Monday, January 14, 2013

The Racketty-Packetty House (1906)

The Racketty-Packetty House. Frances Hodgson Burnett. Illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin. 1906/2006. Simon & Schuster. 96 pages.

Now this is the story about the doll family I liked and the doll family I didn't. When you read it you are to remember something I am going to tell you. This is it: If you think dolls never do anything you don't see them do, you are very much mistaken. When people are not looking at them they can do anything they choose. They can dance and sing and play on the piano and have all sorts of fun. But they can only move about and talk when people turn their backs and are not looking. If anyone looks, they just stop. Fairies know this and of course Fairies visit in all the dolls' houses where the dolls are agreeable.

The Racketty Packetty House tells the story of how a fairy, Queen Crosspatch, saved a family of dolls and their house. Cynthia is the disagreeable little girl who wants her old dolls and dollhouse burned when she is given a brand new dollhouse and dolls. Racketty-Packetty house is first saved by neglect. The nurse puts the dollhouse behind the door and places an armchair nearby which keeps the dollhouse out of the little girl's view. You might think the dolls would be upset or hurt by their displacement. They've been rejected by Cynthia, and they've heard the worst: she thinks they're only fit for the fire. But. These are joyful, optimistic dolls who are never gloomy. No matter the situation, they will find something to rejoice about. Perhaps their good-nature is one reason why the fairies love to visit this doll family so very much. The fairies are always watching out for them and are prepared to do what they can to save them...

I really enjoyed this delightful children's story. It has fairies AND dolls, not to mention a couple of good morals mixed in. I think my favorite part was when Peter Piper, one of the old dolls falls in love with Lady Patsy, one of the new dolls. He woos her and is successful! It was also interesting to catch a glimpse of their play. One day Cynthia pretends everyone in her new dollhouse is dreadfully ill with scarlet fever. She keeps playing that they're getting worse and worse, etc. And then very suddenly she stops playing, leaves the room 'leaving the dolls to their fate'. The old dolls decide to go and 'nurse' the new dolls back to health. There were plenty of scenes to delight.

If you're interested in reading this one with its illustrations, it can be found online here

Read The Racketty-Packetty House
  • If you like children's classics
  • If you like dolls and dollhouses
  • If you like fairies and fantasy literature
  • If you enjoy the work of Frances Hodgson Burnett

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

amanda @ simplerpastimes said...

This sounds charming! I've read other of Butnett's books, but had never even heard of this one. I'll have to look out for it.