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The Book Blogger Awards 2017

Life in Miniature

Make Your Own Dolls House - coverMake Your Own Dolls’ House
Cole
1976

Submitter: There is nothing wrong with the designs and instructions for the Dickens’ doll house that is in this book, but seeing the author stare at the girl on the cover, reading that he is a doctor and builds dolls’ houses because he “enjoys” it all add up to 3 strikes and you are out of our collection!

Holly: So…maybe the little girl should check out this book instead?  Or maybe this one?  Wow, we’ve become very jaded about old men who stare at young girls and build them dolls houses.  If he enjoyed helping little boys make fishing lures, we’d be just as suspicious.  Ha ha!  Seriously, though, this does look like something from 1976.

Make Your Own Dolls House inside flap

tiny furniture for dolls house

Make Your Own Dolls House back cover

33 Responses to Life in Miniature

  • Although she would probably appreciate it now my sister was a tomboy growing up. If this had been an elaborate winter project that we worked on my Mom would have threatened Cynthia with bodily harm if she even touched it.

  • OK, weed it if you think it is too dated. But, please, don’t do it just because you imagine something sinister about a doctor who likes to build doll houses! I don’t see that the author is staring at the girl on the cover, but that he is smiling at the happiness he has given her. BY BUILDING HER A DOLL HOUSE! Must everyone have such dirty minds these days? Can’t a man “enjoy” constructing model houses without being seen as a pervert? Oh… the man is a doctor! That’s why! Why does that raise a red flag to the submitter? It makes it clear that he does this for fun, and he shows you how anyone, even those without building skills can do it too. Shame on both of you! More children should have such a caring adult hand-making something they will pass down to their own grandchildren.

  • You know, it’s rather sad we live in a world where we think “pedophile” any time a grown up, especially a male, is interested in things that are seen as childish. I play video games like Pokémon, but I’d never touch a child in that manner. In fact, I believe pedophiles should face the possibility of the death penalty.

    Also, here’s something else I wanted to do as a kid – make my own dollhouse. (I also wanted to make a soap box racer.) And never got to. But in this case it was because it was too darn expensive.

  • Wow, a hand-crank drill. I bet a lot of people now wouldn’t even know what tool that is in the bottom left picture. I haven’t seen one since about the time this book was published.

  • Yes, I think weeding it due to a perceived prejudice in the mind of the librarian is not right and very sexist. The tape marks and condition of the pages (cut marks) make for better reasons to weed it. Oh, and by the way I have a hand-drill like that and they still make them.

  • What?! I’m glad Christopher Cole is not around to read this (he died in 2008). Yes, he was a doctor – a general practitioner. Is there something wrong with that? What is the submitter insinuating by saying he “enjoyed” making dolls houses? That he used them as a means to lure little girls? Can’t men enjoy making dolls houses? Perhaps the submitter should convey her disapproval to all the men who design and build dolls houses today, for adult miniaturists and for children’s play. Christopher Cole wrote for dolls house hobbyists too, had a dolls house museum, and one of his dolls houses is in the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood in London. Yes, he is pleased that the girl on the cover likes the dolls house he’s made. He’s not *staring* at her!
    As for the contents, Georgian-style dolls houses have not gone out of fashion among miniaturists – the plans would be just as usable today. Some of the tools might be out of date – but a drill is still a drill. As the submitter says, there’s nothing wrong with the contents. If the submitter is determined to remove this cover from their collection, perhaps they could replace it with a later edition.

  • I agree with Lisa and Jami: If you know something about this particular guy that makes him suspicious, say so; otherwise, don’t perpetuate the stereotype that men who like spending time with children want to sexually abuse them. Even jokes along those lines strengthen the stereotype. I’m the father of a 4-year-old girl; I don’t like having to worry about what people think when I take her to the playground or give her a hug in public.

    I don’t see much difference between this, and weeding a book about driving because the author was a woman and “oh we know how badly women drive ho ho ho.”

  • How is building a doll house any different from building miniatures for a train set? I know lots of grown men who do that. And they build the interiors so you can see in, and populate them with little people. Oops, I guess that makes them doll houses, too. I would think a hand drill would be more appropriate for a child to use, assuming they are going to help build it.

  • Holy Shlamoley!

    Okay, I’ve seen people freak out when kids hug male teachers, get the shivers from the idea of male relatives babysitting young cousins or nieces and nephews and gasp in fear at male nannies. I’ve seen people give the evil eye to men who have small children with them on shopping trips (particularly clothes shopping trips) and in restaurants. But this is the first time I’ve seen a man pointed out as a creeper for building a toy for a girl and liking the fact that she likes it!

    Seriously, what the hell is with this current environment of men not being able to show ANY affection towards a child or any competence at caring for a child who isn’t his own without being tagged as a potential pedophile?? Jeesh, it’s like we’ve taken an old sexist notion — women are the only ones who do childcare well — and amped it up to include that any man with an interest in childcare is *harmful to children*. It’s insane and dangerous, cuts men out of affectionate care, forces women to be the primary care givers of children and blinds people to the potential threat of female pedophiles (since women can’t be pedophiles, *obviously*)

    I’d keep the book on the shelves just to spite the submitter!

  • I agree with everyone else that the only reason to weed this book should be condition. One, it seems that he was a very skilled dollhouse maker. Those pictures are extraordinary. Two, I don’t see what’s odd about having a hobby like this. It’s creative and architectural and hands-on. It seems like a slur on the man’s name (which is HERE) to post claims like that because he was a hobbyist. And I think woodworkers would still find this interesting.

  • I’ll agree with other commenters that playing the “pedophile” card every time an adult (particularly a man) takes any interest in children is ridiculous and hurtful to all involved. Further, how on earth is being a doctor a strike against this poor guy? Is every member of the medical profession automatically under suspicion? Apparently every man is so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

    On the subject of the actual book, that is an amazing looking doll house; I’ll admit to being kind of impressed with the level of detail. That said, the pictures are certainly dated (as Retro Hound noted, the hand cranked drill is pushing it) but I’d probably vote to keep it unless you’re tight for space or can find a more up-to-date replacement. I definitely wouldn’t weed this just to go along with the witch-hunt du jour.

  • It looks to me that Dr. Cole is explaining how the doll house works to the young girl. As a mother of 3 daughters I feel for men, and particularly my husband who is absolutely terrified of showing any kind of affection towards his daughters in public for fear that someone would label him a ‘pedophile’ or deviant of some kind. How utterly sad for fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, or any man who generally cares for and about children who feel they can no longer publicly give/show affection to children for fear of being labeled with something quite unsavoury no matter how innocent the action is.

  • The photograph is creepy, but that could be fixed by sending it to be rebound. Also, I’ve only ever heard of “doll houses”, not “dolls’ house”.

  • The hand drill offers more delicacy and precision when going through craft-grade balsa wood, etc. Favorite childhood fantasy: actually owning one (or all!) of the dollhouses on display in the Children’s Room at Cleveland Public. Anyone else know what I’m talkin’ about? Gimme five!

  • Agree with Holly and the rest of the commentators here. There is nothing wrong with that cover and even though the photos and tools may be dated, I still think building a doll house, particularly one that looks like that on the cover, is perfectly fine and still relevant to any potential library patrons. Weed on condition but keep if in perfect condition if only to annoy submitter’s cockamamie notion that somehow the author and his doll house building hobby is creepy.

  • The only creepy thing about the cover is that weird look on the girl’s face – and her hideous looking outfit.

  • Since other people have pointed out the problems of making jokes that perpetuate harmful ideas about men and children (they’re part of the human race too, you know!) I’ll just point out that hand drills are very nice tools to have!

    Power tools tend to be loud and aggressive. Even though I also own a couple of dremel tools, when working with softer materials I often prefer my hand drill. It’s not loud, it doesn’t have to be plugged in or charged, and it’s just all around more pleasant to use. I can only imagine this would be even more true for many children, who might find a noisy dremel scary.

    But yes, please, please, think before making these kinds of jokes. It hurts men and it hurts children who are being cut off from role models who would be wonderful influences in their lives.

  • Frankly I think the girl needs a dentist more than a doctor.

  • I’m actually disgusted. Submitter, did you seriously weed this book ONLY because the author was a middle-aged male doctor who builds dolls’ houses for fun? Because you think that’s kinky? That’s really sad. And I agree with the poster above, verging on libellous… Handicrafts like this have been a mostly masculine hobby for a long time. I can remember seeing several films as a child featuring granddads who build, repair or improve dolls’ houses for their granddaughters. Hardly weird.

  • Dolls’ ? I wonder if this book is from the UK. I agree with the other comments than there is nothing threatening about the gentleman on the cover and “creepy” never would have occurred to me.

  • The book is from the UK, and dolls’ house or (doll’s house) is what they’re called in the UK and Australia (and probably some other English-speaking countries too, just not North America). Often titles are changed for the American market, but it seems not in this case.

  • Too many people these days with dirty minds. Any adult smiling near a child is now a pedophile? Give us a break.

  • Actually they probabaly added the kid to the cover because back then they thought that it was weird for adults to be making dollhouses for themselves. In the minitures world, there are more men than women and kids aren’t very welcome. Most builders think kids are clumsy.

  • Agree with most of the comments here about the submitter. A friend of mine works at a daycare, and he says that although most people are fine with it, every now and then he runs into a parent that assumes that the only reason a guy would want to work with little kids all day is because he’s a paedophile.

    Come on, people, I thought that we were supposed to be all liberated ‘n’ stuff.

  • I agree with everything said here–I’m surprised by the submitter’s thoughtless reason for weeding. Many little girls would be LUCKY if they had a dad or grandpa who was interested enough in them to build them a dollhouse. And quit making fun of people who have unusual hobbies for their age/gender/profession! I have plenty of weird hobbies and I’m awesome. 😉

  • I’m not “creeped out” by the cover. It is in bad condition, but otherwise [if it could be cleaned up or repurchased] it looks like a great thing that kids [mainly girls, I fear] and grownups can make together.

  • Being a bit harsh on this book, I think…? My grandfather made me many toys and they were a gift of total love, and I will treasure them forever. I’m sure if he saw this and knew I wanted one, he would have made it for me. It wasn’t creepy at *all.*

    Also, I’ve actually built miniatures before and I’m sure the instructions in this book are still pretty relevant. If you weed it for condition, fine, even put a new cover on it if you don’t like the picture, but there’s certainly nothing wrong with a guy building a dollhouse. It makes me sad someone would think so.

  • @Kay – Hey, a creative enough parent could make it into something a boy would like. Instead of a dollhouse it could be an action figure house. X-Men mansion, Bruce Wayne’s abode complete with secret entrance to the Batcave, etc.

  • Oh, thank goodness for the sanity in the comments here. I was really creeped out by the conclusion-jumping that would not only place this author, but by logical extension all adult toy-makers, day-care providers, babysitters, teachers, librarians, pediatricians, etc. under automatic suspicion. Commenters, thank you for your common sense.

  • Hmm. My father was a single parent. The father of my soon-to-be child wants to stay at home with the baby while I go back to work. The child’s grandfathers are longing to be babysitters. And so do several of our male friends (to be fair, also my female friends and relatives). Even my midwife is a man…
    Eeeeeek! I must be surrounded by pedophiles!

    Ye ghods! The witch-hunt is ON, ladies and gentlemen.

    Of course, if anybody harms my child, I will personally break every single bone in his or her body (including the tiny, hard-to reach knuckles in the inner ear).
    But I will not think the worst of everybody and expect tragedy waiting at every street corner. Sigh.

  • Coincidentally, I have this book borrowed from the library *right now*.

    It’s sad and pathetic that you’re unable to imagine a world in which all contact between adults and children is suspect. And also pathetic that you’re obviously curating a book collection about which you have little to no knowledge.

    And once again, weeding books for which there is no modern equivalent (nor, in most cases, plans to even try to find one) is a disservice to readers. Dollhouse books, because of their clear photos and directions, are much more useful to me as a crafter than a thousand YouTube tutorials. Most of the good books on the topic are at least 20 years old. It’s not as if the nature of wood or glue has changed since then. And a book propped open on my workbench is considerably more practical than a laptop.

  • Grandpa Cole (yes he was my husbands grandfather) was a very clever man, when I first met him he was retired and in his late 70’s but he still had an active interest in making dolls houses – they were a means of recording a social history as much as the building itself – I was very touched that my daughter (his great grand- daughter) was left one of his dolls houses following his death, but being one of the last he ever cut out to make, it was in an unfinished state when we received it, it has taken me a little while to get around to building it and getting hold of a copy of his book seemed quite relevent to my task.
    I find it very frustrating to read the stupid comments by people who neither knew Grandpa or his family (the little girl on the front cover is a family member) and have so little respect for the hurt their thoughtless words may cause others.
    I look forward to receiving my book by Grandpa (through Amazon) and will treasure it as we treasure his wonderful dolls house.