The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
An imagined story about real dolls, this has all the tropes we look for in stories about dolls: they want to be real, the children they really respond to are those who are really needy (emotionally, economically, etc.) and things never follow a smooth path.
Told in several installments, Miss Kanagawa's "life" intersects with several children - Bunny, who meets her just as the Friendship Dolls are arriving in America from Japan, Lois, viewing her during the start of the Great Depression, Willa Mae, from the hollers, and Lucy, an Okie relocated to Oregon with her father. Each child finds themselves somehow mysteriously influenced by Miss Kanagawa.
Unfortunately, the stories feel too pat, with the outcome of each relatively predictable. And of course a doll wanting to be real (and discovering her "heart") will be very familiar to readers. Still, this might spark a lot of interest in the Friendship Dolls, their mission and their fate.
ARC provided by publisher.
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