________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 12 . . . . February 16, 2001

cover Serena and the Wild Doll.

Philip Coristine. Illustrated by Julia Gukova.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2000.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $7.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-648-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-649-7.

Preschool - grade 2 / Ages 4 - 7.

Review by Harriet Zaidman.

* /4


Suddenly, one afternoon, Serena finally heard the sound of small footsteps on the stairs.
"They've come at last!" she whispered. "I knew they would some day!" She sat up straight and posed.
The door swung open. A fragrance of the woods just after the rain and of sunshine filled the attic.
The visitor tiptoed in. But it wasn't a child after all. It was a ragged and grimy doll.
Serena was disappointed. "Who are you?" she cried. "How did you get in here?"
"I'm a wild doll, Serena," the visitor said. "The world is beautiful. Come out and play."
image Serena and the Wild Doll is the story of a doll whose children have grown up. She pretends they are coming for years but is only roused to face the world when a wild doll climbs up to her attic. At first, she rejects the doll's proposal, but later she leaves her familiar house to search for the wild doll in the streets. Together, they see the sights on the back of a fox. The two dolls realize they are sisters and had been made by the same dollmaker years earlier. In the morning, the wild doll advises Serena to "go where the children go." Serena goes to a playground where children find her, but occasionally she slips out in the night to play with the wild doll.

      This story lacks purpose. There is no logic as to why the wild doll suddenly shows up and beckons Serena. The fox is the wild doll's animal friend, but the reader gets the impression that he was created to provide transportation around the town. His presence serves no great purpose to enrich the story. The dolls discover they are sisters, but that part of the plot is not enlarged upon. Serena's personality is flat, as is that of the wild doll. The dolls' adventures are events and do not cause the reader to become involved with the characters. The story relies on florid prose and dark, mysterious illustrations to convey the plot. While they are expertly done, the illustrations alone cannot enliven a story line that is lacking. This is a story that isn't sure what it is about or what message it wants to send.

Not Recommended.

Harriet Zaidman is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364