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 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.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
t From BooklistGr. 5-8. It was exciting when the 100-year-old, dollhouse-dwelling Doll Family met the modern, "real pink plastic" Funcrafts in The Doll People (2000), a thoroughly charming exploration of the fantasy that dolls are secretly alive. In this action-packed sequel, things heat up even further after Annabelle Doll and her best friend Tiffany Funcraft dive into the human girl's backpack and get hauled off to school. They end up in the wrong kid's backpack and in the home of the meanest doll in the world! Will they bravely take on Mean Mimi, who is determined to expose the sacred secret of dollkind? And, how will they get home? Selznick's pencil drawings are winningly expressive, and the clever title-page progression, spelling out "The Meanest Doll in the World" in several pages, is not to be missed. There are inspiring moments of fortitude here as the dolls show readers how to live with integrity and without fear. Though the authors provide background info, readers will want to start with the first novel. Karin Snelson
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From School Library JournalGrade 3–5—A mysterious package addressed to Grandma Palmer's grandfather arrives at the Palmer home while they are on vacation. Kate's doll, Annabelle, and her sister's doll, Tiffany Funcraft, deduce that the package contains the Doll family's missing baby. They open the package to find that Matilda is indeed Annabelle's lost sister. But how do they keep the family from sending her back? Since the package is not addressed to the Palmers, they might not open it, and the baby will be lost forever. Annabelle decides the only solution is to run away with her new sibling to save her from this fate. Annabelle, her brother Bobby, Tiffany, and her brother Bailey join the adventure and find themselves lost in the woods and then trapped in a toy store. The adventure takes a dangerous and mysterious turn when dolls begin to disappear from the store each night. The story opens with Selznick's 12-page illustrated, wordless prologue, and his art moves the story along throughout the book. This fun, magical entry in the series is just as engaging as the previous books.—Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MA
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