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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 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 January 23, 2013
Posted January 2, 2011
Posted July 9, 2010
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Posted February 20, 2010
My daughter is 8 and received the 1st in the series as a hand me down from her cousin who is now 19, after reading The Doll People, she had to have the others!! She loves the story line of how the dolls come to life and visit each other within their "forever family's" home. Great for an avid reader with an imagination, the story draws them in and they don't want to stop reading!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2010
I loved it and I hope your kid does too. But I bet she will because I know that I LOVED it. I got the second one and I loved it agian. I think that it would be a great gift for your girls. I got mine for Christmas and I thought that it looked really exiting. So I read it imidiatly, and it is so good. I love it and so will your girls. Please get your girl this book and I tell you that she will be very happy once she reads even two words, and if she does not like it then, she is so CRAZY because I loved it so much, and I am an eleven year old. I showed it to my cuz who is 15 and she loved it so if a 15 year old loves it then GET IT! You will NOT regret it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 21, 2009
My 2nd grader requested both this and the prelude to this book (Doll People). This was the 1st book ever requested for purchase and a pleasure to purchase and read alongside. They also read Doll People in class and all the kids enjoyed it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 20, 2009
I Also Recommend:
I think the book is fun to read overall. It is fun to read because the story is great, there are pictures on almost every page, and the characters are awesome and I can relate to the story in a real life situation! Fun to read and thrilling. I recommend.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 11, 2009
She's 9 and loves to read. During the summer she will check out 15 books from the library and read them in a weeks time. This is one book that she begged to buy so she could keep it in her collection. It's part of a trilogy and of course she had to read the other two books too. She treasures all three stories and plans to save these books for her children.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2009
I lov ethe characters and it is mostly suspenceful throughout the whole book. I liked seeing who the "meanest doll in the world" was, why they were so mean and what they were going to do next. The pictures also add alot of fun to the book and are on almost every page. I enjoyed reading about the the characters were feeling and it really helped you to get to know them.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2009
This book is my second favorite book in the world! This book was about
Annabelle and her friend Tiffany going in her owners backpack to hide and they go to school! This book was full of exitement & adventures.
They were always getting into lots of trouble. I would recommend this book to all ages above 7. This book was very very
fun to read.
I can't wait to read the third book:The Runaway Dolls
Posted March 13, 2009
I hope that you love this book as much as I do .
This is about two dolls that go on an adventure to
school and see lots of different things.
annabelle doll and her family are living in kate's doll haouse that has benn passed down for over 100 years.and the meanest princess creates a doll army and attacks annabelle doll's family.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 30, 2008
I read this with my daughter before we found the Doll People ( the 1st story) and it was such a fantastic story that as soon as we were done I had to rush out and get the Doll People. <BR/>The adventure they go on is great and exciting my daughter would beg for one chapter each night. <BR/>Now that she is able to read it to herself both the Doll People and the Meanest Doll in the World have been reread by herself.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 12, 2008
Okay Mimi is very mean and the other dolls call her mean Mimi. Mimi's character is not as good and polite as the other dolls. The other dolls are trying to make her nice but it's not working. The other dolls went to school by getting in there owners backpack. Once they got out they were lost,when it was time to get back in the backpack they went in the wrong backpack, and went to someone elses house with dolls. Mean Mimi followed them when they were going to the bookbag back to school.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 8, 2008
Posted March 17, 2008
Posted December 17, 2007
The Meanest Doll in the World by Ann M. Martin was an outstanding book. Tiffany Funcraft and Annabelle Doll are two of the main characters in the book. They are both caring, and they go on adventures together. Tiffany and Annabelle always wonder and think about ¿PDS,¿ permanent doll state, meaning if humans catch any dolls moving the dolls will remain in Doll State, frozen for 24 hours. I can¿t imagine that any doll would want that to happen to them. In the book, Annabelle and Tiffany go on an exploration with their Auntie Sarah in the attic. They soon realized that time flew by so quickly there and had to hide before the family would find them. Since they had been in such a hurry, Annabelle and Tiffany hid in a backpack, and soon after they ended up at school. They thought it would be a great opportunity to leave the backpack and explore. They knew that they had to get back to the backpack before the bell rang so they could get home. Little that they knew they got into the wrong backpack and ended up at a kid¿s house named BJ¿s. BJ¿s sister had dolls and so did he they ended up having a war against a doll named Princess Mimi, but they called her Mean Mimi due to her being so mean. Will Mean Mimi suddenly end up nice, or will she always be bossy? Read this great novel and find out! The setting of the book is in BJ¿s room. This book can teach you something, it can teach you that if you¿re being mean, try to control people, and think you¿re the boss of everyone, you won¿t have any friends in the end. In my opinion, I thought this book was wonderful and was very descriptive. I think this because it just makes you want to read more and more. You don¿t want to put the book down. This book is fun, and will make you excited and not disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.