Friday, June 25, 2010

The Best-Loved Doll

Rebecca Caudill 1962
pictures by Elliott Gilbert

Such a sweet vintage story especially appreciated by little girls.  Betsy gets invited to a party and must choose which of her dolls to bring.  The dolls talk amongst themselves, deciding which of them is the oldest, most beautifully dressed, etc..  And they talk about what happens at parties.

"You eat cake at parties," said Mary Jane.  "Remember Betsy brought us a pinch of cake from the last party?  Wrapped in a pink paper napkin?"

"You aren't my oldest doll, Jennifer," said Betsy.  "Your dress is a fright.  And you can't do a single thing.  But I do love you, dear Jennifer."

Betsy decides to bring  her best loved doll, Jennifer, even though her nose is cracked, her dress is worn and she has tape on her cheeks. 

Jennifer smiled.  "That's because I've played so hard all my life," she said.

At the party, prizes are given to the oldest doll, the best dressed doll and the doll who can do the most.  When Mrs. Anderson sees Jennifer (and how much Betsy loves her) she makes a special prize, a medal, for the "Best-loved doll". 

"There will be one more prize," said Mrs. Anderson.
"Another prize?" said Susan.  "What for?"
"For something important," said Mrs. Anderson.  "Something I didn't think of before."

The twelve dolls sat on the floor around a low stool.  The stool was set with Susan's blue willow doll dishes.  At each of the twelve places was a tiny pink-frosted cupcake.  Beside each cupcake was a tiny doll fan.


  1. I read this book in the 3rd grade and I always wanted to find it again! I loved it so much it was great!!!!

  2. I loved this book when I was a kid. Oh, and now, too! I recently found a copy of this gem at a thrift store and I actually had butterflies in my stomach, I was so excited! Thank you for posting this and for including photos of the illustrations.

  3. The best book ever!!!!! I learned to love reading because of this book!!!