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The Meanest Doll in the World (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

The Meanest Doll in the World (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.5 53
by Ann M. Martin, Laura Godwin, Brian Selznick (Illustrator)

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Annabelle Doll is eight years old -- she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year ... until one day the Funcrafts move in. Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, with the help of Brian Selznick's remarkable illustrations, bring to life two wonderful families


Annabelle Doll is eight years old -- she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll people, day after day, year after year ... until one day the Funcrafts move in. Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, with the help of Brian Selznick's remarkable illustrations, bring to life two wonderful families who prove that dolls are people, too!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This novel, named a PW Best Book of 2000, introduces the Doll family, who has lived in the same dollhouse, in the same room of a family's home for 100 years. "The authors provide plenty of action and suspense, but it is their skillfully crafted details about the dolls' personalities and daily routines that prove most memorable. A fun-filled adventure free from nostalgia," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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 not--with 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 layout--which presents the illustrations as standalone compositions as well as imaginatively integrated borders and vignettes--reinforces 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.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Kate inherited her dollhouse with its handmade porcelain dolls from her mother and her grandmother. The dolls have lives of their own inside that hundred-year old doll home. While the dolls do not age, they do play and work and have adventures when the humans are away from the house or asleep. Annabelle Doll lives in the house with her mother, father, brother, baby sister, Nanny, and uncle. Her aunt used to live there too, but about forty-five years ago, she disappeared! When Annabelle discovers her aunt's old diary, she becomes determined to solve the mystery of her aunt's disappearance; modeling her behavior after the detective Nancy Drew that she hears Kate talking about all the time with her friends. Fans of such little people books as The Borrowers or The Littlest will enjoy reading about Annabelle Doll and her family and neighbors gallivanting around the human house trying to find the missing Auntie Sarah. Black-and-white drawings turn up often lending just the right old-fashioned touch to the tale. 2000, Hyperion Books for Children, Ages 7 to 10, $15.99. Reviewer: Judy Katsh—Children's Literature
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-When dolls Annabelle and Tiffany are inadvertently carried to another household, they come up against Mean Mimi, a bullying princess who rides roughshod over the toys in her realm. Superbly nuanced drawings echo the action that breathes life into these extraordinary playthings. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the further adventures of best friends Tiffany Funcraft and Annabelle Doll, the two are accidentally carried to a strange home in a school backpack. There they encounter Princess Mimi, a small, vividly wicked doll, so bad that she's good. Mimi, who's convinced that she's a real princess and will someday be queen of all the dolls, is terrorizing the other dolls in her house. When Tiffany and Annabelle help the frightened dolls overcome her, Mimi follows them home, intent on revenge. Annabelle understands that if the dolls choose not to be threatened by her, Mimi will make enough trouble to destroy herself. Wrapped in humor and adventure are serious considerations of self-esteem, the power of intimidation, and the nature of friendship. Selznick's precisely detailed illustrations, opening with the most brilliant curtain-raiser in children's literature, enhance the humor, fright, and chaos caused by Mean Mimi. With its indelible mingling of wit, action, characterization, and art, this stands alone, but will especially thrill expectant fans of the original Doll People. (Fiction. 7-11)

Product Details

Turtleback Books
Publication date:
Doll People Series , #2
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt


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

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
VolleyballGirl25 More than 1 year ago
Go read this book its th bomb
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
shadowgirl113 More than 1 year ago
this book is incredible i am currently sixteen and i read it when i was fourteen an incredible series must read the first book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Squid22Syd23 More than 1 year ago
this book is great for little kids. they will have a blast taking an adventure- going place to place and learning new things and how to deal with situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Paulntraci More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Val21TX More than 1 year ago
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.
Book_Worm_1998 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cupcake_Lady More than 1 year ago
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.
hannahtk More than 1 year ago
I love this book; It's really scary but awesome at the same time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lizzie72 More than 1 year ago
A good book about two friends in the real world trying to find a way home.Good job Laura Godwin, Ann M. Martin, and Brain Selznick!! Two thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.