The Doll Shop Downstairs by Yona McDonough

I saw this little book on the new children’s book shelf at the library and was attracted to the title and cover right away.  This was a delightful story, perfect for girls in (I’d say) grades 1-4.  It reminded me very much of the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor, which I loved as child.

The story takes place just as World War I begins and is set in New York City.  Three little girls live in an apartment with their mama and papa, and below the apartment is the family doll repair shop.  The girls love to play with some of the dolls that have been left at the shop for a very long time, and even though they know the chipped and broken dolls are not their own, they name them and love to make up stories for them.  The historical aspect of the war is very age appropriate, which I think can be difficult to do sometimes.  The war is key to the story in that because of it Papa can no longer get the bisque doll parts from Germany that he needs to make his repairs.  Essentially his business is ruined.  One day Mama and the girls decide to make their own doll and lo and behold, the dolls are a success!

I just loved the sweet family story and especially that the girls like playing with dolls (though I did not think it was a babyish story.)  I think this would be perfect for girls who had moved on from Cobble Street Cousins, or girls who liked A Little Princess.

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