FannyHolly Hobbie, the author illustrator of Toot & Puddle fame, has a pair of books about a little girl named Fanny. The first in this pair (titled, simply enough, Fanny) is a delightful story about a girl who really, really, really wants a Connie (read: ‘rhymes with Flarbie’) doll, but her mother refuses to get her one because she doesn’t “like the way the Connie dolls look. They’re just too … much.” After pulling the usual child tricks (such as claiming “everybody has one”), she recovers quite quickly. With a creative flair, Fanny sews her own new doll, and proceeds to name her Annabelle.

Fanny is rated Buy It!

When Fanny plays with her two best friends (both of whom have Connie dolls), she brings Annabelle along to play, but her friends make fun of Annabelle, causing Fanny to consider getting rid of her. Fanny decides, rightfully, that Annabelle deserves to be played with just as much as the Connie dolls, and continues to bring her along to play with her two friends who eventually accept and appreciate Annabelle.

In this age of consumerism and commercialism, it is extremely refreshing to see a book that embraces individuality. Fanny struggles with no being allowed to get a Connie doll. But she gets over it quickly enough and sets a great example for young girls. In an effort to avoid suggesting more consumption of goods, I wanted to rate this book as a Renew It Again & Again, but it is really worth owning if you’ve got the means (some versions of the book even come with a make your own paper doll kit). The message is strong, not subtle, but also not overly forced down the readers throat. Plus, after working to write and illustrate greeting cards for much of her life, Hobbie’s got the drawing part down pat.

In the second book in the series (Fanny & Annabelle), Fanny gets creative again when she tries to make the perfect birthday gift (teaching that creative, home-made gifts are often the best kind). It’s a very sweet sequel.