I just finished a kid’s book titled Return of the Twelves. It’s about a set of wooden soldiers once owned by Branwell Bronte and his sisters. The soldiers are alive and the little boy who finds them watches over them as one of their Genii (plural for genius).
When you’re a child small things are so appealing; this is why the sandtray is the most popular (and powerful) toy in my whole office. You can make a whole world in there and most of the kids take intense pride in how “real” they can make it look. The setting up — place each thing exactly where it ought to go next to the exact thing it should stand besides — is very nearly more fun than playing with it afterwards. Do you remember doing that? Setting your toys up and then gazing at them with satisfaction? Most of the kids who come to my office like to take pictures of their set up sandtray on their parents’ phone so they can take it home and share it with other family members. I usually take pictures, too, and make them part of my case notes.
Anyway, reading Return of the Twelve made me think about the other books like that and I came up with an incomplete list.
- The Borrowers series;
- The Littles (although I never liked those being a purist and thinking they just ripped off The Borrowers);
- The Indian in the Cupboard;
- Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, which every miniature lover ought to read because of the Festival of the Dolls scene. Rumer Godden wrote a number of other doll books, too, and it’s worth looking for them. The list includes The Doll’s House, a much darker miniature fantasy;
- Mistress Masham’s Repose features an imperfect little girl as the main character so I actually didn’t like it as a kid. I liked my heroes properly appealling. I like it much better now that I’m grown;
- I think you could make an argument to include Beverly Cleary’s The Mouse and the Motorcycle series.
Which others do you remember?