R is for Reading

I saw a terrific idea for counting down to Christmas day with children. First you wrap up a book for each day leading up to Christmas. They can be new books, used books, books from the library, or even books that you already have at home. Each day, the children get to open one wrapped book and then it is read aloud for the family. It’s a little surprise to look forward to each day and a nice time of sharing.

The magic of books (photo courtesy of Pixabay)

I remember the wonderful world that books opened for me. Slowly, my personal library grew with books received as birthday and Christmas gifts. I still have some of my childhood favorites.

I asked Toni if she would like me to read a Christmas story to her. “I can read on my own,” she declared. I guess she thought she was too old to have stories read aloud to her. Oh well, at least she was interested in reading. I got out some of my fifty-year-old children’s books for her to choose from.

She picked out A Is For Annabelle to read. I suggested that she share it with the Christmas Bear. They had become very friendly sitting under the Christmas tree together.

She had already started reading the ABC book, but stopped for the bear to join her. She started over from the beginning, “A is for Annabelle, Grandmother’s doll.” She continued on through “B for her box on the chest in the hall.” She turned the pages slowly, looking at every detail of Annabelle’s dresses, the box for keeping the dresses in, the fan, the gloves, the hat with its “elegant feather,” and all the way to the end which was “Z is her zither.”

Toni reading to her friend, the Christmas Bear.

Since she enjoyed it so much, I brought the little white bear over to hear it. She obligingly read it again.

Toni reading A Is For Annabelle.

I told her that tomorrow, she could choose a different book to read. “Are there anymore stories about Annabelle?” she asked. I didn’t have any other Tasha Tudor’s books on hand, so maybe a trip to the library in January would take care of that.

“I have ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas but let’s save that one to read on Christmas Eve,” I said. It had beautiful illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith.

Collector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls

amazon toni doll books
Book covers courtesy of Amazon. More about these below.

If you want to get more information about your Toni doll and other dolls made by Ideal, you’ll want to consult the Collector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls. You’ll find copies of the second edition and third edition on Amazon and possibly eBay.

Keep in mind, that the third edition came out in 2003, so it’s already 15 years old. The book is great for identification purposes and finding out the details of when your doll was made by Ideal. For pricing, the fluctuation in values of collectible dolls changes over the years so consider the information on that as historical purposes only.

Collector's Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Value GuideCollector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Value GuideCollector's Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Values, 3rd EditionCollector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Values, 3rd Edition

What the Reviewers Said About the Guides

  • 4bonbon – “This is a LOVELY, hardback, glossy cover book with excellent photos and descriptions of dolls made by the Ideal Toy Company. I had collected dolls for many years and had some antique dolls that I was unable to identify until I got this book. It gave me the manufacturer, a photo of the doll, its history and helped me immensely when I had to downsize my collection and sell it on E-Bay. Using information from this book, I was confident in my selling endeavor, knowing I was using an accurate description and history of the doll. I found information in this book that I could not find any other place. After all my dolls sold, I even re-sold this book and it had great re-sale interest! I so enjoyed owning this book, because my friends and I identified many dolls we had as children that we didn’t remember the names of and we had a great “walk down memory lane”. If you are a doll collector or miss the dolls of your youth, this book is for you! Highly recommend!
  • Owl Glasses – “Collector’s Guide to Ideal Dolls: Identification & Values, 3rd Edition is a pure pleasure for the Ideal doll collector or anyone who would like to relive a little childhood nostalgia. It is a gorgeous book that is generously sized and filled with colorful photographs on nearly every page. Having owned two other editions of Ideal Dolls, the Third Edition is my personal favorite. Readers will find detailed information on hundreds of Ideal dolls, even those that are exceedingly rare, or those that were of limited production.Ideal Dolls is useful for collectors as a reference guide for identifying Ideal dolls, and genuine original clothing. The book is essential for seamstresses wishing to recreate authentic looking reproductions in garments. **Please note–that reproduction garments which are intended for sale must always be identified as such.

    Price estimates may help to orient newer Ideal doll collectors regarding scarcity and rarity of certain dolls such as hair color, unusual garments, etc. Even the most avid Ideal Doll collectors will find new information and variations in their favorite dolls in this very impressive book.

    The first pages of the book document the history of Ideal dolls, years of manufacture, and materials used. The appendix in the back is extremely helpful as it describes Ideal stamps on the dolls, and the corresponding years respective to the production of various dolls.”

(Reviews from Amazon)

Here are other books that cover dolls of that era, so they will include the Toni doll.

Baby Boomer Dolls Plastic Playthings of the 50's & 60's, Second EditionBaby Boomer Dolls Plastic Playthings of the 50’s & 60’s, Second EditionView DetailsHard Plastic Dolls, Vol. 1 (Revised)Hard Plastic Dolls, Vol. 1 (Revised)View DetailsCollector's Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s: Identification & ValuesCollector’s Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s: Identification & ValuesView DetailsCollector's Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s: Identification and Values, Vol. 2Collector’s Guide to Dolls of the 1960s and 1970s: Identification and Values, Vol. 2View DetailsDolls And Accessories of the 1950s (Schiffer Book for Collectors)Dolls And Accessories of the 1950s (Schiffer Book for Collectors)View Details


A Is for Annabelle

Tasha Tudor’s Classic Picture Book

Who can resist Tasha Tudor’s lovely illustrations? This ABC book starts with Annabelle, the antique doll, and goes on to show her bonnet, cape, and wonderful clothes and accessories.

I loved this book when I was a child. The idea of a doll having her own trunk and accessories like bonnets, fans, and gloves really intrigued me back in the late 1950s. Everyone was getting those ballerina dolls, but I wanted an old-fashioned doll just like Annabelle. My mother must have liked it too, as she sewed up a wardrobe from scraps to transform my sister’s Toni doll into one like Annabelle.

Treat your little one to A Is for Annabelle and start them on the path to enjoying and treasuring things from the past.


The photo above shows a display in my living room back in the 1970s. There’s Toni in her silky, flowered dress. It’s one that Annabelle from the Tasha Tudor would have looked just fine in. On the Toni doll’s head is a straw hat that I found for her in Colonial Williamsburg. She’s wearing a shawl of pink embroidered silk (actually, it’s a silk handkerchief folded in half).

Here’s a trunk for your doll’s clothing

Annabelle had a vintage trunk to keep her lovely dresses in. I thought it was marvelous. You can find vintage-style trunks, either humpback or square at places like Michaels or on Amazon. For actual vintage doll trunks, your best bet is Etsy or eBay. Check at yard sales as well but that can take a long time to find the right thing.


The trunks shown here are from Etsy. The curved-top trunk is posted to Etsy by Malleencoin and you can read more about the red doll trunk there. The other trunk is a wardrobe style trunk as it has drawers and a place to hang the doll dresses. It is available from OldTrunksDotCom on Etsy.  Either one would make a great place to store my Toni doll’s clothes.

Amazon carries books about Tasha Tudor’s interesting life. She dressed herself and her children in clothing styles from a previous century. They lived a lifestyle that New Englanders of long ago lived. This provided the inspiration for her painting and her books.

Playing With Dolls Card

Playing With Dolls Card
by tnmpastperfect


This is the first post for the April A to Z Blog Challenge. Please return for B Is for Ballerina, C Is for a Cone Princess Hat (a craft tutorial), and the rest of the alphabet.