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.
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 family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.
This masterfully crafted adventure is illustrated throughout with remarkable black-and-white illustrations.
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 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.
Gr 3-5--A lighthearted touch and a dash of drama make this a satisfying read. When Annabelle Doll finds her Aunt Sarah's journal, she hopes it offers a clue to the whereabouts of her aunt, who has been missing for 45 years. Annabelle is forever eight years old-the same age as Kate, the current owner of the Victorian dollhouse in which she and her family have lived for the past century. Their new neighbors, the all-plastic Funcrafts, who arrive for Kate's younger sister's birthday, are modern and brashly confident. Their pink plastic house has a barbecue, a computer, and a VCR. Tiffany, the Funcraft doll-girl, is just the right age to be a first real friend for Annabelle, and her daring spirit inspires the child's quest for her aunt. Determined and brave, she persuades her cautious parents to let her venture out of the dollhouse in search of her relative. Along with the usual perils of moving about in the real world, there is the risk of being seen by a human and succumbing to "doll state" or even worse, "permanent doll state." Selznick's illustrations are perfectly suited to the innocent charm of the dolls and do much to draw readers into their world. The delightful endpapers, which resemble pages from toy catalogs past and present, tell their own tale about the characters. A light and uncomplicated fantasy/adventure in the tradition of Rumer Godden's doll stories or even Pam Conrad's The Tub People (HarperCollins, 1989).-Kathie Meizner, Montgomery County Public Libraries, Chevy Chase, MD
Copyright 2000 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.