Cover image for Cornhusk, silk, and wishbones : a book of dolls from around the world
Cornhusk, silk, and wishbones : a book of dolls from around the world
Markel, Michelle.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., [2000]

Physical Description:
48 pages : color illustrations ; 24 x 27 cm
Examines a variety of dolls throughout the world, discussing how they have been used at different times and how they reflect the cultures that created them.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 6.0 1.0 45292.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GN455.D64 M37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



They are fashioned out of materials as varied as themselves -- wishbones, apples, clay, bread, ivory, palm leaves, and sealskin. They come from the tropics and the tundra, the desert and the mountains, from times of war and times of peace. What they wear tells us of their homes. Their faces are calm, fierce, beautiful, wistful, ugly, inscrutable. Dolls have been cherished throughout time by children all around the world -- children who have carried them, dressed them, and whisperedsecrets to them.
With haunting photographs and a text that speaks poignantly of the time when children must leave their dolls behind, this book captures the uncanny and enduring comfort of dolls.
Michelle Markel wrote this book out of a deep affection for dolls and for folk art. She was given the idea for her book by "a little green and purple doll, an alebrije, in a glass case at a Mexican folk art exhibit." She believes that dolls have the power to lead children into worlds not their own.

Author Notes

Michelle Markel wrote CORNHUSK, SILK, AND WISHBONES out of a deep affection for dolls and for folk art. She believes that dolls have the power to lead children into worlds not their own. She lives in West Hills, California, with her husband and two daughters.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-6, somewhat younger for reading aloud. Two well-designed books celebrate the beauty and history of dolls. In Sitting Pretty, Johnson introduces her own collection of black dolls from Africa, North America, South America, and the Caribbean. Each page presents a single doll or a small group, visually represented by a clear, colorful photograph and verbally, through a short poem expressive of the figure's heritage and demeanor. Two appended pages of notes detail where the dolls came from and, in some cases, who made them. The book's arrangement into three sections, "My Dolls," "Big Sister's Dolls," and " Mama's Dolls" is intended to "speak to the womanchild each of us recognizes in herself at different times in life." Though few will stop to consider the thematic sections, doll lovers, young or old, will pore over these well-designed pages, admiring the colorfully dressed, expressive figures and reflecting on Johnson's verse tributes. Cornhusk, Silk, and Wishbones introduces dolls from African, North American, South American, and Asian cultures. Each photograph of the doll appears on a single page or a double-page spread against a solid-color background. Textual notes on the doll's characteristics, history, and cultural background are printed in black type on a white background. These descriptive notes provide plenty of intriguing information for doll lovers and history buffs. Appendixes include a double-page map indicating the locations where the dolls originated, advice on collecting dolls, and a bibliography. The choice of an alphabetical arrangement, one for each letter of the alphabet, seems arbitrary and adds little to the book. Still, this handsome volume presents a good selection of dolls from museum collections. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dolls whether made with hollow heads to sneak goods across enemy lines during the Civil War or honored by faithful Balinese to please the goddess Dewi SriÄserve as cultural and historical ambassadors in Cornhusk, Silk, and Wishbones: A Book of Dolls from Around the World by Michelle Markel. Illustrated with photos, the A-Z entries run from Akuaba dolls (carried by Ashanti women who need help conceiving) to a Zulu doll (handed by a girl to the boy she hopes to marry). The concept is sound; the design, with its small typeface and staid color accents, looks institutional. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-This attractive alphabet book presents 26 dolls from 5 continents that were created in a variety of time periods, ranging from 1000 B.C.E. to the present. For each letter, the type of doll appears in boldly colored typeface along with a stunning, full-color photograph. The accompanying paragraph includes a description of the figure, discusses its cultural significance, and provides pronunciations for unfamiliar terms. The text is lively and engaging and imparts solid cultural and historical information in a painless manner. A world map and a page about collecting these objects round out the title. This intriguing look at dolls as a reflection of the civilizations that created them is a good complement to more standard pictorial approaches to the topic, such as Caroline Goodfellow's The Ultimate Doll Book (DK, 1993), and an attractive, informational alphabet book.-Ann Welton, Terminal Park Elementary School, Auburn, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.