There’s just something about that antique baby doll that Elizabeth finds at a garage sale and buys as a birthday gift for her dad. It’s not just that it’s dressed up in a soldier’s uniform. The doll looks like, well, that it has stories to tell. It does — in fact, “soldier doll” turns out to be the inspiration behind a famous World War I poem of that name. Elizabeth is only the latest link in a long chain of the doll’s owners, reaching back to World War I, going through the Holocaust and World War II, and then on to Vietnam. In alternating chapters, the action moves between Elizabeth’s life and family, in the present, and the different events in the doll’s long life. There is just enough history to put each war into context, and be advised, there is plenty of tragedy and death. But the author manages to maintain a note of hopefulness and uplift. Soldier Doll is not a Jewish story, though it does have Jewish content, but rather the story of war and its ramifications for everyone that is touched by it. Undoubtedly, it will provoke thoughtful discussion.
Recommended for ages 13 – 18.