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Four Dolls: "Impunity Jane", "Fairy Doll", "Story of Holly and Ivy" and "Candy Floss" Paperback – 27 Oct 1983
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
It arrived promptly.
"Impunity Jane": Impunity Jane is a Victorian pocket doll who years for adventure. Without a trace of sticky-sweetness, Godden shows us a restless doll consigned for four generations to sitting in a dollhouse, sometimes neglected for years, until she is purloined by a 7-year-old cousin, Gideon, who can hear doll wishes. Then Impunity Jane's life begins! She is a devoted companion in Gideon's play and gets to be a sailor, an aviator, a miner, and enjoy all manner of adventures. Gideon faces being called a "sissy" by a gang of older boys, until tough little Impunity Jane manages to win them over. Yet the guilt of her being stolen weighs heavily on both the boy and the doll, and they know they must do the honorable thing ... This was my favorite story of the book, maybe because the author's style is so original and adventuresome.
"The Fairy Doll": The youngest of four children, Elizabeth is picked on by her siblings and feels stupid and clumsy, until Great-Grandmother assigns her a protector in the Fairy Doll at the top of the Christmas tree. Sometimes help comes from without in the form of a talisman, and sometimes it comes from within, that inner "ting!" of intuition that tells us what to do. This story would be good both for the scapegoat child in a family, and for other kids who are mean without realizing how damaging it is to another's self-confidence.
"The Story of Holly and Ivy": This charming Christmas story concerns a doll named Holly and a little orphan named Ivy, and the wishes they have that help them come together. In the toy shop, there's a scary, villainous owl named Abracadabra who seeks to thwart the happiness of others, but good prevails! This is also a story about magical coincidences, though as an adult I found that part harder to enjoy. Yet for some reason, when I saw a little doll in a red velvet dress and a tiny white muff in a thrift store, I felt compelled to buy her. Could it be that dolls are beginning to speak to me, at age 46, and only now I can hear?
"Candy Floss": Candy Floss has a very happy life with the carnival, helping the little dog Cocoa and a painted horse called Nuts bring business into the "coconut shy" stall of their beloved Jack. This is an unusual story because Jack is a grown-up young man who cares for Nuts and Candy Floss just as much as he does for his real live dog, considering them all his "partners" and Candy Floss his "luck." It shows that some people can hear doll wishes, no matter how old they get on the outside.
Then the family gets mixed up with a spoiled, unhappy little girl named Clementina Davenport. She wants to buy Candy Floss and naturally Jack will not sell her, but Clementina is not used to being refused, and she causes everyone a lot of trouble, as spoiled, unhappy people so often do.
This was such a great story! It makes you want to run off and be a carnival doll, or a carnival stall operator. Jack has much more sense than Clementina's indulgent parents, and really she is much happier after she meets him and Candy Floss anyway.
This is the final story in "Four Dolls," and it is my next favorite after "Impunity Jane."
The illustrations for "Four Dolls" by Pauline Baynes are OK but rather dark. Still, I prefer them to the earlier illustrations by Adrienne Adams, with one notable exception: Adams perfectly captured the dissatisfied Clementina Davenport in the stand-alone edition of "Candy Floss."