This book by Kyoko Yoneyama is packed full of adorable dolls. There are characters from books, including _Alice in Wonderland_ (Alice), _Little Women_ (all four sisters), and _Little House in the Big Woods_ (Laura and her sisters Mary and Carrie); as well as dolls depicting characters from the films _My Fair Lady_ (Eliza) and _The Sound of Music_ (Maria). That's just the beginning since there are also fairy tale characters such as a witch, gypsy, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood, to name a few. There are dozens of dolls, though, admittedly, many are similar with only hair and clothing alterations. Some are really unique, including a kneeling doll and one to hang on the wall with a skirt to stash things in.
Most of the dolls basically fit one of two profiles. Child characters are generally represented in a basic way with mitten hands and chubby features. Adult characters are exaggeratingly elongated and thin with lanky limbs and fingers. The heads are constructed in a complicated manner that allows a seam-free face (head seams are hidden under the hair). The construction, however, may imply that the dolls are meant more for display by adults than for play by children. Supplies include a complicated combination of such items as glue, wire, and wood. The final doll in the book, by the name of Shirley, has a few clothing items, but the rest of the dolls have attached clothing. This also may imply they're more for display than play.
Being a book import, there are some aspects that may be difficult for readers in the United States. First, the translations are at times imperfect, though most mistakes are easy to figure out. Typos include "indide" instead of "inside," "way" instead of "may," "image" instead of "imagine." Perhaps what translates the least well are terms for certain products needed to make the dolls. "Packing," for example, is excelsior (check the floral department of your local craft store). One word, "rayon," is used as if it is a specific fabric. Here, it's not a term like "muslin" that denotes an exact fabric to use. As for "tyrolean tape" . . . (?).
Measurements are all in metric, though that's not difficult to adapt to since measuring tapes tend to have centimeters on the reverse of the inches side. Perhaps the most challenging aspect is that any knitted or crocheted items are charted, something that's generally reserved for the most experienced of yarn artists. Almost every step in all the the instructions is an image, with minimal text, and exact-size patterns for clothing are generally omitted; instead, a small chart to follow is included.
Making a doll from the book proved challenging, especially because the items aren't commonly available. I substituted supplies from my craft stash. The Christmas elf I made (see Amazon images section) is from the wood elf pattern in the book, with a hat added. The head construction is extremely complicated; even more than a Waldorf doll head construction method. These dolls have a definite learning curve and demonstrate that the author is a genuine and experienced artist.
With all of that being said, still five stars? Yes. I recommend the book for advanced, patient crafters who relish a challenge and are comfortable with finding and using comparable materials, and for those who simply like having a doll book stash to look through (the full-color photos in this book are charming). Despite posting what may seem like mostly negative information above, I really like this book. These are heirloom dolls, and that can make them worth the extra effort.