Charles

charles

By Liesel Moak Skorpen, Pictures by Martha Alexander

Harper & Row, 1971

When Charles felt like quiet times, the girl blew her horn and beat her drum or brushed him with a bristly brush singing loud songs that he didn’t like. When Charles felt like doing things, she said he was sick and put him to bed. She poked a thermometer in his eye and dribbled sugar water down his chin.

Books are all the much better when they’re inscribed. I always appreciate opening this tiny book, a Christmas gift for me when I was five, and and seeing “with love” so carefully penned in my grandparents’ handwriting.  Charles is the story of a toy bear who wants to “belong to someone.” That someone is, at first, a spoiled, insensitive girl. Luckily, she trades Charles to a kind-hearted boy whose mother knits matching blue sweaters for them. No one can draw angry girls better than Martha Alexander and this book is largely responsible for my deep-seated suspicion? Belief? that stuffed animals and dolls most certainly have feelings, too.

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