Thursday, September 29, 2016

Goddd* (for Godden, Goddess*, etc.)

In a recent posting about the book Tomboy's Doll by Charlotte Steiner, I mentioned a critical review in Kirkus, which itself mentioned the 1954 classic by kidlit goddess Rumer Godden: "How much wiser is Impunity Jane?" testily asks the reviewer. True enough, to be sure, but a little misleading, perhaps, since Tommy and William (in William's Doll by Charlotte Zolotow) are people, and Jane (and Amanda) are dolls. But just like in the 1972 Zolotow book, the human friend of Impunity Jane is a boy, not a girl. Set in Victorian England, it's the story of a lonely dollhouse doll that winds up in the pocket of a young lad named Gideon, who is endowed with the ability to "hear doll wishes" and decides to take her on some exciting adventures with his pals. He is predictably teased for being a "sissy," but Jane manages to win over the little gang of haters, and eventually her pocket protector sadly but dutifully returns her to her original owner. There is nothing distasteful, wrong, or politically incorrect about dolls per se, as I hope we have demonstrated here, and they should be loved more and by more people, not less or fewer. But for Godden's sake, let's at least try and spell everybody's name right. There were two instances of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 54 in WorldCat.

(Illustration from Impunity Jane, by Rumer Godden, taken from the web.)

Carol Reid

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