Favorite Lines: “The beeping and pinging stopped, and Annabelle saw that Techno-Man wasn’t an action figure after all. He was an ordinary boy doll wearing a fancy costume.” (129)
This book is extremely out of the ordinary for me. I rarely read children’s books (usually the kids get bored before I can finish) completely. I bought this book and its predecessor over a year ago. The dust jackets have been destroyed and it seemed wrong not to at least attempt to read one of the two doll books. I randomly chose book two and it was a cute story.
The illustrations made by Brian Selznick are awesome. I loved the pictures almost more than the story. They are liberally strewn all over the book. The hardback cover (inside and out) is covered with design graphics for creating a doll. Color pictures made to resemble sale adds are on the inside detailing the many aspects of the different dolls. I could go on and on about the pictures, but I won’t.
Moving on to the story written by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin. The Doll family is an old porcelain doll set consisting of a mom, dad, boy, girl, aunt, uncle, nanny, and baby. They have been passed down since the late 1800’s in the Palmer family. They are the property of the oldest Palmer daughter, Kate. Kate has a little sister named Nora who owns a new plastic doll family called the Funcrafts. The girls from the two different doll families are best friends.
The dolls are alive. There are living dolls who take an oath and nonliving dolls who choose to not take the oath. The living dolls have one major rule: do not get caught acting alive. One night the girls are on an adventure when they are forced to hide in a backpack to avoid detection. They find themselves in school later that day and eventually they get in the wrong backpack so instead of going home they end up at another house. It’s there where all the trouble begins. There’s a psycho doll who is determined to rule all of doll kind and it’s up to the girls to thwart her plan of domination.
The story is a quick read intended for teenagers. I think it’s suitable for 5+ year olds. The story pushes the idea of kindness, respect, friendship, trust and responsibility. Something that’s obvious by the plaque that it’s posted on early in the story. It isn’t preachy and is written in an easy to understand manner. It would be easy to question kids about the story and see if the message got through.
Some books are hard for parents to sit through (though we often do). This is not one of those books. It reminds me of reading the Borrowers and watching the Little People. Watching life from another point of view. It makes me want to pick up a kid’s book every once in awhile, just to keep tabs on the new books that aren’t popular. I want my kids to find books that aren’t being talked about everyday and find an adventure. I want them to fall into a book like this and discover that some of the best books never make the big time.