Book Review -The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright

The Lonely Doll Book Cover

The cover of the book ‘The Lonely Doll,’ Story and Photographs by Dale Wright

I think that all true doll lovers should have at least one of the ‘Lonely Doll’ books in their collection. Featuring Edith, a doll from author / illustrator Dare Wright’s childhood, and two Teddy Bears as the main characters, The Lonely Doll was special because of the way the author/ illustrator used stage like settings, professional lighting and photography, artistic and carefully posed characterizations and a deceptively simple story line to make each page of this NY Times Bestseller a visual and literary treat.

The Lonely Doll and Little Bear

The Lonely Doll and Little Bear from the page “I Hate Rain”

There is a ton of information about both her books (there are at least ten Lonely Doll books that I’m aware of) and Dare on the internet; we just wanted to give you a good enough idea to pique your interest, so that you can decide for yourself if you interested in either the books, or the author herself.

To summarize the plot, Edith (the doll) is lonely, for she has no one to play with. Every day when she says her prayers she wishes for friends. One day Mr. Bear and Little Bear show up at her house to play. What follows, is a series of ‘play dates,’ each  one set up and meticulously photographed by a world class photographer. Of course there is the happy ending… Edith is never lonely again.

PS: The beloved childhood doll Dare uses throughout the book is a flirty-eyed doll. By carefully reversing the negatives – i.e. ‘printing them backwards,’  – and the clever use of mirrors in some of the illustrations, Dare was able to create the illusion that the doll’s eyes were ‘looking’ in different directions, and therefore give the doll a more lifelike expression.

The Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls

There’s another story from doll history similar to the story of the BIld Lilli dolls that I’d like to share with you today. This time its the wonderful story of The Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls.

The Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls

A display of Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls at the Maryhill Museum of Art

France had been liberated, although WWII was not yet over, and Paris, at one time the capital of the Fashion Industry was struggling to pick up the pieces. Out of the ashes that was Paris arose a little flicker of the flame of fashion. From pieces of hoarded and hidden fabrics and leathers, painstakingly hand stitched using the simplest of wire dolls (for there were no other materials in wartime Paris with which dolls could be made!) came the rebirth of the French Fashion industry.

Photo by Glen Bledsoe A different collection of the Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls

Photo by Glen Bledsoe A different collection of the Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls

For several centuries French Fashion dolls had been dressed in the latest fashions and sent abroad so that orders could be placed, or designs could be copied – so too in 1946, The exhibition of The Theatre de la Mode Fashion Dolls would tour cities across the Atlantic, and ultimately prove to the world that French Fashion was back!

The dolls were approx 27 inches tall with plaster heads. There were approximately 230 dressed dolls.

Dolls as Art – Kazuyo Oshima

In my next life, I want to come back as a Doll Artist.

I got to be both a ‘Doll Store Owner’ and a ‘Blogger About Dolls’ in this life, so I’m not feeling sorry for myself, but still, every time I come across a beautiful Art Doll, I do have to admit that I get a tad jealous.

A couple of my favorite ‘Dolls as Art’ were made by a Japanese doll artist working in France named Kazuyo Oshima.

Kazuyo Oshima "Summer Rain"

Kazuyo Oshima “Summer Rain” at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

This a doll, folks. Silk and cotton, needle and thread. Beautiful.

Why do you buy dolls?

If I asked you: “Why do you buy dolls?” What would you answer?

Would you say: “Children love dolls, and I want to give a gift of love.”

Would you say: “I buy dolls for my Church Mission to send to the orphanage in Africa / Haiti / Latin America etc.”

Our Nighty-night doll in Kenya

Our Nighty-night doll in Kenya

Would you say: “Seeing the smile on my child’s face when she gets a new doll makes me feel good.”

Would you say:

(Version 1) “I love to give dolls to charities for poor, disadvantaged, abused or sick kids.”   (Version 2) “I pulled this card off of a Christmas Giving Tree and a doll is what the child asked for.”

Would you say: “I’m a doll collector.”

Would you say: “I buy dolls so that I can ‘Reborn’ them.” (Reborn doll artists use paint, plastic, hair and incredible talent to create magnificent works of doll art.)

Would you say: “We are a social services agency, buying anatomically correct dolls to teach (or ask) children about ‘good touch – bad touch.'”

Anatomically Correct Soft Dolls

Anatomically Correct Soft Dolls

Would you say: “My child is ready for a Learn to Dress doll or Potty Training Doll.”

Would you say: “I teach sewing and I need dolls for my students to practice on.”

Why do you buys dolls? Please send us your comments below.

Where’d you get that name from Pattycake Doll?

When you start your own business, what are you going to call it?

I think that’s one of the most interesting questions ever. Right up there with asking someone “What do you do for a living,” or asking a married couple: “How’d you meet?”

I mean it. I am really interested. And you know what? Once I ask those types of questions, I find that you are really interested too! Unless you’re a spy, or running from your past of course. Most people love to tell you about their beginnings, and most people love to hear those ‘the start of it all’ stories too.

At any rate, in our case, we happened to have an antique porcelain doll handed down through the generations of my wife’s family. It’s of a little girl in a lace dress with her hands out, playing ‘Pattycake.’ (We think. If you have one and your family history tells it differently, we don’t wanna know.)

The Pattycake Doll Company Logo

“Let’s Play Pattycake”

So at the time, knowing that it would be a good thing if our web site url and domain name had the word ‘doll’ in it, and knowing that we would be selling dolls for children, (the main players of the game of Pattycake) and having this ready made doll to use as our logo and such, it just seemed as if fate was telling us: “that’s the path you should follow.”

When fate hands you a bunch of clues, I believe you should listen to her.

And that’s how we became The Pattycake Doll Company at