While visiting my sister, I stayed in my niece’s room. Since she is eight and my mom saves all of our childhood books, I have access to a plethora of my old favorites. Katy Comes Next is no exception.
I remember loving this book; my sister remembers loving it, too. When I told my niece I re-read it while we were all supposed to be taking naps, she said it was her favoritest book.
It’s funny how different things can look when you’re reading with 30-something-year-old eyes. My sister said that when she read it recently, she was disappointed in the story; she remembered it being amazing.
It’s no Velveteen Rabbit, but as an adult, I read something in the story that I completely missed as a kid: a parenting lesson on not putting your kids last.
The entire story is about a little girl named Ruth who has an older doll named Katy. Katy is in a terrible state – her hair is askew, her arm is loose/missing, her skin is stained and worn, and her clothes are old and tattered. Who better to fix her than Ruth’s own parents who just so happen to own and operate a doll hospital. A very busy doll hospital with absolutely no time for Katy.
The story appears to have a happy ending; after days (maybe weeks or months) of waiting and after Ruth attempts to mend her doll herself (quite successfully, I might add), her parents decide to close the shop for a day for Katy. Katy gets new hair, her joints are tightened, and she gets new skin. But when it comes to picking out the new clothes (which the illustrator does a stellar job making cute and classy and wonderful), Ruth does it all by herself. This is not necessarily a bad thing; perhaps this is what she wanted, it’s not revealed in the text. I do have to say that some of my favorite childhood memories are picking out doll clothes with my mother.
I did a very quick search for this book and it doesn’t appear to be readily available anymore. This makes me sad. As this book was originally published in 1959 and there doesn’t appear to be any reprints (and to buy the original is so expensive!), I would imagine that there aren’t many girls under 35 that know it and love it as my sister and I do — unless they’re like my niece and inherited it.