Customer Reviews: Mirabelle
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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on November 13, 2004
This whimsical book with a lovely plain little heroine is quite special.

Britta is a lonely girl who lives on a farm a long way from the local town. She longs for a doll but her parents can't afford it - until one day when Britta is home alone, a stranger passes through their country lane and Britta helps him by opening a gate. The man then rewards her by giving her a seed.

NOTE: (when I first read this book I was concerned to note that her parents went off to market all day and left her home - and she waited by the road. I do feel this is explained by the fact that this book was first written in the early 40's when it wasn't as dangerous a place as it is in these times)

Britta waters the seed and it grows into a girl doll, who can eat and speak and walk. Britta is happy, her parent's are amazed, and Britta has a friend.

The whimsical text is brilliant, and the illustrations are very good. We borrowed it from the library for my son, never thinking it would be a favorite with him, but he honed in on it again, so it does have a broad appeal.
Kotori '2004
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2006
This is a suspenseful and engaging story, and the illustrations by Pija Lindenbaum really make the book. Let the kids know that in the time and place where the story is set, it would not have been unusual to leave a child at home; farm children were better disciplined then. Currently, many parents feel they need to watch and entertain their children every moment of the day, so we don't have a society of children who are sensible and self-reliant, as they were previously even from a young age. Also, people currently teach their children that every stranger is a potential menace, but in fairy tales and wisdom literature such as the Bible, kindness to strangers often resulted in unexpected gifts, as in this story. At age 6, Britta knows enough to open the gate across the road for passing carts, and an appreciative old man gives her a seed that fills her heart's desire.

My favorite character in the book appears only in the illustrations, not in the text, and that is Britta's chicken, which she carries around with her, dresses up as a doll, and which appears in nearly every scene. The chicken is expressive and a very tolerant companion.
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on December 7, 2006
This is a beautiful book! I'm surprised that people are put off by the doll that grows from a seed; I see nothing creepy whatsoever about the doll. The only thing that concerns me... but certainly not enough to keep this book from my children... is the fact that she opens the gate, talks to and accepts a gift from a stranger. I always talk to my girls about how this is just a charming story, but we never talk to or accept gifts from strangers. If you're concerned, check it out from the library first, then buy it. My girls LOVE it.
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on September 10, 2011
Mirabelle is a lovely, medium-length picture book. The story is distinctly Swedish - the setting, the way the tale evolves... Mirabelle has a fair bit of suspense, a lot of imagination, and very well-suited illustrations. I LOVED this story, and my kids really enjoyed it as well. The first person narrative perspective makes the story more compelling, and the little chicken in the pictures is a fun side story.

Enjoy this one - don't be put off by the negative reviews. If you like imaginative, interesting, child-like stories, with playful illustrations, you'll like Mirabelle.
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on February 24, 2015
This is a charming story of a little girl who gets her dream come true. It's whimsical and magical and one of my favorite Astrid Lindgren books. Other reviews having called this book creepy, and I will admit that in the pictures, the eyes of Mirabelle do occasionally come across as creepy, but it's easily overlooked. I liked the story enough that it overshadows any hint of eye-creepiness.
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on March 19, 2006
My husband read this book to our 3 year old daughter tonight and was mortified. He was glad our daughter had fallen asleep. He thought the book was creepy and scary. He didn't like that the doll could talk, or answered back or bit the little girl.

I read it and could see his point. But I found it sweet. I can imagine reading this to our daughter and being playful with the voices. I see her playing with her dolls much more than my husband and can relate to this story as I'm sure my daughter will.

We are undecided if we will keep it.
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on April 5, 2016
it's the perfect gift for young girls.
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on May 27, 2010
There must be a point in adolescence when this book transforms from a cute little story about a magic doll growing from seed to a book about a devil doll who only "lives" when she's alone with you and makes demands that you must fulfill. It might be after you've seen the "Talky Tina" episode of the Twilight Zone. Or, it might be right when this doll, which has been growing silently and still in the garden, suddenly OPENS HER EYES. There's also a point in the story where grownups know things will not end well: When two parents go to town for an entire day and deliberately leave their 6 year old daughter alone by herself in a remote house. When the little girl opens up the gate for the strange man because he "looks nice" I had that same urge to yell warnings to the characters that I get when I'm watching really scary slasher films. I got the impression that candy and duct tape might be two of the peddler's specialties.

I gave this book three stars because little girls will love it right up until the age monsters start living in the closet. They'll ask you to read it again and again. For that, it should have 5 stars. For making mommy and daddy's skin crawl and facilitating a trip to the recycling bin after the first reading, it should have no stars. So I thought three stars was right in the middle. That seems fair.
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on March 16, 2006
We did not like this book and found it entirely creepy that the doll grew out of the ground. We disliked it so much that we did not even want to give it away and quite possibly is the only book I have ever thrown away.
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