Sunday, 27 June 2010

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

Miserable and homesick for India and her beloved ayah, eight-year old Nona is growing up with her cousins in England. When her great aunt sends two Japanese dolls, the sensitive Nona sees that they, too, are displaced and sets about finding them a Japanese dolls house enlisting the help of siblings, friends and strangers and building her own confidence in the process.

The details of the construction and furnishing of the dolls house are fascinating - sliding screens, a niche for a scroll and ikebana, tiny silk quilts and cushions and bamboo mats. Just as the dolls are about to move into their house. Nona's jealous cousin Belinda decides to take Miss Happiness for herself.

Rumer Godden's stories for younger children may feature dolls but there is a lack of sentimentality about them which makes them immensely vivid and real. Remember the cruel doll Marchpane in The Dolls' House? Re-reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower kind of makes me wish I hadn't put my MA in Children's Literature on hold.

4 comments:

Penny said...

I've heard of this one, but haven't read it. This must be remedied!

I'm hoping to take a course in children's literature as part of the degree I'm doing with the Open University. I've already read most of the books on the reading list!

Vintage Reading said...

Penny, it would be great if you could take a module on children's lit. I really enjoyed the MA, but at £780 a module I just couldn't justify the expense. Maybe I'll return to it some day - if I win the lottery!

Sara said...

This one I don't know...must look for it. I have Miss Plum, and also St. Jerome and the Lion, both children's books by Rumer Godden...

Vintage Reading said...

Sarah, this is a perfect story. I need to read Miss Plum - does that have a Japanese theme?