Living Dolls

Wonder Books were among the most ubiquitous children’s books published for baby boomers during the 50s and 60s. Buried amid the Wonder Books library of over 1000 economically priced volumes (with “washable covers” and “long-life binding”) is an exquisite rarity titled The Doll Family. For anyone familiar with my odd obsession with things miniature, especially mini-mannequins and mini-furniture, you might appreciate my utter joy in finding this 1962 book by Dorothy Wilson and photos by Martin Harris.

The dolls in The Doll Family are not perfect human replicas, but rather a mixture of representational and expressionistic figuration. Dad looks a little demented at times, but it was the early 60s, and he probably fought in World War II or Korea. The furniture is a tasty Swedish Modern with a hint of Ethan Allan. The story is about the family’s near traumatic move to a larger house, and the trials therein. Problems are solved, however, and “sometimes a doll-house chicken dinner makes everything turn out just right.” If you want to know why The Doll Family had to move (these were good economic times, after all), read the last page below.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Pingback: I heart Steven Heller, who hearts miniatures too. « KLP Designs

  2. Pingback: I heart Steven Heller, who hearts miniatures too. | KLP Designs

  3. Pingback: Children’s Books, The Doll Family — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers · Indie Crafts | CraftGossip.com

  4. Thanks for this lovely post. It brought back memories of my favorite doll book, The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright. Another great book of doll stories!

  5. Steven,
    I’m a writer rather than designer but I love, love, love your newsletter! This book is fantastic. Thanks for keeping it fresh!

  6. I want to know why “Doll rain is awful.”  I wonder if there is a sequel, with Sister asking Mother Doll, “What does  R’lyeh mean?”

  7. Thanks for writing about this nifty book. I posted on it last year [http://call-small.blogspot.com/2010/05/welcome-home.html] and received all sorts of comments about the identification of the various dolls and furniture used in the book, which was very much of the time. I was lucky to snag a few copies on eBay…they show up every so often. It’s a lovely book, and a visual treasure trove for mini modernists!

  8. Brilliant! That made my day, thanks Steven. I remember other books I loved from the 60′s with dolls and puppets…they had elaborate, magical ‘set design’ backgrounds. I think they were published in Europe…I wish I could remember!