McClintock, Barbara. Dahlia. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Frances Foster Books, 2002. ISBN 0374316783. $16.00. 30 pp. Reviewer: Sandra L. Tidwell Reading Level: Preschool; Primary Rating: Outstanding Genre: Contemporary realistic fiction; Subject: Dolls--Juvenile literature; Toys--Juvenile literature; Books--Reviews; Charlotte is a tomboy. She and her stuffed bear Bruno are having a wonderful time playing in the mud when her mother tells her she has a package from her Aunt Edme. "Dear Charlotte, I saw this doll and thought of you. Tell your mother I'm coming for dinner. Love, Aunt Edme." Charlotte looks at the frilly fancy doll with obvious disgust. She loses no time telling the lacy doll that they won't be playing tea party or anything like it. Instead, they will be climbing trees and digging in the dirt. And that's just what they do for the rest of the day! Charlotte names the doll Dahlia, and Bruno gets along fine with the new playmate as well. When Dahlia comes tumbling down from a tall tree they were climbing, Charlotte is her nursemaid. Later, when Aunt Edme arrives, Charlotte comes down with Bruno and Dahlia, who now looks pretty bedraggled after the day's adventure. Aunt Edme looks perturbed at first, but the next page turn shows the understanding aunt smiling with approval. "When I saw your doll in a shop window, I thought she needed to be out in the sunshine, and played with, and loved. I knew that is just what you would do for her. I only wish I could make mud pies and be tossed in the air; but I'm too old." I enjoyed this cute story about the magical play of children. The illustrations are in pastel shades and are very detailed. Charlotte, Bruno, Dahlia, and Aunt Edme's expressions are distinctively and carefully portrayed. My favorite illustrations are the one when Charlotte first looks in disgust at the frilly doll and when Aunt Edme looks at the ragged doll in Charlotte's hand after their fun-filled day! Every child should have a loving Aunt Edme. Even a tomboy can have fun with a doll!
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