This story is intended for early middle grade readers and is relatable with a little bit of magic thrown in. Jemima, or Puddle as she is known, helps out in her Mother’s shop and one day discovers Worry Dolls, little dolls made of paper in bright colors. When you go to bed, Puddle’s mom explains, you should put the Worry Dolls under your pillow and tell them your worries. Puddle is skeptical of this idea until she discovers that some Worry Dolls have made their way into her pocket and come home to her room with her. Deciding she has nothing to lose, she gives the Worry Dolls a try and confides her worries to them. Puddle and her best friend, Ally, quickly discover that the Worry Dolls seem to be listening.
The girls watch in amazement as worries such as math tests, lost jewelry, and bullies seem to be taken care of magically. Puddle’s worries quickly dissolve, along with her skepticism, as she confides in her Worry Dolls at night only to find her worries resolved quickly thereafter.
There is no real villain in this story other than “The Scaries” who are the school bullies. “The Scaries” are not actually scary in the story, but they are on the mean side. The story is entertaining, though it felt repetitive at times (Puddle “sighs” and “frowns” an awful lot) and there were some instances of telling rather than showing, but overall, this was a quick and cute read for young readers. I like the lesson of the story that it is good for kids to share their worries with someone, even if it is a paper doll tucked under your pillow. It is always better to share your worries and feelings than to bottle them up inside.
This story came at the perfect time for me. I will be honest and say that it has been a tough couple of weeks for me. From crazy midterms and lengthy research papers to my country going into upheaval over the election to an unexpected death in the family, it has certainly been an unexpectedly stressful November so far. I could use some Worry Dolls of my own right about now! And lucky for me, at the end of the story is a guide to making your own Worry Dolls, which I thought was a cute touch and would be a fun activity for kids to do once they’ve finished reading the story.
I would recommend this story for ages eight to eleven.
My Review: 3 out of 5 stars
One of my favorite passages from the story was when Puddle’s mom explained what Worry Dolls are to Puddle:
Mum smiled. “The Worry Dolls take your worries from you. They fly far away into the night.” Mum fluttered her hands like a flapping bird. Puddle snorted aloud. “Who flies away, the dolls or the worries?” Her Mum laughed and shrugged her shoulders. “Both, I suppose. It just means it helps if you share your worries.” – Andrea Kaczmarek
Yes, it does help to share your worries! If you have young readers in your life, give this book a shot!