On cracking open my copy of Ball Jointed Dolls for Beginners – Finding the Doll of your Dreams, I took me a brief nostalgia trip. I remembered how I first discovered BJDs and made my first few doll purchases. When I received my first doll in the mail, a SoulKid purchased on eBay, I recalled how afraid I was to even remove his eyes. I certainly have come a long way from those days! At that time, I could certainly have benefited from a book like this.
The softbound book, written by Alison Rasmusen and edited by Melissa Metheney, answers many of the basic questions first-time BJD owners ask. Rasmussen, the founder and editor of The Fashion Doll Review, is knowledgeable and writes in a concise style when covering the basics; finding a doll, saving up for and purchasing the doll, eye changing, wig sizes, cleaning, and generally caring for the doll once it is yours. There is a useful section on common terms and abbreviations. Step-by-step photos are available for tutorials on making a too-large wig fit, reducing wig slippage, sueding, stringing, and sanding doll bodies. An easy manicure and pedicure technique is offered. There is even a simple pattern included for a tunic and leggings that could easily be re-sized to fit most dolls available.
Reference sections are edged with purple, and new sections are edged with green, allowing the user to rapidly flip to the section needed. The book can be read from front to back or skipped through as certain information is required. Helpful little yellow boxes are scattered through the book with bits of friendly advice.
In addition to writing about basic doll ownership, Rasmussen provides a brief history of the dolls and discusses what dolls are considered BJDs. (There were a few statements in this section with which I disagreed, but she points out in a little yellow box “Don’t be offended if I state something a little controversial here, You don’t have to agree with me, of course.”) A significant portion at the end of the book is devoted to getting to know other collectors both online or in-person.
There are many photos in the book. Along with the tutorial shots, there are numerous pictures of lovely dolls. All of the dolls are made by Korean company Peak’s Woods with costumes by Dollheart and Jenny Grey Designs. While all of the dolls’ photos are beautiful, it is unfortunate that a few additional companies and styles of dolls couldn’t be represented. There are no boy dolls included. There are no anthro (animal/human mix) dolls or fantasy creatures. On viewing this book, a newcomer to BJDs could mistakenly believe that most of the dolls are female with sweet little upturned noses and large eyes. I understand the limitations posed by acquiring permission to publish the dolls in a book, but it is unfortunate that more styles and types of dolls couldn’t be added to better convey the incredible variety of creations currently available in the BJD world.
Ball Jointed Dolls for Beginners would likely be less useful to experienced BJD owners who have already moved beyond the basics. Nevertheless, it is an excellent guide for new BJD owners. If you or anyone you know is planning to buy their first BJD, or you are a first-time doll owner who is too embarrassed to bombard a doll forum with basic newbie questions, this is the book for you.
The book Ball Jointed Dolls for Beginners can be purchased from the author HERE.