JEWISH RENAISSANCE MAGAZINE, LONDON, OCTOBER 2005
THE DOLLS' JOURNEY TO ERETZ-ISRAEL
By Abraham Regelson
Illustrations by Nahum Gutman, Aryeh Navon, Bina Gevirtz and others
Biblio Books, 208 pages pb $12
This book is a semi-autobiographical story, but the author uses the dolls as the people to tell about his family's journey when they tried to make aliya in 1933, before the State of Israel existed.
In the prologue, which his daughter Sharona wrote, we learn that her favourite doll collection was left behind with her upstairs neighbor Phyllis, who didn't want to keep the dolls. They were sent off in a package to Tel-Aviv to find their Imma Sharona.
This is where the story of the journey begins. It is a very hard and interesting journey. There are nine dolls: Ruth, Popeye, Leah, Thingumbob, Riveleh, Bitya, Shoshana, Miriam/Esther and Shulamit. As they go, here are some of the things they have a problem with They had a tipsy driver called Viking who enjoyed drinking a lot of wine and got the dolls lost in circles. They come upon a big bunch of mosquitoes, an angry elephant at the zoo, and are rescued by Orville Wright. When the dolls were starving, the only place they could find to eat in was 'The Black Coffeepot'. And all there was to have there was literally black coffee. So they drank black coffee.
My favorite part is where they saw the angry elephant. Popeye did a wiggly dance and upset the elephant. So the elephant started banging on the bars of the cage and pushed the bars down. The elephant started chasing Popeye around the street and Thingumbob jumped right on to the elephant's back and Popeye crashed through the glass to a Ladies' Department Store. Popeye hid until the zookeepers came to return the elephant to his cage. Fact or fiction???
The writing style is a little different than usual writing. For example, it uses more old-fashioned words like 'dwell' or instead of 'Sharona said' it says 'Said Sharona'
I recommend this book to lots of different ages, from 6 to adult because it is a really fun to read story. I think my mum enjoyed it as much as me.
ISABEL BENJAMIN, Age 8
[The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel was originally published in 1935 as separate chapters in the children's supplement of the newspaper Davar. A classic in Israel, it was recently released and translated from Hebrew by the author's daughter Sharona (Regelson) Tel-Oren. Her sister Naomi translated the verses.]