Detroit Jewish News, November 2005
A charming book chronicles a group of dolls who journey from the United States to Israel...
The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel by Abraham Regelson. Copyright 2004, published by Biblio Books, 102 pages, Paperback, $12, available at: http://www.bibliobooks.com/dollsjourney.html and
The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel [the Land of Israel] is a delightful book about a girl named Sharona and her nine dolls.
Interestingly, the book really began many years ago as a series of short stories in the Israel newspaper Davar. It is compiled here for the first time in book form in English.
As the dolls' journey begins in 1933, Sharona and her family are moving to Israel. Bringing all those dolls with them would be too much, her father says, so Sharona gives them to her friend, Phyllis.
Phyllis offers the dolls a nice home, but they are terribly sad without their Sharona. (In fact, they are a bit demanding when it comes to reuniting with Sharona who, they assert, is their "true imma [mother]." They actually insist they be taken to her. So kind little Phyllis finds a car to take the dolls to New York, after which they will board a ship bound for Israel. And so the journey begins.
At the end of the first day to New York, the dolls stop at a dreadful restaurant that sells nothing but coffee. Then the dolls' driver, Viking, sees that his car is broken. Viking tries to fix it, but he cannot. Fortunately, Orville Wright himself comes along and takes the dolls to Sharona's aunt's house in New York. After a few days, Sharona's aunt takes the dolls to their boat and they say their goodbyes.
Safely aboard the boat, they make it to Israel, where they go live with Sharona. They celebrate a wonderful Chanukah, have a party and plant a splendid garden. The dolls are happy to at last be in Israel.
This is an endearing little book, with a collection of characters who love each other very much, despite the great challenges of traveling together (yes, the comparisons to real immigrants are obvious). Girls - and boys, too - from about age 8 to 13 will love this story, which is both a nice tale and well-written.
As compelling as the story is an introduction by Sharona Regelson Tel-Oren, who translated the book, and is the real Sharona, and the author's daughter. She writes of her childhood home life (her mother's kitchen was "resounding with the music of cantorial twirls while she concocted unimaginably unique vegetarian delicacies) and of others who loved this book, including the late Israeli singer Naomi Shemer, who cited it as her favorite childhood book.