Bookanista Recommendation: THE DOLL PEOPLE

Today’s Bookanista Recommendation: The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznick

The Doll People

From Goodreads: A family of porcelain dolls that has lived in the same house for 100 years is taken aback when a new family of plastic dolls arrives and doesn’t follow the Doll Code of Honor.

And from AmazonAnnabelle 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.

Today I’m shaking things up and featuring a super-cute chapter book. While young adult fiction has my heart, I read lots of picture books and chapter books with my girlie, and as a former fifth grade teacher, I’ve read countless middle grade novels. The Doll People is exceptional among books of any reading level.

I’ll admit, I initially picked The Doll People up because of the first-billed author: Ann M. Martin of The Baby-Sitters Club fame. I grew up reading and loving the BSC (Claudia was my favorite, naturally), but I had no idea that Ms. Martin continues to enjoy a prolific publishing career apart from her most popular (and probably mostly ghost-written) series.

I read The Doll People aloud to my daughter (who’s nearly five) and we both adored it. The story is quickly paced and charming, decidedly contemporary but with a delightfully timeless feel. A mystery involving Annabelle Doll’s Auntie Sarah carries the plot, and there are plenty of cleverly woven lessons about physical and “cultural” differences (these are dolls), following rules, true friendship, and finding the courage to explore new and sometimes scary avenues. The Doll People‘s illustrations (black and gray drawings by Brian Selznick, Caldecott-winning illustrator and author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret) are gorgeous and perfectly match the enchantingly magical quality of the story.

My girlie and I have already started the second book in this series, The Meanest Doll in the World!

Tell me: Have you read The Baby-Sitters Club books? Who was YOUR favorite sitter? 

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22 responses to “Bookanista Recommendation: THE DOLL PEOPLE

  1. OMG! I totally read this book in 6th or 7th grade and have fond memories of it. I also picked it up bc of the author (Babysitters Club ftw!). I thought the characters in this one were great. Have you and your girlie ever read THE BORROWERS? It’s an oldie (i.e. I believe it was around when my parents were kids, so think 1950s/1960s) but I love it – about tiny people who “borrow” things from humans in order to live and the adventures the tiny people get into. I only read the first book (THE BORROWERS) but I believe there are a bunch of them. 🙂

    • We’ve seen THE BORROWERS movie, Rachel, but we haven’t read the book. I have it in one of my multiple bins of chapter books leftover from teaching, though, so I’ll have to hunt it down. I bet my girlie would love it!

  2. The Goodreads description is awesome! “The Doll Code of Honor.” 🙂 I LOVED BSC, especially Claudia. She was creative, loved junk food, and had a Japanese grandmother, just like me.

  3. This sounds super cute! I love book-bonding with my kiddos. My son is all about some Goosebumps right now.

    • We haven’t tried GOOSEBUMPS yet, but I loved the upper R.L. Stein books growing up. What is your girlie reading these days? I bet you’re so excited to start sharing your YA collection with her. 🙂

  4. Thanks so much for sharing, Katy! This sounds like a wonderful book and like something it might be fun to read aloud with my four-year-old. I also LOVED the Babysitter’s Club! It’s so hard to pick a favorite sitter, but I think it would have to be MaryAnne. She was shy and quiet and always tried to be a good friend. Being kind of shy myself, I think the quiet ones always get me (Beth from Little Women is one of my all-time favorites along with Jo because, of course, she was a writer)!

  5. I loved BSC!! My fave was Claudia too, but I also related to MaryAnne because I was also really shy. I even sent a fan letter to Ann. M. Martin when I was in elementary school and she wrote back! I think it was a letter she sends back to everyone, but I was still pretty excited. 🙂

    This book looks cute! I also really like Brian Selznick.

  6. That sounds like such a great book! I’ll have to remember it if we have little girls. 🙂 I especially love the illustrations.

  7. katharineowens

    I sighed ALOUD at this description and the images. I love it already. Can’t wait to check this out. May even have to force my boys to read it. :00

    • They might like it, Kat. It’s definitely not a “girlie” book, and there’s plenty of action to hold their attention. Let me know what they think!

  8. My favorite BSC member was Mallory. I definitely felt really strongly about that–I even had a big plastic doll of her, I think released as a tie-in to the movie they made in the ’90s–and you know what? Now I could not tell you one single reason why. Did she love horses? Maybe? I also liked that she was younger, because I read these books when I was like, eight. But definitely a highlight of my childhood: going to an Ann M. Martin book signing at my local Media Play! It was my first-ever signed book, and the first time I met anyone famous (that I can remember, although apparently some of the adult cast members from Sesame Street came to our mall when I was like, four.) It felt like A Very Big Deal.

  9. That sounds like a really cute book, and reminds me of the classic Borrowers series (which I read over and over as a preteen) and the Mennyms series. I loved the BSC when I was younger, and started reading it from the start a few years ago. The best-written books are the earliest ones, before the ghostwriters took over and quantity became more important than quantity. My favorite is probably Mary Anne, since we’re both quiet and non-confrontational.

    • It is a little like THE BORROWERS, but the Doll People don’t actually borrow anything. They just have their little adventures throughout the house. It’s pretty cute!

  10. This sounds like a wonderful book! I need to check if they have it in French to gift my sister for when her newborn daughter is old enough 😀 Thanks for sharing Katy and hope you had a blast in Arizona!

    • Yes, you totally should. It’s a super-cute book, and I love that it’s the first of three (I don’t *think* there are more than three yet…) so my girlie and I can continue on with these characters for awhile. And yes, Arizona was fantastic!

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