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Kafka and the Doll



by
Larissa Theule
illustrated by
Rebecca Green

Edition
Hardcover edition
Publisher
Penguin Random House
Imprint
Viking
ISBN
9780593116326
POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None
$17.55
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Inspired by a true story, Kafka and the Doll recounts a remarkable gesture of kindness from one of the world’s most bewildering and iconic writers. In the fall of 1923, Franz Kafka encountered a distraught little girl on a walk in the park. She’d lost her doll and was inconsolable. Kafka told her the doll wasn’t lost, but instead, traveling the world and having grand adventures! And to reassure her, Kafka began delivering letters from the doll to the girl for weeks.

The legend of Kafka and the doll has captivated imaginations for decades as it reveals the playful and compassionate side of a man known for his dark and brooding tales. Kafka and the Doll is a testament to living life to the fullest and to the life-changing power of storytelling.Author’s note. Biographical information about Franz Kafka, with photograph. Bibliography. Full-color illustrations created digitally. 

POTENTIALLY SENSITIVE AREAS
None

Details

Format

Print

Page Count

48

Trim Size

10 1/2' x 8 1/2"

Dewey

E

AR

0: points 0

Genre

Nonfic

Scholastic Reading Counts

0

JLG Release

May 2021

Book Genres

Picture Book

Topics

Franz Kafka (1883–1924). Dolls. Lost and found possessions. Friendship. Imagination. Letters. Berlin, Germany. 

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Cover Art

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Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2–Theule recounts the true story of Kafka, on a walk with his partner Dora, encountering a small girl named Irma crying over the loss of her doll. Kafka transforms the loss of the doll into an adventure. He tells Irma that her doll has gone on a trip and that she has sent a letter, for which he is the “volunteer postman.” Sadly, he has left the letter in an overcoat at home. Irma is astounded, but is back at the park the next day awaiting him. Thus begins a series of days, turned into weeks of letters detailing the doll’s travels. from having tea in England with Peter Rabbit to walking with Gaudi in Barcelona. Kafka, very ill, produces a final letter stating that the doll has gone on an expedition to Antarctica. The last image is of a grown Irma riding a camel, and with her are copies of Kafka’s novels. Based on true events told to Kafka’s biographer, Theule fills in the gaps with a conversational narrative, while the old-fashioned illustrations, on parchment-colored paper, deftly wind scenes of the doll with the interactions between Kafka and Irma. All the characters, real and imagined, are white. While the importance of Kafka in literature may not yet resonate with the picture-book demographic, this charmingly enhanced tale otherwise has it all: the kindness of a stranger, the loss of a beloved toy, adventures, and even closure. Back matter includes the author’s notes on her changes to the tale, a brief biography of Kafka, and a short bibiliography. VERDICT A winsome tale for the young, this could also be of value in high school collections where Kafka is taught.–Katie Llera, Bound Brook Elem. Sch., NJ

Praise & Reviews

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2–Theule recounts the true story of Kafka, on a walk with his partner Dora, encountering a small girl named Irma crying over the loss of her doll. Kafka transforms the loss of the doll into an adventure. He tells Irma that her doll has gone on a trip and that she has sent a letter, for which he is the “volunteer postman.” Sadly, he has left the letter in an overcoat at home. Irma is astounded, but is back at the park the next day awaiting him. Thus begins a series of days, turned into weeks of letters detailing the doll’s travels. from having tea in England with Peter Rabbit to walking with Gaudi in Barcelona. Kafka, very ill, produces a final letter stating that the doll has gone on an expedition to Antarctica. The last image is of a grown Irma riding a camel, and with her are copies of Kafka’s novels. Based on true events told to Kafka’s biographer, Theule fills in the gaps with a conversational narrative, while the old-fashioned illustrations, on parchment-colored paper, deftly wind scenes of the doll with the interactions between Kafka and Irma. All the characters, real and imagined, are white. While the importance of Kafka in literature may not yet resonate with the picture-book demographic, this charmingly enhanced tale otherwise has it all: the kindness of a stranger, the loss of a beloved toy, adventures, and even closure. Back matter includes the author’s notes on her changes to the tale, a brief biography of Kafka, and a short bibiliography. VERDICT A winsome tale for the young, this could also be of value in high school collections where Kafka is taught.–Katie Llera, Bound Brook Elem. Sch., NJ

Grades 2-6
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