As the story opens, the little girl who serves as narrator introduces the reader to her dollhouse. She made it herself from a cardboard box, painted on bricks, and colored the walls to look like wallpaper. And she loves her dollhouse the way it is, with a mix-match family of dolls to live in it and a hodgepodge of furnishings and features that she cleverly creates by hand. The girl’s friend Sophie has a REAL dollhouse from a store, and everything inside is perfect, but not very unique. Sophie only likes to play with her dollhouse in a very certain way. The narrator worries that if Sophie comes to her house, she will not like the hand-made dollhouse and its quirky charms. But perhaps thinking of things a little differently will inspire Sophie to play more creatively as well.
This was a nice story about free play and using one’s imagination. I liked that the narrator was so ingenious with her creations, using found objects and her own inspiration to make things and tell stories that were original and clever. The conflict between the two girls felt like a familiar stumbling block for anyone who has watched two strong-willed children play, though I didn’t like the implication that store-bought toys are somehow less-conducive to creative thought (imagination is key for free play, not the provenance of the playthings). The illustrations were very pretty, especially those centered around the narrator’s dollhouse, but didn’t seem to hold JJ’s attention well. Indeed, the story was a bit slow-paced for her too, but older children would definitely benefit from the book’s message. Overall, it’s a very nice book that encourages imagination, so it’s Baby Bookworm approved!