Eleven-year-old Lexie wishes more than anything that she could go back to San Francisco to live with her mother. When her father died, her mother remarried and her stepfather now feels that a young girl needs more supervision than two night club singers can provide. Lexie’s paternal grandparents are more than happy to take her away from their “flapper” daughter-in-law. Lexie, however, misses the fun and laughter of her beautiful, carefree parent and is determined to find a way home.
The opportunity arises when her class collects money for a Friendship Doll: a doll sent to Japan as part of a cultural exchange between these two nations after the First World War. Lexie’s classmates raise the funds for the doll and are challenged to write a letter to introduce the toy to its new owner. Since the author of the best letter will accompany the doll to San Francisco for the grand send-off of over 12,000 Friendship Dolls, Lexie puts her heart and soul into the assignment. If all goes well, she can simply stay in the city with her mother, where she really belongs. Unfortunately, Lexie does not anticipate that another girl might be willing to cheat to win the contest or that her mother’s plans might not have room for a young girl.
Ship of Dolls teaches many lessons about honesty and friendship. Lexie learns the hard way that trust is earned and a betrayed trust is hard to regain. She never loses her compassion and demonstrates great kindness to friend and foe. Sadly, Lexie discovers that she cannot depend on her mother. She sees that many men move into and out of her mother’s life, and that this happy-go-lucky woman is too distracted to take proper care of her daughter. Her grandparents, especially her grandmother, have rules and high standards, and Lexie eventually realizes that their expectations are an expression of their deep love for her.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.