Elizabeti watchers her mother care for her baby brother, and wishes she could care for a baby, too. She doesn’t have a doll, but she eventually finds a rock–a perfect rock that “was just the right size to hold”–and names it Eva. Elizabeti uses Eva to mimic her mother, giving Eva a bath, wrapping Eva in a cloth to carry her, changing Eva’s diaper. When Elizabeti goes off to do her chores, Eva becomes lost. Eva’s mother and sister try to console Elizabeti finding her another rock, but Elizabeti rejects it: “the rock was just a rock.” When it is discovered that Eva was just to help form the fire pit that was created for cooking the family’s evening meal, Elizabeti’s mother helps to rescue her, and all is well.
This book not only conveys in very few words–and lovely watercolor illustrations by Christy Hale–the deep emotion children feel toward their beloved objects, it also has elements of drama and suspense, and a satisfying resolution. The book also has an authenticity of culture: Stuve-Bodeen spent time living in Tanzania while in the Peace Corp, and the character o of Elizabeti was inspired by a little girl she met there. Elizabeti’s Doll is followed by two additional picture books, both of which also convey common childhood experiences with a truth and sincerity that will be understood by children in any culture:[openbook booknumber=”ISBN:1584300434″ templatenumber=”5″] [openbook booknumber=”ISBN:1584300027 ” templatenumber=”5″]