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Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

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When Nona is sent from her home in India to live with her relatives in England, she is miserable. Then a box arrives for her and inside are two little Japanese dolls. Nona thinks that they must feel lonely too, so far away from home. Then, Nona has an idea - she will build her dolls the perfect house!


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When Nona is sent from her home in India to live with her relatives in England, she is miserable. Then a box arrives for her and inside are two little Japanese dolls. Nona thinks that they must feel lonely too, so far away from home. Then, Nona has an idea - she will build her dolls the perfect house!

30 review for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower

  1. 4 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    This book helped me through one of the hardest times in my childhood. Long story, but when we emigrated from Canada to New Zealand, we shifted around a little bit before moving to the Eastern Suburbs of Auckland. At school, once the novelty of having a foreigner in their midst wore off, I just didn't fit in. My determination to hold on to my Canadian accent didn't help. My sisters, both younger than me, shed their accents easily, but I stayed awkward and out of place. So this story really resonate This book helped me through one of the hardest times in my childhood. Long story, but when we emigrated from Canada to New Zealand, we shifted around a little bit before moving to the Eastern Suburbs of Auckland. At school, once the novelty of having a foreigner in their midst wore off, I just didn't fit in. My determination to hold on to my Canadian accent didn't help. My sisters, both younger than me, shed their accents easily, but I stayed awkward and out of place. So this story really resonated with me. Like eight year old Nona, no one asked me if I wanted to go. (although I didn't understand the huge distance we were going - my memory is that unlike Nona I was quite happy about it) Nona is quite desperately homesick for India as well as bewildered by strange English food and customs and while her aunt, uncle and two older cousins are reasonably sympathetic, seven year old Belinda is a brusque bully. But Nona's world changes when the girls are sent two secondhand Japanese dolls from the States (the third doll is missing from the parcel) The other girls aren't interested, so Mother says Nona can have both dolls and so Nona's learning journey begins. Miss Happiness (glass half full personality) & Miss Flower (glass half empty and the glass will never, ever be full again!) can communicate with each other and they watch with increasing hope, as Nona makes friends and learns about Japan and it's customs, so she can give her dolls a home they can love. But unfortunately one person isn't happy... I was 10 years old again and cried right through this. I strongly recommend that you hold out for one of the older editions illustrated by Jean Primrose; - the delicate charm of Primrose's drawings add so much to this story and I gather that newer editions don't have instructions on how to make the doll's house (whyyyy???) I hope the new books at least show all the work and background detail that went into this book and how many people helped to bring it together. To the joyless PC brigade who say cultural misappropriation - very sorry but there are children like me who don't fit into a neat & tidy box. Please allow me a happy childhood memory from a more innocent time. :) https://wordpress.com/view/carolshess...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    In case you've missed my other comments about Rumer Godden's childrens' books, here are the basics. I love her children's books just as much as her novels for adults. Godden has a knack for incorporating local culture, awkward and unappreciated people, and interesting plot with a lovely prose style. She is unafraid to have her characters behave naturally which means that a story's crisis points will often leave readers feeling very uncomfortable because they recognize the behavior so well and dr In case you've missed my other comments about Rumer Godden's childrens' books, here are the basics. I love her children's books just as much as her novels for adults. Godden has a knack for incorporating local culture, awkward and unappreciated people, and interesting plot with a lovely prose style. She is unafraid to have her characters behave naturally which means that a story's crisis points will often leave readers feeling very uncomfortable because they recognize the behavior so well and dread the consequences thereof. Godden also is good at avoiding the "nice" sentimentality which can pervade children's books. Her world is always very real. This is one of those Godden books whose name I see come up repeatedly. There are many of Godden's familiar themes apparent both in the details of the children's self-appointed task and bonding and the idea of having to adapt to a foreign culture. However, what makes this story really spring alive is that we are allowed into Miss Happiness' and MIss Flower's thoughts and conversation. I believe they would say, "Honorable Miss Godden!"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Although the presented details on Japan and especially Japanese spiritual, living and furniture culture are most definitely interesting and even enlightening (but I do have to wonder a bit if at least some of this information might not also be potentially culturally stereotypical), when I was reading Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, I was actually and personally feeling so repeatedly annoyed, so frustrated and emotionally uncomfortable that (and even though I do feel more than a tr Although the presented details on Japan and especially Japanese spiritual, living and furniture culture are most definitely interesting and even enlightening (but I do have to wonder a bit if at least some of this information might not also be potentially culturally stereotypical), when I was reading Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, I was actually and personally feeling so repeatedly annoyed, so frustrated and emotionally uncomfortable that (and even though I do feel more than a trifle guilty regarding this) I can only consider a one star rating at best (almost a two star ranking, as the details regarding Japanese houses, Japanese cultural practices I do find most intriguing, but still not quite, as there are two main problems, two massively and personally infuriating issues with Miss Happiness and Miss Flower that have just and completely, utterly rubbed and still continue to rub me the wrong proverbial way). As an immigrant to Canada from Germany (my family moved to Calgary, Alberta in 1976 when I was ten years old) and as someone for whom the immigration process was very difficult at times and required much adjustment and careful consideration, I am having huge issues with the fact that when the family (a British family in England) receives the two Japanese dolls, they basically completely create a "Little Japan" domicile, a totally and entirely Japanese dollhouse for them, and as such one that is not at all British but one hundred percent Japanese. Now do not get me wrong, I actually think that having a Japanese inspired doll house for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (who are clearly described as being culturally homesick) would have been a positive, but as an immigrant who did have to adjust to Canadian culture and such when my family moved from Germany to Canada, I for one think that the dollhouse Tom, Nona et al create and build for the two Japanese dolls, for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, should have really been a combination of both Japanese and British inspired culture, living spaces and furniture (which would have given the two dolls a feeling of home, of Japan, but would also be introducing them, getting them used to British life and traditions). For as interesting and yes as sweet as seeing Nona blossom whilst creating a typical Japanese dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, the "adapt to your country of residence" and the "embrace the culture of the country to which you immigrate" part of myself was and remains most uncomfortable with the dollhouse ending up being so one hundred percent Japanese in scope and feel (as for me, the perfect dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, seeing that they are now residing in England, would have been a fusion of Japanese and British, just like my own personal immigrant to Canada culture and lifestyle are a combination of German and Canadian). Now all the above being said, I probably still would have considered Miss Happiness and Miss Flower with a low three star rating, had I found the British family to which young Nona is sent more appealing and less annoyingly dysfunctional. When I first started reading the novel, I did and massively so find the youngest daughter (Belinda) absolutely loathsome and anger-inducing, until I (very quickly) realised that she (who had been the youngest, who had been the treasured and I guess spoiled pet of the family) is now being consistently ignored by all and sundry ever since the arrival of her cousin, ever since the arrival of Nona (who also though is not being even remotely granted the emotional help and guidance she obviously requires to make the transition from India to England easier for her, who also reads as being very much at least emotionally neglected and her real and present issues with depression and acute homesickness forgotten or at least not really being taken in any way seriously enough). Especially the parents (and even to an extent the older children Tom and Anne) are almost completely laid back and hands-off with regard to parenting, with regard to upbringing and thus, the two youngest, both Nona and Belinda appear to me as being rather sadly forgotten and ignored most of the time, with neither of them getting the emotional and psychological support they require and Belinda also not receiving the discipline and admonishments that her often outrageous and borderline violently lashing out behaviour requires (yes, Belinda is acting out for a very good reason, and she is definitely being left out and passed over, but not having consequences for her destructiveness and nastiness is as problematic as is the fact that she is no longer being seen and approached as the pet, as the little princess of the family). And while the fact that Belinda had most definitely been given the brush off and was feeling legitimately left out is finally (at the very end of Miss Happiness and Miss Flower) realised and acknowledged by the family, it still rather majorly chafes and bothers me that it is the oldest daughter Anne who notices this and not the persons who should have noticed and recified this, the mother and father, the parents, the two persons who are or should be most responsible for raising and nurturing their children, and their dependents (like Nona). And therefore, due to the fact that the two salient issues mentioned and described above really and truly have both massively chafed and angered me, I just cannot consider more than one star for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, simply because on an entirely personal level, I absolutely do vehemently despise much of Rumer Godden's featured narrative and that the dysfunction of the family in question is never really dealt with all that successfully (or actually not at ALL successfully). And while other readers might well and indeed love the Japanese dollhouse that becomes Miss Happiness' and Miss Flower's British home, for me, the dollhouse should most definitely have been a fusion of cultures and not an enclave of Japan in England (for as such an enclave, it is at best a curiosity and at worst, yes, rather a major textual and narrative shortcoming, as it seems to indicate and even support ghettoisation, the tendency for immigrants, refugees etc. to create their own neighbourhoods, their own enclaves within countries, with the resulting anger and social problems this often does tend to produce and engender across the board).

  4. 4 out of 5

    booklady

    I'm not even a doll person but I immediately fell in love with this book! Even now I'm hard pressed to say who captivated me more, the adorable little dolls named in the title who speak (only to the reader of course!) throughout this children's-book-for-adults or lonely Nora suddenly finding herself a stranger in her aunt's home in cold England after growing up wild and warm in India. And then there were her cousins, staunch Tom who coaxes and challenges Nora right from the start, wise and kind I'm not even a doll person but I immediately fell in love with this book! Even now I'm hard pressed to say who captivated me more, the adorable little dolls named in the title who speak (only to the reader of course!) throughout this children's-book-for-adults or lonely Nora suddenly finding herself a stranger in her aunt's home in cold England after growing up wild and warm in India. And then there were her cousins, staunch Tom who coaxes and challenges Nora right from the start, wise and kind Anne or devilish, little Belinda whose daily delight lies in vexing her shyer relative. Other characters include a school chum and an eccentric bookshop owner as well as Nora's aunt and uncle. How Nora learns to feel at home in her new country comes through the fascinating process of creating a proper Japanese home for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Many of the intricacies of detail were lost on me, but were charming none the less. As I was reading, I kept thinking of so many doll-y and dollhouse types who would recognize familiar territory in all the tiny perfections so painstakingly described by the author. A treat! Very soon I'd like to read The Dolls' House by the same author. Going through some of my daughter's old books which I don't remember. Such fun!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Darling children's book about two Japanese dolls who help a little girl from India feel more at home in England. Nifty directions for doll house instruction too- Japanese style. Darling children's book about two Japanese dolls who help a little girl from India feel more at home in England. Nifty directions for doll house instruction too- Japanese style.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Reviewing two of Godden's adult novels made me re-read this most beloved book from my childhood. Nine-year-old Nona is living with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and she is a lonely, shy misfit in their lively family - until two little Japanese dolls arrive in the mail. The dolls long for their own Japanese dollhouse, and only Nona has the heart and intuition to make their dream a reality. Yeah, I was that girl. (Except not as cool as Nona) My own homemade dollhouse (made of orange crates, with han Reviewing two of Godden's adult novels made me re-read this most beloved book from my childhood. Nine-year-old Nona is living with her aunt, uncle and cousins, and she is a lonely, shy misfit in their lively family - until two little Japanese dolls arrive in the mail. The dolls long for their own Japanese dollhouse, and only Nona has the heart and intuition to make their dream a reality. Yeah, I was that girl. (Except not as cool as Nona) My own homemade dollhouse (made of orange crates, with hand-towel carpeting and gift-wrap wallpaper) was the best toy I ever owned. Nobody gets the internal life of dolls quite as intensely as Rumer Godden, bless her.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Moonkiszt

    I have always believed dolls have an interior life about which we can only guess. Probably true for stuffed toys as well, and perhaps a broad stroke works for all closely held and deeply loved physical items that keeps even one child calm and grounded for a moment gets that spark of inner life to assist in that important task. Rumer Godden has a magical way of capturing these interior lives. My first love was A Doll's House, and from there she has so many sweet and dear books - not just built to I have always believed dolls have an interior life about which we can only guess. Probably true for stuffed toys as well, and perhaps a broad stroke works for all closely held and deeply loved physical items that keeps even one child calm and grounded for a moment gets that spark of inner life to assist in that important task. Rumer Godden has a magical way of capturing these interior lives. My first love was A Doll's House, and from there she has so many sweet and dear books - not just built to train girls on being girls, but rather to help all children to better express and understand what is happening to them as they pop miraculously into this world, falling into it by unspeakable means, to people who may or may not be ready for you to be needy in their world, often only children themselves. A buddy to hold onto, to sleep with, to bury your face in is helpful. One who can sit by and listen, who doesn't care if they are dragged or held or smooshed is even better, because they love you that much. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (and Little Peach), help an entire family and school group understand each other, and another culture (Japanese). All in all a very satisfying read. And packed up and being sent off to my one and only grandgirl, as she stands fiercely among my living large 7 grandsons.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Flapping fantastic. A kids' novel from another time where the characters aren't boring. Especially not Belinda. I was nothing like her in elementary school, but I knew kids like her and I still don't understand them. How can you not like books? And how can you be so confident? Where is all this confidence coming from, little girl? Belinda is a tornado and she's Nona's cousin. Nona came from India to live with her aunt and uncle and cousins. She's lonely, she reads and cries and misses India and Flapping fantastic. A kids' novel from another time where the characters aren't boring. Especially not Belinda. I was nothing like her in elementary school, but I knew kids like her and I still don't understand them. How can you not like books? And how can you be so confident? Where is all this confidence coming from, little girl? Belinda is a tornado and she's Nona's cousin. Nona came from India to live with her aunt and uncle and cousins. She's lonely, she reads and cries and misses India and her ayah. Belinda and Nona's great aunt in America sends them a package for Christmas with two Japanese dolls inside it. Belinda doesn't care about the dolls, but Nona thinks they should live in a Japanese dollhouse and not Belinda's English, messy one. The man at the bookshop lends her some books and Nona starts researching Japanese homes. Her cousin Tom, in vivid detail and with diagrams in case you might want to construct your own (you can!), helps her build a Japanese dollhouse for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Belinda isn't happy. She doesn't give a rip about Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. She wants the doll their great aunt didn't send, Little Peach. This is a lovely book for young chapter book readers, full of gentle wit, imagination, detail, bossiness and information about traditional Japan and England and India at the end of the colonial era. Rumer Godden wrote dozens of books for children and adults and this is one of her finest. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower has a sequel, Little Plum.

  9. 5 out of 5

    LemontreeLime

    One of my very favorite all time childrens books. I think I read it a million times. I forgot the title for many years, and tried to find it again and again telling people the gist of the story... 'its about two dolls from japan that get their very own house...' and suffered many blank stares until I finally found it again in the late 90s by accident. It is (to me) such a sweet book. One of my very favorite all time childrens books. I think I read it a million times. I forgot the title for many years, and tried to find it again and again telling people the gist of the story... 'its about two dolls from japan that get their very own house...' and suffered many blank stares until I finally found it again in the late 90s by accident. It is (to me) such a sweet book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ywen

    Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is a stirring tale by Rumer Godden. It is the story of Nona Fell and her new family receiving two Japanese dolls from her Aunt Lucy Dickinson. Nona feels the sorrow and loneliness that the dolls are feeling, and decides to build them a new house, but this house becomes a home for not only the dolls, but also Nona. This story is very touching and sweet, and is a simple and classic tale for young students to enjoy. The story can be quite dramatic, but after a while, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is a stirring tale by Rumer Godden. It is the story of Nona Fell and her new family receiving two Japanese dolls from her Aunt Lucy Dickinson. Nona feels the sorrow and loneliness that the dolls are feeling, and decides to build them a new house, but this house becomes a home for not only the dolls, but also Nona. This story is very touching and sweet, and is a simple and classic tale for young students to enjoy. The story can be quite dramatic, but after a while, it transforms into a heart-warming classic tale. It is a touching and moving story of bravery and courage. Nona shows us how strong a wish can be, and shows that even a dolls wish is powerful thing. Rumer Godden is a talented author who moves all readers, and makes them feel part of the story. Reading this book not only gives you a taste of Japanese culture, but also warms the heart. I really recommend this book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book is so short and simple and charming. It’s kind of the little princess/secret garden, sad girl raised in India comes to England and is miserable, and in this case her caring for two little dolls helps her find her place in her new home. I didn’t realize that this book was another key part of my lifelong japanophilia that was cultivated starting on 4th grade with a social studies block, but also this book which my sister gave me when I was 10 (it’s inscribed by her). I think you are 10 i This book is so short and simple and charming. It’s kind of the little princess/secret garden, sad girl raised in India comes to England and is miserable, and in this case her caring for two little dolls helps her find her place in her new home. I didn’t realize that this book was another key part of my lifelong japanophilia that was cultivated starting on 4th grade with a social studies block, but also this book which my sister gave me when I was 10 (it’s inscribed by her). I think you are 10 in 4th grade? Little Plum is a nice sequel since the first book is so short. Perfect reading for crappy chemotherapy days.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    A little dated but a great read aloud book. I liked how the children relied on each other and themselves and not the parents to do things for the dolls. I thought it was a great story of how the dolls helped Nona make friends and adjust to her new family. I also liked how Belinda, who was initially jealous, changed over the course of the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This is Rumer Godden at her best. The story is like beautiful music--cute, lyrical, and deeply moving. If you like Britain, or Japan, you'll like it. But if you love books about real people and real kids and real emotions, you'll love it. Plus, it's got a lot of interesting detail about building a Japanese doll house. This is Rumer Godden at her best. The story is like beautiful music--cute, lyrical, and deeply moving. If you like Britain, or Japan, you'll like it. But if you love books about real people and real kids and real emotions, you'll love it. Plus, it's got a lot of interesting detail about building a Japanese doll house.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Sweet little book. Quiet, not much happens. A little girl who feels all alone in a new place is captivated by two little Japanese dolls. For some reason I was not very comfortable with the way the author broke the fourth wall. I felt talked down to. This doesn't always bother me, but it did in this book. Was it just my mood? Sweet little book. Quiet, not much happens. A little girl who feels all alone in a new place is captivated by two little Japanese dolls. For some reason I was not very comfortable with the way the author broke the fourth wall. I felt talked down to. This doesn't always bother me, but it did in this book. Was it just my mood?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yolanda

    Books about people of any form of foreigner community coming to a 'homeland' that is not their home are never going to become culturally irrelevant. This is one such, and it's also a book I owned at an early age, which might explain my Japanophilia. Reading it as an adult is a kick in the guts, not least because some of Nona's alienating experiences - which few adult characters in this book take any ownership over or try to mitigate, aside from the bookshop owner - are pretty much reflected in t Books about people of any form of foreigner community coming to a 'homeland' that is not their home are never going to become culturally irrelevant. This is one such, and it's also a book I owned at an early age, which might explain my Japanophilia. Reading it as an adult is a kick in the guts, not least because some of Nona's alienating experiences - which few adult characters in this book take any ownership over or try to mitigate, aside from the bookshop owner - are pretty much reflected in those of immigrant and refugee kids for whom I have had responsibility for. These days we'd say, correctly, she had depression and an eating disorder. These experiences are also reflected in the constant misunderstandings I experienced when I moved back from Asia, not least because some of my body language and facial expressions were now seen as 'other' and inappropriate in a British setting. The first individual to take a personal interest in me and help me out was a Hakka businesswoman, BECAUSE of where I'd lived, reflecting the fact that I was now not really part of my mother culture any more but something stuck between worlds. The pushing-away of people who don't fit, and the automatic expectation that you will seamlessly merge back into your parent culture, hasn't changed. I guess some lessons must be repeated over and over until society gets the message. Godden's story is timeless in many ways that seem to be related to portraying problems to highlight them. As a writer, she was never patronising enough to say 'and this is really bad' in her books, meaning that the sexism that allows Tom to give orders while the girls wheedle, the bigotry against brunettes - absolutely a thing in the past, still around in the 80s when I was born, still very much current with people who are, um, not well-educated - and the misunderstandings between people are shown, meaning we have to infer about meaning (which is... somewhat Japanese.) The actual Japanese cultural detail is interesting, and portrayed in a way that unlike in the Adeline Yen Mah book I just reviewed, doesn't feel like you're being beaten around the head. Some of it is wrong. Japanese girls' names most certainly do not all end in the suffix '-ko.' Some of it is outdated by the time of the book being written and published. Japanese homes in 1961 would not have had fireboxes in the floor, although the dolls' house is clearly a portrayal of a historical form of home and therefore it's appropriate (and I am also not clear on when, exactly, the novel is set: I think it might have been pre-WW2 if there is a girl being sent home from colonial India, in which case fireboxes absolutely still were a thing.) A final thing: I'm fascinated by how this book being written relates to the end of Japan being perceived as That Country That Did All That Bad Stuff, and also the end of 'Made in Japan' as a mark of poor workmanship, but rather as a mark of quality, care and heritage. There's a dissertation there, if anyone cares to write it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    I loved this book when I was a child, and read it many times, I'm sure. I believe I have also read it as an adult, although I can't remember exactly when. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is an odd little story in some ways. It's got a very conventional and predictable plot once the particulars are established -- young, motherless Nona has come to England from India (A Little Princess, anyone? or The Secret Garden? -- although, in fairness, this was a common true-life scenario in the first half or I loved this book when I was a child, and read it many times, I'm sure. I believe I have also read it as an adult, although I can't remember exactly when. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower is an odd little story in some ways. It's got a very conventional and predictable plot once the particulars are established -- young, motherless Nona has come to England from India (A Little Princess, anyone? or The Secret Garden? -- although, in fairness, this was a common true-life scenario in the first half or so of the 20th century) and is terribly unhappy, missing her Ayah (Indian nursemaid commonly hired by Europeans for their children while in India) and father. Nona lives with her aunt and uncle and their 3 children, Anne, Tom, and Belinda. Belinda is a year younger than Nona and jealous of the attention Nona gets. Two Japanese dolls come in the mail, and Tom ultimately begins to build a Japanese-style doll house for them. What's unique about the book is the number of end-notes (about Japanese habits, festivals, and buildings), including full specifications and a shopping list for the doll-house! I'm sure that as a child I wished I could build such a house, but my predominant memory is the dolls themselves. I was enchanted, and still am. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower have their own wishes and dreams, and they speak to each other. From the cover's front flap:Miss Happiness and Miss Flower -- as the dolls were named long before by Great-Aunt Lucy, who had sent them -- changed Nona's whoe life. Dolls can't move alone, nor can they speak, but they can feel and, above all, they can wish; and, as Rumer Godden's young readers know, wishes can sometimes accompish miracles. The bulk of the illustrations in the original edition, by Jean Primrose, are quite charming black and white drawings with some blue pigment, along with many Japanese-style stencils, I guess I'd call them. Those are on just about every other two-page spread. Then there are 6 exquisite full-page watercolors; I can't imagine an edition without them!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    What a cute little book, filled with vivid descriptions of the two beautiful dolls, Miss. Happiness and Miss. Flower, and their owner, Nona. One of my friends had recommended this book, and it was on my reading list for months. When I decided to finally give-it a try, I was ecstatic to be reading such an excellent piece of literary work. The story focuses on Nona, who has just moved to England from India, and is living with her aunt's family. Nona is homesick, and has decided that she just can't What a cute little book, filled with vivid descriptions of the two beautiful dolls, Miss. Happiness and Miss. Flower, and their owner, Nona. One of my friends had recommended this book, and it was on my reading list for months. When I decided to finally give-it a try, I was ecstatic to be reading such an excellent piece of literary work. The story focuses on Nona, who has just moved to England from India, and is living with her aunt's family. Nona is homesick, and has decided that she just can't live in England any longer. In the nick of time, the two dolls, Miss. Happiness and Miss. Flower, arrive from the United States via a relative. So begins the story of how Nona develops a home that the dolls will love, inspired by a typical Japanese home, complete with sliding doors, tatami mats, and a firebox. I absolutely adored the enthusiasm that Nona displayed when researching and developing the home for her dolls. The conversations between the two dolls regarding their situation was real, with my heart breaking as I read about how the dolls often felt left-out, unable to display their true feelings since they were never able to be heard. When Nona encountered Belinda's jealousy throughout the book, I often became enraged, wanting Belinda to be accepting of Nona's desire to build a Japanese home. In the end, everything worked-out as it was meant to, and I was pleased to see how Nona made Miss. Happiness and Miss. Flower feel connected to the family through her hard work. Will definitely be reading the sequel to this book, which is about Little Plum!

  18. 5 out of 5

    emma grace

    October 2009 review: This was a very enjoyable book to read; it reminded me of something Frances Burnett would write. It was a lot like The Secret Garden, or The Little Princess. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are two little Japanese dolls that are sent to Nona Fell, a little girl from India, now living in England with some cousins. The dolls were sent to Anne and Belinda, Nona’s cousins, but Anne says she is too old for dolls and Belinda is not interested in them, so Nona takes them in. When Non October 2009 review: This was a very enjoyable book to read; it reminded me of something Frances Burnett would write. It was a lot like The Secret Garden, or The Little Princess. Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are two little Japanese dolls that are sent to Nona Fell, a little girl from India, now living in England with some cousins. The dolls were sent to Anne and Belinda, Nona’s cousins, but Anne says she is too old for dolls and Belinda is not interested in them, so Nona takes them in. When Nona decides to make a proper Japanese doll house for Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, she needs to enlist the help of her other cousin Tom who can do carpentry and build. When Nona goes to the bookstore to find a book on Japanese houses, she makes a new friend in the grouchy old bookkeeper. Soon, everyone in the family is interested in Nona’s doll house and Belinda begins to feel jealous of her. Belinda wishes that Nona would go back to India, but most of all she longs for Little Peach, a doll that was mentioned in the letter that came with Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, but was never sent. The doll house is built with success and in the end, Belinda receives Little Peach, whom Nona sent for for Belinda. End notes: In the back of the book, it has instructions on how to make your own Japanese doll house. This is an awesome book!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are Japanese dolls that are given to two little girls living in England. The book is told from the point of view of the dolls. Nona, a lonely little girl who just moved to England from India loves the dolls and wants to build them a proper Japanese dollhouse. The other little girl is Nona’s cousin, whom she now lives with. Belinda is not very understanding of Nona’s loneliness and often mocks her. Though as the dollhouse gets built, with some help from her cousins, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower are Japanese dolls that are given to two little girls living in England. The book is told from the point of view of the dolls. Nona, a lonely little girl who just moved to England from India loves the dolls and wants to build them a proper Japanese dollhouse. The other little girl is Nona’s cousin, whom she now lives with. Belinda is not very understanding of Nona’s loneliness and often mocks her. Though as the dollhouse gets built, with some help from her cousins, Nona learns about friendship both within and outside of her family. This is a delightful book that will engage readers today as it did over 40 years ago when it was first published. The author does a good job of capturing the feelings of the girls as well as the feelings of the dolls. The story introduces facts about Japanese culture and traditions by weaving them into the story. There is even a plan for the reader to construct her own dollhouse at the end of the book. Godden’s descriptions of the dollhouse were so vivid that I actually thought I remembered illustrations in the book that weren’t there.

  20. 4 out of 5

    MyBookAffair

    I felt that a book was needed to inspire my daughter on the wonders of playing with a doll's house. Now would be the perfect time for 'Miss Happiness and Miss Flower', I thought, Rumer Godden's children's book published in 1961; one of the most magical books there is on the subject of dolls and their houses. The plot: a girl from India comes to a strange land to live with her aunt and cousins. Nona Fell is lonely in this chilly English village, and feels out of place. But just then, she is given I felt that a book was needed to inspire my daughter on the wonders of playing with a doll's house. Now would be the perfect time for 'Miss Happiness and Miss Flower', I thought, Rumer Godden's children's book published in 1961; one of the most magical books there is on the subject of dolls and their houses. The plot: a girl from India comes to a strange land to live with her aunt and cousins. Nona Fell is lonely in this chilly English village, and feels out of place. But just then, she is given a set of Japanese dolls, to share with her spoilt cousin Belinda. The arrival of the dolls transforms her relationship with her environment and her relatives. The entire family, with the exception of Belinda, join together to help make a Japanese doll's house for the dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower.... That is the story. To read my full review see my blog: http://www.mybookaffair.net/2013/03/m...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    This is the simple and sweet story of Nona, an eight year old girl. She was born and raised in India by her father. (Her mother passed away.) Her father has sent her to England to live with relatives. She stays with an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Despite the relatives mostly warm welcome, Nona is homesick and lonely. One day two dolls arrive. Nona feels the dolls must be lonely. As she researches and builds them a Japanese style home (with the help of her cousin), she also develops her place This is the simple and sweet story of Nona, an eight year old girl. She was born and raised in India by her father. (Her mother passed away.) Her father has sent her to England to live with relatives. She stays with an aunt, uncle, and three cousins. Despite the relatives mostly warm welcome, Nona is homesick and lonely. One day two dolls arrive. Nona feels the dolls must be lonely. As she researches and builds them a Japanese style home (with the help of her cousin), she also develops her place of belonging and sense of home. There is also a nice back to school lesson where Nona feels that the girl that sits next to her is stuck up. Her aunt suggests that the girl may be shy. Nona doesn't think that could be the case, because she reasons she is the one that is shy. However once they start talking they quickly become good friends.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Devon

    This book was so lighthearted and beautiful! Belinda annoys the ever-living daylights out of me, but the story was so full of hope and goodness that by the end she can't help but catch it. I don't really think, though, that all of her emotional issues stemmed from jealousy of Nona and the dolls; most of it just seems like Belinda is a real piece of work, made even more volatile by Nona's arrival. What I appreciated was that Miss Happiness and Miss Flower didn't become objectified Japanese signifi This book was so lighthearted and beautiful! Belinda annoys the ever-living daylights out of me, but the story was so full of hope and goodness that by the end she can't help but catch it. I don't really think, though, that all of her emotional issues stemmed from jealousy of Nona and the dolls; most of it just seems like Belinda is a real piece of work, made even more volatile by Nona's arrival. What I appreciated was that Miss Happiness and Miss Flower didn't become objectified Japanese signifiers; Nona says several times that the Japanese must be very brave people, and treats their way of life like an artform and not a quaint cutesy fantasy. Everyone who helps does so with research and respect. In the end, the dollhouse brings them together, and even teaches Belinda how not to be a little rotter.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    For another reading challenge: For books from the year that you were born - Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Nona comes to England to live with her relatives after the death of her mother in India. Godden's lovely sweet story is how Nona and her family create a home for two lovely, Japanese china dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Great insights into Japanese culture. Trivia: Demi Moore named her daughter Rumer for this author and her other daughter, Scout for the character in T For another reading challenge: For books from the year that you were born - Rumer Godden's Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Nona comes to England to live with her relatives after the death of her mother in India. Godden's lovely sweet story is how Nona and her family create a home for two lovely, Japanese china dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. Great insights into Japanese culture. Trivia: Demi Moore named her daughter Rumer for this author and her other daughter, Scout for the character in To Kill a Mockingbird. The story of Babar also came out that year. I want to read a couple more titles from this year.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Susann

    When two Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, arrive in England, lonely Nona musters her wits to create a suitable home for them. As in The Kitchen Madonna, Godden draws us into Nona's research, so that we learn about the traditional Japanese lifestyle and get excited as Nona's work starts to pay off. Godden always adds a twist, though, and this one comes in the form a jealous cousin. Found this lovely copy at the Strand on the 4th of July. When two Japanese dolls, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, arrive in England, lonely Nona musters her wits to create a suitable home for them. As in The Kitchen Madonna, Godden draws us into Nona's research, so that we learn about the traditional Japanese lifestyle and get excited as Nona's work starts to pay off. Godden always adds a twist, though, and this one comes in the form a jealous cousin. Found this lovely copy at the Strand on the 4th of July.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    A really cute children's story about a young girl forced to move from her father's tea plantation in India to cold, cheerless England. It reminded me slightly of the intro for The Secret Garden, but the characters are different. It's about her quest to get a home for the two Japanese dolls that have just arrived from San Francisco. A fun read for kids. A really cute children's story about a young girl forced to move from her father's tea plantation in India to cold, cheerless England. It reminded me slightly of the intro for The Secret Garden, but the characters are different. It's about her quest to get a home for the two Japanese dolls that have just arrived from San Francisco. A fun read for kids.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jenne

    For such a short book, there is a surprising amount of atmosphere and characterization. I found myself getting very personally invested in this story, like NOOO BELINDA DON'T BREAK THE HOUSE!!! (Spoiler: the house is okay) Also I felt this horrible sinking feeling when Nona wished she could be a boy. :-( Girls can be leaders too, Nona! For such a short book, there is a surprising amount of atmosphere and characterization. I found myself getting very personally invested in this story, like NOOO BELINDA DON'T BREAK THE HOUSE!!! (Spoiler: the house is okay) Also I felt this horrible sinking feeling when Nona wished she could be a boy. :-( Girls can be leaders too, Nona!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eatsyourface

    This book is like baby's first orientalist novel. This book is like baby's first orientalist novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    We all enjoyed this, including my boys (9 and 7). We read it as part of our study of Japan. I do love Rumer Godden; the boys recognized this was written by the same author as one of our favorite Christmas books (Holly and Ivy) just by the style, which pleased me immensely.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Celine

    Beautiful

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jean Carlton

    Entertaining and educational! Godden embeds definitions of words right in the story to be sure the reader knows what she is talking about. In figuring out how to make a Japanese house for two miniature dolls: “How would you raise it?” “Make a plinth,” said Tom. “like a box upside down,” he explained quickly to Belinda before she could ask him what a plinth was. “They wore thin cotton kimonos - a kimono is like a dressing-gown with wide-cut sleeves…” Sweet story with a moral.Nice illustrations. *the Entertaining and educational! Godden embeds definitions of words right in the story to be sure the reader knows what she is talking about. In figuring out how to make a Japanese house for two miniature dolls: “How would you raise it?” “Make a plinth,” said Tom. “like a box upside down,” he explained quickly to Belinda before she could ask him what a plinth was. “They wore thin cotton kimonos - a kimono is like a dressing-gown with wide-cut sleeves…” Sweet story with a moral.Nice illustrations. *the front flap summary states that the plans for the house are in the back of the book in case a little girl and her dolls might have a “willing . . .boy or a father” who could make one.This dates itself (1960 publication) because we avoid gender stereotypes today. A girl, woman, mother could surely make the house herself. 😊

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