Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

February 27, 2013

Does anyone besides my friends from Hawaii know about Girl's Day? Otherwise known as Hinamatsuri, or the Doll Festival OR the Peach Festival, this celebration is held every year on March 3. (not to be confused with Children's Day, which is a Japanese national holiday held on May 5th.) Apparently Japan has a lot of kid holidays and THAT'S RAD.

It's basically a day to celebrate little girls, and their safe upbringing! I can tell you, that's pretty much all I hope for, for Julia to make it to adulthood in one piece. And with my sanity intact. That's not asking for too much is it?

So since I like Japanese stuff and I like my daughter, and also dolls, we're celebrating Girl's Day! Typically, special and fancy ceremonial Japanese dolls, which are passed down from grandmas to mothers to daughters, are set out and displayed. A typical display consists of about 15 dolls.

We have um, maybe 3? If you count our Japanese kokeshi doll eraser. AND I DO.

Super sweet reader Colleen wrote me and asked if I knew about the book 'Miss Happiness and Miss Flower' by Rumer Godden. I got our copy, with illustrations by Jean Primrose, from the library. That edition seems to be $60 and up for even a used copy. This version is more reasonable, but I haven't seen it or the art.

Actually I had known about it and buried it somewhere in my Pinterest boards, but I had totally forgotten all about its existence. So basically, Colleen made my whole month happy by suggesting I check out the book, because I did, and Julia and I read it and....

AAAAAAH it's so awesome!!!!!

Ok, here's the real deal. I think I got away with Julia sitting for this one because she's been royally sick for the past week and a half. It's oh so slightly too old for her. This book would have ROCKED MY SOCKS off when I was about 8 or 9.

But it's FABULOUS. A motherless little girl from India is sent to live with her English cousins, and she receives two beautiful and magical Japanese dolls. The rest of the story is about how she and her cousins create an amazing Japanese doll house for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (the dolls) to live in.

OH, and her cousin Belinda is a LITTLE PUNK, who is awful. (but she learns to be less awful.)

It reminds me a bit of  'A Little Princess' in tone. If I had read this when I was a little girl, it would have been one of my favorite books.

At the end, there are REAL DOLL HOUSE PLANS, like with carpentry specifics, to make a real Japanese doll house with sliding doors and whatnot.

This was the version Julia was inspired to make. It may not hold up as well as a real wood dollhouse but I think her effort is both admirable and adorable.

Also, anything will hold together if you throw enough tape on it, I've discovered.

So hurray for Girl's Day! On Friday, I'll show you some Japanese treats we got last weekend.




25 comments:

  1. This was my FAVOURITE book as a little girl. Partly because I was doll crazy, partly because March 3rd is my birthday, partly because it is such a perfect book. Does it go into making beds from pencil cases? Were they Japanese ones with roll top tops? I can't remember. Check out Little Peach too, I think its a sort of sequel, about finding a baby doll inside a peach instead of a stone. Based on a Japanese folk tale, I think. The edition I had, had the illustrations you show here, wow, it is SO nice to see them.

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    1. Yes it does go into that whole deal about the pencil cases with the roll tops ~ Nona (the little girl) use it as a cabinet to store the doll quilts! It's so darling!

      Are you thinking of Little Plum? I think that's the sequel, set a few years ahead when Belinda is 8. I can't wait to read that one now!!

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    2. Oh sorry, it must be Little Plum. I hope its still in print!

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  2. OMG seriously brilliant. I had no idea. I'm saving this post so I can remind myself to celebrate Girl Day with my daughter some day. Thanks for the inspiration sweetie.

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    1. Oh you are SO welcome! I really like celebrating pretty much any holiday that calls for pretty flowers, dolls and fun things!

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  3. Don't you love it when you find the perfect book?

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    1. It makes my heart beast faster Leanne! I LOVE IT!

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  4. Loved this book as a child, so good to be reminded of it! And I love your dolls house Julia. Have posted about this on twitter and lots of others enjoying the reminder too (can't find you on Twitter, do you use it?)

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    1. I'm so glad so many of you remember it fondly, I really wish I had read it as a young girl because I know it just would have been on eternal re-read mode, but hey better late than never.


      I think I might be the only blogger on earth NOT on Twitter, I've been meaning to join and just haven't yet. Thank you so much for sharing it there!

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  5. Wow! This sounds awesome! And what a beautiful bright little book! Audrey would love this since she's into Japanese things too (Has Julia seen the SNL skits "JPop America Fun Time Now?" Audrey cracks up at those....we tend to find ourselves laugh 'hehehehehehe Ooooooh...' but I digress...)

    I have two little soft body dolls that I think are supposed to be Chinese that were my mom's, probably from the early to mid 60s. This book so reminds me of them! Now I'll have to dig them out...

    and I love a book about Doll houses and dolls. I still remember the first chapter book I ever read was "Hitty: Her first hundred years." I think that set the tone of my reading loves from there on out!

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    1. I have not seen those SNL skits but I'll check them out PRONTO, that sounds hilarious, esp since I am now naming pinterest boards Happy Fun Time and whatnot!

      I pretty much will read any book about a doll and a dollhouse, any time or anywhere.

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    2. hehe, cant wait to hear what you think of them ;)

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  6. Oh, everything about this post is LOVELY. (Except for poor Julia being sick - poor sweetie, I hope she gets over it soon!) I just put the book on hold via the library. I think it's the same version, too. Julia's dollhouse is quite sweet. (I second Heather on the JPop America Fun Time Now sketches. We like to tease my brother about them, since he is all-Japanese-stuff, all-the-time.)

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    1. Ok I have GOT to check those skits out! And I'm thrilled you're going to be able to get your hands on this book!

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  7. Oh what a beautiful book! I really want to read it! Thanks for the suggestion :) I hope Julia will feel better soon! Kiss and hugs to your little girl!

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    1. Thank you Cherie! She is slowly on the mend. Bronchitis, a bit of sinus infection, a bit of ear infection. I can't WAIT for spring!

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    2. That's a lot for anybody to handle, let alone a little girl! I hope she recovers quickly!

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  8. New book- new holiday- gosh, I learn all kinds of new stuff over here! I'm really wanting to start into the world of creating a doll house for our house... there are so many options I'm having a hard time deciding where to begin...

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    1. We are indeed a temple of learning here. Yes indeed.

      :)

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  9. GIRL'S DAY! Cool holiday! And what a lovely book, would have been a fave when I was little too!

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  10. My son's Japanese teacher in his Montessori School (in Hawaii) put up such a nice display of the girls in class today for Girl's Day, it was so super sweet! This book looks amazing, good find!

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    1. AW MAN, I wish I could see! Hawaii celebrates cool holidays too. Like Prince Kuhio Day and King Kamehameha Day, which I believe we used to get off from school, which was so AWESOME!!

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  11. That book makes my heart sing. I'd love someone like that for my future babies.

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    1. Dude, you are going to be SO SET when you have kiddos someday! you're going to be Ultra-Prepared-Reading-Dad :)

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Comments TOTALLY make my day! Let's keep everything friendly and polite and 'use our tea party manners :)

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