Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday Book Review: Elizabeti's Doll

"Elizabeti's Doll" by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, illustrated by Christy Hale, is a marvelous treasure for little girls. This book received an Ezra Jack Keats Book Award. It is the debut work of Stuve-Bodeen, based on her experiences in the Peace Corps.

The summary of "Elizabeti's Doll" found on the inside cover states,

"When a young Tanzanian girl gets a new baby brother, she finds a rock, which she names Eva, and makes it her baby doll."

What a much needed book this is, in today's over commercialized world! It surrounds the basic need of young children to imitate their world around them and the sky is the limit with imagination. In the waldorf way, Elizabeti observes her mother caring for her new baby brother and decides she needs a baby of her very own. She looks to find her special baby in nature, finding a stick - but when she tries to hug it, it pokes her. Then she spots a perfectly shaped rock and picks it up. It is smooth, hugable, and just about the right weight. She names her rock Eva and from that moment on, Eva is her baby.

Her friend, Rahaili, visits and laughs when she sees that Elizabeti has a rock for a doll - yet Rahaili has no doll either and finds her own rock to love, which she names Malucey.

While doing her chores, Elizabeti must put Eva down to gather water from the village well. When she returns and they begin to make a fire to cook rice in the water, Elizabeti can't find Eva! Momma and even Elizabeti's sister, Pendo, bring her different rocks, but none of them are Eva.

When a sad Elizabeti goes to help Pendo make the rice, she suddenly spots Eva on the fire pit! Momma rolls Eva out from the pit and although she's a bit dirty, Eva is just fine!

Elizabeti lovingly cleans up Eva and at night, sings her a lullaby before drifting off to sleep...

I love that this book gives a taste of other cultures. I love that it encompasses the universal language of children and brings awareness to so much, while saying so very little. It is wholesome, humble, and simple. The illustrations are peaceful, serene and beautiful.

"Elizabeti's Doll" has been a favorite of our girls for a few years now. There are a few more books now in the series, which we haven't read, but this has inspired me to check them out from the local library!

Enjoy and Happy July!