The Ticky-Tacky Doll
Written by: Cynthia Rylant
Illustrated by: Harvey Stevenson
Published: Harcourt, Inc. 2002
First I have to say I LOVE this book! I had never read or seen this book before but while browsing the Cynthia Rylant books at the library I stumbled upon this and was immediately drawn to it due to the colorful drawing of the doll on the front cover.
This is a story about a little girl who has a Ticky-Tacky doll that her grandmama made from scraps of fabric. The little girl takes the doll everywhere but one day the little girl must start school. She has to leave her doll behind and home and is very sad, so sad that she can not do any work. Her grandmama recognizes this sadness and makes her another Ticky-Tacky child but smaller to keep with her.
I love this story for many reasons. The soft yet colorful illustrations invite people to want to read the story. They reflects the sentiment of the story and are ultimately what made me pick the book up to begin with. While reading this I identified very much with this story. Being a kindergarten teacher I have recognized the sadness in leaving what is known to a small child for their first five years to come to school. They are scared, miss home, and many times can use a trinket from home to get them through the beginning of the year. I also know what it is like to have a doll made from scrapes. My grandmother made me a clown doll from many different color fabrics before I was born and I loved that for many years until it started falling apart.
"The little girl loved her ticky-tacky doll and
did not mind its being made from scratch like a buttermilk biscuit."
Although children might not understand this but adults surely will if they have ever seen biscuits being made. I have watched my grandmother make biscuits from scratch and it took a lot of love for them to turn out well. The Ticky-Tacky doll was also made with a lot of love and from pieces of leftovers of other works of art that her Grandmama probably made. Rylant's words also show how much the doll means to the little girl such as when she says "the little girl might as well have been asked to leave her nose behind, or her two ears, or her eyes." This is very dramatic for a doll but for a little girl who loved the doll and it was her best friend it shows just how much the doll means to the little girl.
There is one page in the book where her grandmama knows what is wrong with the little girl and it says she "had lived a long time and knew about loneliness and missing someone." There is a framed picture of a gentlemen. I can only assume that this is the little girls grandfather or someone else in the grandmama's life and I wonder if he is no longer living. Again I don't think a child would pick up on that but it does add to the sentimental aspect of the book.
I have an amazing Grandmother whom I have spent much time with and this book reminds me of her so much. She can always pick up on when something bothers me and was also the person who taught me how to sew. I love sewing and after reading this I looked up to see if anyone had made a Ticky-Tacky doll and or had a pattern. I found several but this was my favorite! I hope to use these instructions to make a Ticky-Tacky doll for my own little girl. I will purchase this book for my own library and hopefully read it to my daughter several times while she holds on to her Ticky-Tacky doll, especially before she starts to school for the first time! I may need to keep the Ticky-Tacky doll with me as I will probably be just as sad if not more than she will be at that time!
I also think this will be a good book to read in Kindergarten or at the beginning of the year for any grade. After reading the story you can invite the children to bring in something from home to share, keep with them, write about, or any activity that you can think of. You could also have the children make some type of Ticky-Tacky doll to display. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)is a big push in many school systems. This activity could go well with that type of teaching!
This is a great book for adults and children. I think it could help ease children's fears of going to school and it pulls at the heart strings of any adult that has started something new, left someone behind, or had a child go off to school leaving them behind.