The Dollmaker of Krakow by R.M. Romero
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: September 12th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Point of View: 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 11+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fantasy, WWII, Friendship, Love
Karolina is a living doll whose king and queen have been overthrown. But when a strange wind spirits her away from the Land of the Dolls, she finds herself in Krakow, Poland, in the company of the Dollmaker, a man with an unusual power and a marked past.
The Dollmaker has learned to keep to himself, but Karolina’s courageous and compassionate manner lead him to smile and to even befriend a violin-playing father and his daughter–that is, once the Dollmaker gets over the shock of realizing a doll is speaking to him.
But their newfound happiness is dashed when Nazi soldiers descend upon Poland. Karolina and the Dollmaker quickly realize that their Jewish friends are in grave danger, and they are determined to help save them, no matter what the risks.
What a heartfelt historical fantasy novel.
Perfect for young readers reluctant of historical fiction, this beautiful and devastating story incorporates delightful magical elements.
Karolina is a doll who lives in the Land of the Dolls, until she wakes up in a doll maker’s shop. She is there because the doll maker needs her help to break out of his shell and connect to living people, not just dolls.
Meanwhile, World War II begins and shatters lives… getting closer and closer and darker and darker. No one can escape it, especially not Jews. And although the doll maker is not Jewish, he and Karolina have befriended a Jewish family they both dread losing.
Like (hopefully) everybody else, I have studied both incredibly horrendous wars at school, and still am for that matter, but I didn’t until I started high school, therefore I find fantastic that we have such historical novels for middle grade readers.
The characters are empathetic and realistic, even the doll. Many times over, I was crossing my fingers, hoping the war wouldn’t ruin all that is beautiful in Krakow, but alas, it wouldn’t be World War II if it didn’t. The characters absolutely did not deserve what came for them, but then again, good people rarely do.
I recommend this to young readers. If I could, I would hop on a bicycle and visit every family to distribute a copy of this book.
*The only thing you have to remember is that it’s slow-paced and not complex enough to expose you to new information about WWII, so it’s highly possible you read about what you already know, i.e. stars worn, concentration camps, cruelty towards Jews, disappearances, invasions, etc. I will admit there were parts I was hoping for more new, stimulating content.
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