The Lonely Doll
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Followed by||Holiday for Edith and the Bears|
The Lonely Doll is the first children's book in a series by photographer and author Dare Wright. The story is told through text and photographs. It was first published by Doubleday in 1957, went out of print for years, was reissued by Houghton Mifflin in 1998, and brought out by Barnes & Noble in a narrated version for their Nook eReader in 2012. Wright wrote 10 books starring Edith and the bears. The nine that have been reprinted are The Lonely Doll, Edith and Mr. Bear, A Gift from the Lonely Doll, Holiday for Edith and the Bears, The Doll and the Kitten, Edith and the Duckling, Edith and Little Bear Lend a Hand, Edith and Midnight and The Lonely Doll Learns a Lesson.
The Lonely Doll tells the story of a doll named Edith, who lives by herself until two teddy bears, called Mr. Bear and Little Bear, appear in her life. One day, Mr. Bear goes out for a walk leaving the two alone in the house; He returns to find they have rummaged in a closet for dress-up clothing, smeared themselves with makeup, and written "Mr. Bear is just a silly old thing" in lipstick on the mirror. Mr. Bear proceeds to discipline both Little Bear and Edith, leaving Edith to worry that he will take Little Bear and leave. Mr. Bear assures her that he will never, ever, leave her.
Edith, the main character of many of her books, looks a great deal like Dare Wright herself, with a blonde pony tail and golden hoop earrings.
Edith was named after Dare's mother, Edith Stevenson Wright, a portrait artist.
When Houghton Mifflin reissued The Lonely Doll in 1998, it was not without a minor battle from colleagues, according to then children's book publisher Anita Silvey. At the core of the controversy was the scene in which Mr. Bear spanks Edith for misbehaving. As a result, some parents objected to the book. Other parents, such as critic and novelist Daphne Merkin and fashion designer Vera Wang, supported the book.
The doll is a felt Lenci Doll from the 1920s which belonged to Dare as a child. She sewed Edith's outfits for the books and changed her eye color to blue, resembling the author's looks.
A new felt finished rendition of the Edith doll was manufactured in 2005 by the Alexander Doll Company, who made the first Edith doll in 1958. It was sold exclusively by The Toy Shoppe.
In 2007, R. John Wright produced a limited edition felt Edith doll for collectors to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Lonely Doll. This was the first Edith doll to be made in her actual 22" height.
The book was first published in 1957, and made the New York Times children's books best seller list. In November 2010, The British newspaper The Guardian named The Lonely Doll one of the 10 Best Illustrated Children's Books of all time.