The Christmas Doll

The Christmas Doll
Amy Sparkes and Katie Hickey
Walker Entertainment

I have a lot of admiration for Jay Blades having heard him share some of his back story on the radio recently so was especially excited too see him as one of the characters in this seasonal Repair Shop story.

Evie and her great granny Sue, have come to the Repair Shop with a very special doll named Lizzy, who’s in need of some TLC from Jay’s Teddy Bear Ladies. “That is a very beautiful doll. Can you tell me something about her?” he asks Granny Sue. His inquiry transports Sue back to her childhood. She then recounts the story of how she was evacuated as a young girl from London at the beginning of the war in 1939. Sent to stay with the Russells, a husband and wife who treated her with such loving kindness, that by Christmas Eve, the little girl is feeling much more at home. On Christmas Day she can hardly believe her eyes when she discovers a beautifully wrapped present at the end of her bed. Inside is the doll and she names her Lizzy, taking the doll everywhere but thinking that at the end of the day she will have to return her. Imagine her joy when she’s told Lizzy is hers to keep for ever. What a truly magical Christmas.

Eventually however, it’s time for Sue to bid farewell to Mr and Mrs Russell and return to London. Even now, Granny Sue recalls the couple with fondness, going on to explain that Lizzy’s damaged state is on account of all the love and cuddles she’s been given over the years. Enter Amanda and Julie. Lizzy is left in their safe hands while for the next week they work on the precious doll

and Granny Sue is overjoyed with the result of their creative work. But that’s not quite the end of the story: a new chapter in Lizzy’s life is about to begin …

Amy Sparkes has worked her own magic by fashioning the ‘true story of the Christmas doll’ related at the end of the book, into an utterly charming, heartwarming new tale wherein past and present come together seamlessly. The Repair Shop team are immediately recognisable in Katie Hickey’s portrayal and she infuses the scenes of Granny Sue’s childhood memories with a warm glow. Don’t miss the gorgeous endpapers – the front one captures that wonderful community spirit of Jay’s team.

This is a book I see being shared in countless families and classrooms over and over, as part and parcel of the Christmas season.

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