures of Galldora.  I discovered when searching on Amazon that a second book was also available about Galldora the rag doll, so I managed to buy both from the same seller, and they arrived today.  This evening my 5 year old daughter and I enjoyed the first chapter - Galldora and the small reward - at her bedtime, so thank you for introducing these stories to us.

I'm supposed to obey the rules and think of books that I associate with the various blogs I follow, however, like Rebecca I'm going to cheat. Instead of dedicating books to any particular person, I'm going to talk about books I own and love that I associate with dolls and miniatures, and dedicate them to everyone who reads my blog.

One of the books Rebecca listed is Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.  I adored this book as a child, and the sequel Little Plum, in fact they inspired me so much I made my own versions of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.

Their heads, hands and feet are Fimo, and their bodies, arms and legs are stuffed cloth.  Their wigs are black cotton thread stitched into a cloth pad which is glued to the head and their faces are very roughly moulded - I'm terrible at working with modelling clay - I carve and sew better than this.  Although I tried to model their features, they were not very distinct so today when photographing them I re-drew their eyes, brows and nostrils with a black felt tip pen.

Miss Flower on the left and Miss Happiness
on the right before I re-drew their eyes

After their faces were re-drawn

I also made their clothes, though they are not authentic, and their sashes are made of tissue paper, one is a bit decayed now.

In the photo with them is a small box with a roll top lid.  In the book their cupboard is a similar box, and when I found this one on a market as a teenager I thought it was perfect for my Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.

Ursula Moray William's Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse is similar in a way to the concept of Galldora, in that the horse leaves home and goes on many adventures before finally managing to get back to his beloved master with his treasure.  I loved this book as a child, and was delighted when we went to Miniatura a couple of years ago to find a miniature horse very similar to this one, which is perfect for my elder daughter's miniature toy and cake shop.

Another book I love by the same author is Malkin's Mountain - all about toy makers, carving wood, families, love and community.  What more inspiration could a budding wood carver want than a story such as this.  I've recently acquired the two other books in the set.

The Ship that Flew was one of those books I only discovered when I went to High School, because a copy was available in my school library, it was one of the few books that wasn't a teen, adult or reference book in the secondary school library.  It is a magical story about 4 ordinary children who get a ship in a bottle that takes them on wonderful adventures, including back in time.  I was taken with the fact that the eldest boy found the ship in a strange antique shop filled with curious things, but that the ship was what attracted him and he loved it and gave all he had in his pocket for it.  Who doesn't like browsing in antique shops, even if you can't afford most of what is on offer!

Another story series that is closely associated with miniatures is Mary Norton's The Borrowers.  I have collected all the books in the set over the years, and even have managed to buy Poor Stainless, an additional borrower story.  Not only were these stories a great introduction for a non UK child to various aspects of English culture, it was also a lovely way to get to know more about the English countryside, when Pod, Homily and Arriety venture out of the safety of the big old house in Buckinghamshire to find a new home, after their under floorboard sanctury is discovered by the humans.  One day I plan to explore that area of Buckinghamshire (Mary Norton lived near Leighton Buzzard) because it is not too far from where I live now.

Although the Family from One End Street stories by Eve Garnett don't mention dollshouses, the detailing of the the lives of the Ruggles Children is fascinating social history source material for anyone building dollshouses based in 1930s/1940s England.  Once again, these books were a good way for me to learn about a country I only visited once every 4 years during my childhood.  There are three books, and my all time favourite is the third when Kate Ruggles enjoys a glorious summer holiday at the Dew Drop Inn in her beloved countryside, a far cry from her urban home.

I have so many children's books - I spent many happy hours browsing various second hand book shops when I was a teenager, and discovered several delights, including the Eve Garnet books.  Our house probably contains at least 2,000 books (not all for children), but my children's book collection is very treasured, and I am especially pleased when my daughters discover kinship with books in the shelves, my library is meant to be used and enjoyed.


Rebecca said...

I am so glad that you have managed to buy the Galldora books, and it's lovely that you're reading them with your daughter, so another generation will know of her. I don't know whether I read The New Adventures of Galldora, but in my copy of Galldora I carefully coloured in all the pictures!
It seems that many of us grew up loving the same books. I am so impressed with your Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and the little box is just beautiful. I know some of the other books you show here, and some of the authors, but not all, so I will track down the ones I don't! What fun - thank you!

Drew said...

Kate used to speak amazingly posh at times - "You frightful fibber!" she called Johnny Sears. Seemed weird, considering that the rest of the Ruggles family did not. I absolutely loved the books, but Kate got on my nerves at times. I thought her slightly "jumped up"! She could speak much posher than Miss Alison from The Priory.

DollMum said...

I think Kate Ruggles probably picked up the 'posh' speaking from reading loads of different books and listening to people who did talk that way (not everyone she encountered in her everyday life would have spoken like her family).