* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique recipe over on our Book Cook page…
Today’s great book: The Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin (2000, Hyperion) and illustrated by the great Brian Selznick who also authored and illustrated The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007) and Wonderstruck (2011) as well as Amelia and Eleanor Go For a Ride (1999, illustrator only) and The Houdini Box (2001) and others. The Doll People story also continues in the wonderful The Meanest Doll in the World (2003) and The Runaway Dolls (2008).
Time to Read: 256 pages, a page-turner, 19 chapters
Summary: From the back cover: 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.
Best Quote: “Annabelle stood still and looked at everybody, her hands on her hips. After a moment she said, ‘I have an announcement to make. I am going to search for Auntie Sarah.’…’That isn’t safe,’ said Papa. Annabelle thought about brave Auntie Sarah. She thought about Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt and Nancy Drew. ‘I’m going anyway,’ she said.”
Our View: In all honesty, at first I wasn’t excited about a book with the word “doll” in it, but I knew my kids would love it, and the illustrations are really what pulled me in as a dad…from the cover to the end pages. It is now among our top ten favorite chapter books in the secret book room! The illustrations are so detailed and nearly tell a tale of their own. Beyond that, the story that flows from the pages of this book really tells itself. Our first child was 6 when we read it, and my other two children, who always preferred for me to read to them together at bedtime, were 8 and 4. Your kids will be mesmerized by the matter-of-fact way in which the authors bring us into the lives of what we only thought were inanimate objects that looked like people and lived in a wonderful old, historic dollhouse in a child’s room. I’ll never forget that this was only the second book – the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) book was the first – that my daughters could hardly tear themselves away from and begged me to “keep reading” long after bed time. “Permanent doll state” is among our family’s favorite sayings now; that mysterious phrase alone should compel you to read this book. When you read the last sentence of the last page, you will wish it could go on – and thankfully it does. Though we had to wait for each additional book in the trilogy to debut, you don’t have to because all are now happily available at your favorite local independent bookstore.
Remember to visit our Book Cook page for a “Spider of the Doll People” recipe created by the kids to accompany this particular book.