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A family of porcelain dolls that has lived in the same house for ...
A family of porcelain dolls that has lived in the same house for one hundred years is taken aback when a new family of plastic dolls arrives and doesn't follow The Doll Code of Honor.
"It is entertaining and satisfying, and likely to hold the attention of young readers, regardless of their interest in dolls." The New York Times—NYTBR
January 2001. Annabelle Doll is eight years old, as she's been for over one hundred years, and she's starting to find her circumscribed life stifling: she and her family are played with by Kate (or, without permission, by Kate's little sister, Nora) or they engage in mild and quiet diversions like singalongs when the humans are out or asleep. Things have changed, however, with Annabelle's discovery of the diary of her Aunt Sarah, who disappeared forty-five years ago, and with the arrival of a lively plastic doll family, the Funcrafts, whose daughter Tiffany becomes Annabelle's bosom friend. The two doll girls decide to find Annabelle's missing aunt, but on the way they have to deal with obstacles such as the household cat and the Dolls' long-simmering family issues that surround Sarah's disappearance. The dolls-come-alive plot retains its eternal allure, and Martin and Godwin make particularly entertaining use of the contrast between the dignified, handmade Dolls and the intrepid, happy-go-lucky Funcrafts. The plotting doesn't really justify the book's length, however, since the pacing is slow and indistinct; there's also some contrivance to aspects of the Dolls' life (the chronology doesn't quite account for some concrete details or family feelings). It's therefore not up to the standard of living-doll titles such as Waugh's The Mennyms (BCCB 5/94) and Griffiths' Caitlin's Holiday (10/90), but it's still a cozy and gently imaginative adventure, and its convenient chapter breaks add to its utility as a readaloud. Selznick's soft pencil illustrations thickly populate the pages in spot art and full-page views; while there's more visual similarity between the Dolls and the Funcrafts than readers will expect, the embracing design is cozy, and readers will particularly appreciate the inventive endpapers advertising each family of dolls. Review Code: Ad -- Additional book of acceptable quality for collections needing more material in the area.—BCCB
Horn Book Guide, Spring 2001. Bothered that she hasn't seen her aunt Sarah for forty-five years, Annabelle Doll embarks on a search that takes her out of her protective dollhouse. She braves dangerous territory beyond the nursery to discover not only the answers to family secrets but also a whole new family of dolls. Black-and-white pencil drawings illustrate this lively addition to the doll-fantasy genre.—Horn Book
August 2000. Passed down from one generation to the next, the Doll family has lived in the same dollhouse, located in the same room of the Palmer family's house, for 100 years. While the world outside has changed, their own lives have notDwith two significant exceptions. First, Auntie Sarah Doll suddenly and mysteriously disappeared 45 years ago, when the Doll family belonged to Kate Palmer's grandmother. More recently, the modern, plastic Funcraft family has moved into Kate's little sister's room. Following the time-honored traditions of such well-loved works as Rumer Godden's The Doll's House, The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh and Pam Conrad's and Richard Egielski's The Tub People, Martin and Godwin inventively spin out their own variation on the perennially popular theme of toys who secretly come to life. By focusing on Annabelle's and Tiffany Funcraft's risky mission to find Auntie Sarah, the authors provide plenty of action and suspense, yet it is their skillfully crafted details about the dolls' personalities and daily routines that prove most memorable. Selznick's pencil illustrations cleverly capture the spark of life inhabiting the dolls' seemingly inanimate bodies. The contemporary draftsmanship frees the art from nostalgia even while the layoutDwhich presents the illustrations as standalone compositions as well as imaginatively integrated borders and vignettesDreinforces the old-fashioned mood of the doll theme. Doll lovers may well approach their imaginative play with renewed enthusiasm and a sense of wonder after reading this fun-filled adventure. Ages 7-10. (Aug. )—PW
August 2000. It's not easy to write a good book about dolls. There are so many things to work out. Are the dolls "alive"? Is there consistency to their existence? How do they navigate outside their home? Martin and Godwin not only set up a realistic doll world but also provide a credible mystery. Annabelle and her Doll family have lived in the dollhouse, now owned by Kate, since it came from England several generations before. In 1955, Aunt Sarah Doll disappeared, and Annabelle, with the help of Sarah's journal, is determined to find her. The authors add a wickedly funny touch with the introduction of the Funmarts, a dollhouse family meant to placate Kate's little sister, who's always messing with the Dolls. The Funmarts are a brash, breezy family of plastic dolls who can't believe the Dolls don't have a microwave. Still, Anabelle and Tiffany Funmart become friends and are soon taking great risks to find out what happened to Aunt Sarah. The story gets a wonderful boost from Brian Selznick's pencil drawings, which include charming endpapers. He catches every bit of humor, especially when he's drawing those Funmarts.—Booklist
It had been forty-five years since Annabelle Doll had last seen Auntie Sarah. And forty-five years was a very long time, especially for an eight-year-old girl.
The dollhouse, where Annabelle lived with her family, hadn't changed much over these years. True, tiny things had been added or had been broken or lost. A rug that had lain on the floor under the dollhouse had been taken away and never replaced. A pane of glass had fallen out of a bedroom window in the dollhouse, and the wallpaper in the kitchen had been painted over. But those were small changes.
The Dolls themselves had remained much the same, as well. Their china skin was a bit grayer, and their clothes were a bit more frayed, but otherwise they looked almost the same as they had the day Auntie Sarah was lost. In fact, the Dolls looked very much the same as they had the day they first arrived at 26 Wetherby Lane. However, they had once been a family of eight (if you included, as the Dolls did, the children's nanny as a member of the family), and now they were a family of seven.
Outside the dollhouse, in Kate's room and beyond, everything changed. Little girls grew up and had little girls of their own, people left the house and went to work or on vacations, things happened. History was made. But inside the dollhouse, not much happened, as far as Annabelle was concerned. The only important event in her entire, one-hundred-year life was that Auntie Sarah had disappeared.
But today, the second most important event had occurred: Annabelle had found something that had belonged to Auntie Sarah. No one knew she had found it. Not Kate Palmer. Not any of the Dolls. And keeping a secret in a house like Annabelle's was awfully hard. It might even be impossible, Annabelle thought, except for the fact that there was no one with whom Annabelle wanted to share a secret.
Chapter One: Annabelle Doll's Secret
Annabelle looked around the dollhouse nursery, feeling restless. "Bobby," she said to her brother, "let's play tag."
Bobby Doll was propped up in a corner by the stairway landing in the dollhouse. That was where Kate Palmer had left him before school that morning.
Do you think that's safe, Annabelle?" asked Bobby. "The Captain is right outside."
Annabelle didn't have a chance to answer his question. "No, it's not safe!" Mama Doll called from downstairs. Mama was standing on her head next to the fireplace, which was where Kate had left her that morning. It was a most uncomfortable position. "If you move around now, Kate might come home and see you. And Bobby's right. The Captain is just outside."
Annabelle looked out the side window of the dollhouse and saw the round yellow eyes of a cat staring back at her. She sighed. Why couldn't The Captain take a nap?
Annabelle flopped on her bed. She tried to remember where Kate had left her that morning. It was somewhere in the nursery. On her bed? Sitting on the floor playing with Baby Betsy? Calling to Nanny from the doorway? Annabelle got to her feet again and peered though the window. The Captain was just sitting there, staring in at the Dolls. When he saw Annabelle he licked his lips. Annabelle stuck her tongue out at him.
"Scat!" she called in her tiny doll voice.
"Annabelle, hush!" said Nanny.
Annabelle couldn't see Nanny, but she pushed herself away from the window anyway.
"This is so boring," she exclaimed. "My life is so boring."
No one answered her.
"Kate won't be home from school for ages!" she went on.
I am going to die from boredom, thought Annabelle. She flopped on her bed again. "Mama, can I ask you a question?" she called out.
"Is it a quick question?"
"I want to know how Auntie Sarah is related to us. Is she your sister, or is she Papa's?" Or is Uncle Doll your brother and --"
"Annabelle, that is not a quick question," called Papa Doll from somewhere.
And at that moment, Annabelle heard the Palmers' front door slam, heard Kate shout, "I'm home!," heard feet clattering on the stairs. The feet were somewhere near the top of the staircase when Annabelle remembered just where Kate had left her that morning. In a flash, Annabelle scooted across the nursery, and landed on Bobby's bed. By the time Kate ran into her room, Annabelle was propped against the headboard, her legs sticking out in front of her, her painted eyes staring ahead.
For the next three hours, while Kate did her third-grade homework, telephoned her friend Rachel, and tried to keep her little sister, Nora, out of her room, Annabelle sat on Bobby's bed and thought about her secret. Her secret was wonderful, and it was the only thing, that prevented Annabelle from actually dying of boredom.
Annabelle recalled the moment when she had made her discovery. It was during a night when Kate had closed the front of the dollhouse before she had gone to bed. She rarely did this, and when she did, Annabelle was delighted. It meant the Dolls had plenty of privacy during their nighttime, the time when the humans slept and the Doll family could move about their house. They could be a teeny bit less quiet, a teeny bit more free. Even The Captain, snoozing at the end of Kate's bed, couldn't harm them.
And since they would have more freedom than usual on that night, Mama Doll had said, "How about a sing-along, and then free time?"
"Yes!" Annabelle had cried. Sing-alongs were always fun, and free time meant time when the Dolls could go anywhere in their house, and do anything they wanted to do, within reason. "Remember," Papa often said, "never do anything you can't undo by the time Kate wakes up in the morning."
The Dolls had gathered around the piano in the parlor. Uncle Doll propped two tiny songbooks in front of him. One was a book of hymns. It had come from England a hundred years earlier with the Dolls and the house and the furniture. The other book had been purchased by Mrs. Palmer, Kate's mother, when she was a young girl and the dollhouse had been hers. On the cover of the book was a rainbow. Written across the yellow band of the rainbow were the words GREAT HITS OF THE SIXTIES.
"Let's sing 'Natural Woman,' " Annabelle had suggested.
"Yuck," said Bobby.
"Okay, then 'Respect,' " said Annabelle.
"R-E-S-P-E-C-T!" sang Bobby.
"Sockittome, sockittome, sockittome, sockittome!" Annabelle chimed in.
"How about a quieter song?" suggested Nanny.
The Dolls had sung song after song while Uncle Doll played the piano. Outside the dollhouse, Annabelle caught a glimpse of The Captain. He sat silently, listening to the doll voices. He could barely hear them, but they were there, all right.
The Dolls ended the sing-along after two choruses of "Bringing in the Sheaves" from the hymnbook. And then their free time began. Annabelle knew exactly what she was going to do. She wanted to examine the books in the parlor. And she wanted to do it privately. Lately, Kate and Rachel had talked of nothing but Nancy Drew and how she solved her mysteries. They had even read a couple of the mysteries aloud to each other, and Annabelle had listened intently. She wished she could be a detective like Nancy. And now she thought she might find something interesting on the dollhouse bookshelves. It was unlikely. But possible. Annabelle knew that most of the books on the shelves were not real. They were simply tiny flat blocks painted bright colors, with book titles written on one side in gold ink. But perhaps she might find a secret compartment in one of the shelves. Things like that were always happening to Nancy.
So Annabelle had begun her search. She started by removing the books from the shelves, one by one. Presently she discovered that some of the books were attached to one another. She could remove a whole block of books at once. This was interesting, but not very mysterious. Then she discovered that some of the books were, in fact, real, like the songbooks. She could open their covers and inside were teeny tiny pages with teensy writing: Classics of Modern Poetry, Oliver Twist. Annabelle read the eight-page story about the little boy named Oliver with great interest. Eagerly, she pulled out every book from the shelves. But the others wee pretend. She checked for secret compartments. Nothing. She stood on a stool and tackled the next shelf. Only pretend books. She stood on tiptoe and reached for the shelf above. And that was where she found Auntie Sarah's journal.
From outside it looked like all the other books in the parlor. It was dark green, with gold writing stamped on the cover. The title was My Journal. It was slightly fatter than most of the books, and contained dozens of pages as thin as onionskin, filled with spidery black handwriting and even some drawings
Annabelle stepped off of the stool and sat on the floor to look through My Journal. She opened to the first page. And there she found the words "The Private Diary of Sarah Doll, May 1955."
Sarah Doll. That must be Auntie Sarah, Annabelle had thought. She gasped. And when she heard the voices of Mama and Papa just outside the parlor she had shoved the book under the hem of her long dress.
"Annabelle," Mama had said, "let's have a bit of family time while we can still talk freely, and then it will be time to go back to our places. Kate will be up soon."
"All right," replied Annabelle. She had managed to scurry upstairs without anyone seeing the book, and she had hidden it under the covers of her bed. She knew that was dangerous. What if Kate, of all people, should find the book while she was playing in the dollhouse? But Annabelle couldn't help herself.
For the last week she had read the book in snatches, whenever Kate was gone or asleep, and Annabelle's family was in other rooms. Each time she read a few more pages she would close the book and once again place it under the covers, feeling restless. Annabelle was used to feeling bored. But not restless. Something was wrong with her life. Something was missing. It wasn't anything specific such as a hairbrush or a shoe. Annabelle didn't even think it was Auntie Sarah. Not exactly. It was...what was it? Was it possible to miss something you had never had?
Annabelle now sat stiffly on Bobby's bed, waiting for Kate to be called downstairs for supper. She thought about the last time the Dolls had seen Auntie Sarah. Annabelle remembered it as a day like any other, except that one moment Auntie Sarah was in the living room, and the next moment she wasn't. And she hadn't been seen since.
Annabelle thought again about Auntie Sarah's journal. Many of the pages were filled with drawings, mainly drawings of spiders. In some of the drawings Auntie Sarah had even labeled the parts of the spiders. Annabelle had read just a few of the pages of words, and this had taken her a long time because Auntie Sarah's crawly handwriting was hard to read. All Annabelle had learned so far was that daily life in 1955 had barely been different from Annabelle's life today.
Annabelle let out a sigh, hoping Kate wouldn't hear her. She liked having a secret. And she didn't. Because she had no one with whom to share it.
Text copyright © 2000 by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
|1.||Annabelle Doll's Secret||5|
|2.||The Mystery of Auntie Sarah||17|
|3.||Where Could She Be?||31|
|5.||The Funcrafts Come Visiting||57|
|10.||Uncle Doll Moves Out||123|
|12.||The Dolls Go Visiting||146|
|14.||The Funcrafts to the Rescue||176|
|15.||Into the Attic||191|
|16.||The Dolls Make a Plan||207|
|17.||The Captain Helps Out||223|
|18.||Annabelle's Birthday Party||234|
|19.||Grandma Katherine and the Dolls||252|
Posted June 6, 2011
I read this book back in fifth grade and I plan on reading the whole series again even though I'm older now. It was sooo cute and I really enjoyed seeing the detailed pictures that went along with it. I recommend this book for everyone no matter how old! Two thumbs up!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 24, 2010
I Also Recommend:
This book was about a doll. Her name is Annabelle and she has a friend named Tiffany. They are very brave because they find missing dolls. My favorite character in this book is Aunt Sarah because she explores around the attic and likes spiders. Aunt Sarah has been lost for 45 years.Will she ever be rescued?
I liked this book because two very brave girls go out to save Aunt Sarah. You should read this book because it is an amazing story for children because it teaches you to be brave. (Jacie, 7)
Don't ever think twice about buying this! I loved it!I found out about it when I went to Barnes and Noble to buy mouse and the motercycle and some girl was lookiong for it!:)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2010
This book was so good, its actually hard to explain. It combines realistic fiction, but then switches it to somthing that not real but it a great perspective to look at!!! REALLY GREAT BOOKWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 23, 2010
You should totally read it. And you would love it. It's very adventurous, exciting, caring, loving, and it sure leaves you hanging from chapter to chapter. If you read this one , you'll want to read the whole series! There are two more books, this is the 1st, here are the others: 2nd The Meanest Doll In The World, and 3rd The Run Away Dolls.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
My 6 year old daughter loved this book. We read it together and then she re-read it again on her own. There are some nice underlying messages in the book about self-confidence and friendships as well.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 19, 2010
My Book Review:
I loved the book "The Doll People" because it gave great detail and it had a happy ending. I loved how Annabelle went on an adventure to find her Aunt but instead she found a new doll house with a family. Annabelle became great friends with the family in the box and had a great time looking for her aunt with her new friend. Annabelle went on great adventures with her new friend.
Posted December 12, 2009
The Doll People is a great funny learning book that you cant wait to read the next chapter in. I truly think it can help people find others if they find a place for them in there heart.Some people can relate to this book and you can find out if your really love someone in your family.After you finish reading this book if someone is missing in your family go fight for them because im sure they love you too.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 17, 2009
Posted October 4, 2009
I chose this book to read to a 3 year old boy and a 7 year old girl i take care of during the week. we got into the habit of reading while they eat dinner as a way of getting away from having the tv on. we started out with the book "coraline" and the idea worked so well that they were telling me to continue reading til mom and dad got home. Doll People is a cut funny story about a family of dolls living in a doll house that has been in the family for many many years. It is currently owned by a girl named Katie. when the family goes to school or work during the day and to sleep at night the dolls come alive and are free to roam the house. they must, however, be back in the same exact positions they were in when everyone went to work or sleep by the time they get home or wake up. they can not raise the suspicions of the humans. katie's little sister gets a modern doll house with "plastic" dolls for her birthday. the older porcelain dolls and the new plastic dolls become friends and the 2 doll children annabelle and tiffany embark on an adventure to find annabelle's auntie sarah, who has been missing and is believed to be somewhere in the house for years. annabelle and tiffany take us on many adventures and come up against many close calls in being almost being discovered. Doll People is an easy and fun book. it's easy enough and intrigueing enough for a 3 year old to get into and just old enough to still hold the childish imagination of a 7 year old.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2009
My daughter read this book in the summer before her 3rd grade year. She could not put the book down. Every once in a while I would get reports from her about how the doll people were and what they were doing. She really got into this book. It has some adventurous parts, some funny, some reflective. I would recommend this book to any young reader.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2009
This is such a good book!!! there is a sequel the meanest doll in the world, which is so good! The author Ann M. Martin has great books like Main Street(Welcome to Camden falls)! her writing is so pretty.in main street each chapter starts out explaining the scenery. All the recommended books below. Are also GREAT!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 6, 2009
This book was full of exitement! Annabelle was always bored and she
always wanted to do things full of exitement. In this great book,
Annabelle and her family had many adventures. This book taught me lots of lessons. One of the lessons was, to do what she was supposed to do. This book is one of the best books I've ever read!
This was a wonderful book! I loved it so much! The second in the trilogy, The Meanest Doll in the World, was good too, but my favorite of the three is tied between this one, and the third, The Runaway Dolls.<BR/>Overall, a fun, imaginative series that is good for all ages!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 17, 2008
This book was so charming and imaginative. I was just as enthralled as my 8 year old daughter was. I could not wait to read with her everynight. I hope they come out with a movie.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 3, 2008
Posted August 18, 2008
This book is the greatest book I have ever read. I love the adventure. I think that Ann M. Martin should write more of the doll series. I have read it over and over again- This book never gets old! I have read both of the doll books but I still think that this one is the best. In both of the doll books there is so much adventure! Okay, well I gotta go now. To let you know again, this book is the best! Thanks for reading. Bye!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.