The Lonely Doll

ISBN: 0395899265
ISBN 13: 9780395899267
By: Dare Wright

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About this book

Once there was a little doll. Her name was Edith. She lived in a nice house and had everything she needed except someone to play with. She was lonely! Then one morning Edith looked into the garden and there stood two bears! Since it was first published in 1957, The Lonely Doll has established itself as a unique children's classic. Through innovative photography Dare Wright brings the world of dolls to life and entertains us with much more than just a story. Edith, the star of the show, is a doll from Wright's childhood, and Wright selected the bear family with the help of her brother. With simple poses and wonderful expressions, the cast of characters is vividly brought to life to tell a story of friendship.

Reader's Thoughts


Hmmm... 5 stars for originality, 1 star for creepy factor. Now, my children didn't pick up on it, but I was a wee bit troubled when Mr. Bear spanks the doll for being naughty. He is kind of the father figure in the book, I suppose, but he's only ever called her "friend." So that kind of weirded me out. Anyone else?This book came recommended from a source I trust, but this was not what I was expecting. I like the idea of taking pictures of dolls and inventing a story around them, but this is hardly the only (or best) representation of that type of illustration. Nancy Willard's The Magic Cornfield does just that; it's absurd, but not disturbing.

Maria Mason

My favorite book as a chold


Dare Wright was one sick puppy (read her biography if you want to know why) and this book radiates perversion--but in the very best way. I never read it when I was a child, and coming to it a few years ago I was dumbfounded that the subtext apparently shot right past mid-century parents, legions of whom thought the book was just the ticket for their sensitive little daughters. But hey, *I'm* not running a kindergarten.The pink-gingham book jacket makes me think of sugar-frosted rat poison.


This was another book in a box from my sister. I almost just logged this and put it in a pile. But I looked through and then read it. This was a wonderful story! I really like the simplicity of it all. Nowadays, I imagine this would be seen as too simple, but it works. It's a good story!A doll is lonely. Along come two bears and the adventures begin. I really like that the photographs. While we have all seen books that use real photos, this is the only one I recall from the 1950s. This book proceeded its time in that regard.A fun little story.


What I read of this book is true. It is a wonderfully imaginative children's book that will captivate children but it also has a slightly dark undercurrent that adults may recognize. The scenes are wonderful, and Edith the doll truly does seem to be alive in several of the images.


I re-read the Lonely Doll series recently. It was not possible to get all the books through my local library, so I dug out my childhood set to page through. Then I thought...perhaps I should purchase a set for my local library? YOWCH!Just an aside: The little girl next door loves the stories, too. Despite criticism by contemporary adult reviewers, the series still has appeal...

Lisa Vegan

This one disturbed me when I was a child, although the pictures were amazing.


I think I'm missing something. This book may not have withstood the test of time. Maybe because this book was written the same year my Mom was born, I'm not going to understand the connection people have with it. It isn't that I'm offended by the spanking or that I disagree with the doll wanting to be a woman. I just don't understand. Is this house abandoned? If so, whose things are these? She lives alone, but she's just a little girl. Maybe she's agoraphobic, but then she wouldn't really be craving companions, would she.


This is the creepiest children's book I've ever seen! Complete with the little doll being spanked by Mr. Bear for being "naughty" and writing on her mirror that he is a "Silly Old Thing." I might bring it home and put in on display at my house for Halloween...except I'm afraid I wouldn't be able to sleep with this book in my house. This is one of those books that are so bad I actually kind of love it because I can't believe that it’s real. I just put the rest of the books that the library owns by this author on hold, I can't wait to see what's in store for the Lonely Doll next...

Shonna Froebel

I had heard the book The Lonely Doll mentioned in a discussion of children's books that people found creepy and decided that I had to see for myself. Then I found that there were a whole series of these books, all around Edith, the Lonely Doll. I ordered some to see what they were like.The stories in these picture books are simple, told in short text with large black and white photographs of the doll and other characters posed in situations, acting out the story. They are quite different, and I didn't find them creepy at all. The first book was originally published in 1957, and that explains the only action in the book that I thought might be an issue, when the doll and her friend Little Bear get spanked after doing something naughty. Given the time period, spanking was quite acceptable as a punishment, although it no longer is. Generally though these books teach lessons by experience, and one sees real affection between the characters. I found them very engaging.The author had a career as a fashion model before becoming a photographer, and I found the fact that she was born in Canada another interesting tidbit.


A childhood favorite (I had a dress to match Edith's).No one could be prettier, kinder, more elegant or sadder than Edith, the lonely doll. Beautiful black and white photos and sprightly text make it easy to feel a kinship with Edith.Years later, I found the story behind the story in The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll by Jean Nathan. It's the story of Edith's creator, Dare Wright, a living lonely doll. She and her brother, both highly creative and talented, were victims of a repressive and suffocating mother. This biography tells the story of her inspiration for The Lonely Doll and the many books that followed it, as well as the surprising, sadly wounded creative spirit who gave Edith life.


This is an oldie but goody. My review is for the whole series: Of course the doll's name, Edith, makes it very dated, but the name is obviously why this book first appealed to me as a child. Then the fact that she is always getting into trouble, often because she doesn't do what she is told; also that she has good intentions, and takes everything personally -- that also resonated with me. But I still like the book for the illustrations - the idea of placing a doll and teddy bear(s) in real home/country settings and using the photographs to help tell the story was always appealing to me, and I emulated the technique in creating a story for my children at least once. Of course the date read is just a guess, and I've read it several times since the first few times way back when.


Never read The Lonely Doll as a kid, somehow acquired a biography of Dare Wright (still unread), saw this displayed in the kiddie section at the library and snatched it up. I read it this morning because I needed to take it back to the library. This is a children's book that involves a story, told through photographs, of a doll who is desperate for friends until one day two bears mysteriously show up. There's a large bear who ends up being a father figure and a little bear who ends up being the doll's partner in crime. The text is simple and brief and the photographs are dreamy black-and-white shots.I think as a kid I would have thought it was just a cute story and been inspired to tell a similar story with my dolls, but as an adult I found it terribly sad and a little creepy. (And it would be creepy even without the oft-mentioned spanking scene.) It's pretty, though.


I never read these books as a child, but I imagine I would have liked them. The photos are beautiful and sad. I didn't feel anything was "off" about it. The doll's playmates act like any other playmates, micking adults and testing boundaries in their own safe world, occasionally getting emotional. I read this to my 3 year old son and he liked it too.

KiKi L'Italien

My daughter's middle name is Dare in honor of this woman. Her books are beautiful, surreal, dark, and lovely. Even when I was a child, I knew there was something a little sad and scary about them. But they were also lovely to look at and I was intrigued by Edith and scared for her. My daughter's room is decorated with black and white images taken from the Lonely Doll. It is rare that I meet anyone who is familiar with her books, but I feel almost like I'm part of some underground society when I do.

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