The Doll People (Doll People Series #1)

The Doll People (Doll People Series #1)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786812400
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date: 09/01/2003
Series: Doll People Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 56,774
Product dimensions: 6.35(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of the New York Times best-selling The Invention of Hugo Cabret, winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal and a National Book nominee. He has also illustrated many other books for children, including Frindle by Andrew Clements, Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Mu oz Ryan, and The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley, which received a 2001 Caldecott Honor. Brian lives in Brooklyn, New York, and San Diego, California.

Read an Excerpt


It had been forty-five years since Annabelle Doll had last seen Auntie Sarah. And forty-five years was a very long time, especially for an eight-year-old girl.

The dollhouse, where Annabelle lived with her family, hadn't changed much over these years. True, tiny things had been added or had been broken or lost. A rug that had lain on the floor under the dollhouse had been taken away and never replaced. A pane of glass had fallen out of a bedroom window in the dollhouse, and the wallpaper in the kitchen had been painted over. But those were small changes.

The Dolls themselves had remained much the same, as well. Their china skin was a bit grayer, and their clothes were a bit more frayed, but otherwise they looked almost the same as they had the day Auntie Sarah was lost. In fact, the Dolls looked very much the same as they had the day they first arrived at 26 Wetherby Lane. However, they had once been a family of eight (if you included, as the Dolls did, the children's nanny as a member of the family), and now they were a family of seven.

Outside the dollhouse, in Kate's room and beyond, everything changed. Little girls grew up and had little girls of their own, people left the house and went to work or on vacations, things happened. History was made. But inside the dollhouse, not much happened, as far as Annabelle was concerned. The only important event in her entire, one-hundred-year life was that Auntie Sarah had disappeared.

But today, the second most important event had occurred: Annabelle had found something that had belonged to Auntie Sarah. No one knew she had found it. Not Kate Palmer. Not any of the Dolls. And keeping a secret in a house like Annabelle's was awfully hard. It might even be impossible, Annabelle thought, except for the fact that there was no one with whom Annabelle wanted to share a secret.

Chapter One: Annabelle Doll's Secret

Annabelle looked around the dollhouse nursery, feeling restless. "Bobby," she said to her brother, "let's play tag."

Bobby Doll was propped up in a corner by the stairway landing in the dollhouse. That was where Kate Palmer had left him before school that morning.

Do you think that's safe, Annabelle?" asked Bobby. "The Captain is right outside."

Annabelle didn't have a chance to answer his question. "No, it's not safe!" Mama Doll called from downstairs. Mama was standing on her head next to the fireplace, which was where Kate had left her that morning. It was a most uncomfortable position. "If you move around now, Kate might come home and see you. And Bobby's right. The Captain is just outside."

Annabelle looked out the side window of the dollhouse and saw the round yellow eyes of a cat staring back at her. She sighed. Why couldn't The Captain take a nap?

Annabelle flopped on her bed. She tried to remember where Kate had left her that morning. It was somewhere in the nursery. On her bed? Sitting on the floor playing with Baby Betsy? Calling to Nanny from the doorway? Annabelle got to her feet again and peered though the window. The Captain was just sitting there, staring in at the Dolls. When he saw Annabelle he licked his lips. Annabelle stuck her tongue out at him.

"Scat!" she called in her tiny doll voice.

"Annabelle, hush!" said Nanny.

Annabelle couldn't see Nanny, but she pushed herself away from the window anyway.

"This is so boring," she exclaimed. "My life is so boring."

No one answered her.

"Kate won't be home from school for ages!" she went on.


I am going to die from boredom, thought Annabelle. She flopped on her bed again. "Mama, can I ask you a question?" she called out.

"Is it a quick question?"

"I want to know how Auntie Sarah is related to us. Is she your sister, or is she Papa's?" Or is Uncle Doll your brother and --"

"Annabelle, that is not a quick question," called Papa Doll from somewhere.

And at that moment, Annabelle heard the Palmers' front door slam, heard Kate shout, "I'm home!," heard feet clattering on the stairs. The feet were somewhere near the top of the staircase when Annabelle remembered just where Kate had left her that morning. In a flash, Annabelle scooted across the nursery, and landed on Bobby's bed. By the time Kate ran into her room, Annabelle was propped against the headboard, her legs sticking out in front of her, her painted eyes staring ahead.

For the next three hours, while Kate did her third-grade homework, telephoned her friend Rachel, and tried to keep her little sister, Nora, out of her room, Annabelle sat on Bobby's bed and thought about her secret. Her secret was wonderful, and it was the only thing, that prevented Annabelle from actually dying of boredom.

Annabelle recalled the moment when she had made her discovery. It was during a night when Kate had closed the front of the dollhouse before she had gone to bed. She rarely did this, and when she did, Annabelle was delighted. It meant the Dolls had plenty of privacy during their nighttime, the time when the humans slept and the Doll family could move about their house. They could be a teeny bit less quiet, a teeny bit more free. Even The Captain, snoozing at the end of Kate's bed, couldn't harm them.

And since they would have more freedom than usual on that night, Mama Doll had said, "How about a sing-along, and then free time?"

"Yes!" Annabelle had cried. Sing-alongs were always fun, and free time meant time when the Dolls could go anywhere in their house, and do anything they wanted to do, within reason. "Remember," Papa often said, "never do anything you can't undo by the time Kate wakes up in the morning."

The Dolls had gathered around the piano in the parlor. Uncle Doll propped two tiny songbooks in front of him. One was a book of hymns. It had come from England a hundred years earlier with the Dolls and the house and the furniture. The other book had been purchased by Mrs. Palmer, Kate's mother, when she was a young girl and the dollhouse had been hers. On the cover of the book was a rainbow. Written across the yellow band of the rainbow were the words GREAT HITS OF THE SIXTIES.

"Let's sing 'Natural Woman,' " Annabelle had suggested.

"Yuck," said Bobby.

"Okay, then 'Respect,' " said Annabelle.

"R-E-S-P-E-C-T!" sang Bobby.

"Sockittome, sockittome, sockittome, sockittome!" Annabelle chimed in.

"How about a quieter song?" suggested Nanny.

The Dolls had sung song after song while Uncle Doll played the piano. Outside the dollhouse, Annabelle caught a glimpse of The Captain. He sat silently, listening to the doll voices. He could barely hear them, but they were there, all right.

The Dolls ended the sing-along after two choruses of "Bringing in the Sheaves" from the hymnbook. And then their free time began. Annabelle knew exactly what she was going to do. She wanted to examine the books in the parlor. And she wanted to do it privately. Lately, Kate and Rachel had talked of nothing but Nancy Drew and how she solved her mysteries. They had even read a couple of the mysteries aloud to each other, and Annabelle had listened intently. She wished she could be a detective like Nancy. And now she thought she might find something interesting on the dollhouse bookshelves. It was unlikely. But possible. Annabelle knew that most of the books on the shelves were not real. They were simply tiny flat blocks painted bright colors, with book titles written on one side in gold ink. But perhaps she might find a secret compartment in one of the shelves. Things like that were always happening to Nancy.

So Annabelle had begun her search. She started by removing the books from the shelves, one by one. Presently she discovered that some of the books were attached to one another. She could remove a whole block of books at once. This was interesting, but not very mysterious. Then she discovered that some of the books were, in fact, real, like the songbooks. She could open their covers and inside were teeny tiny pages with teensy writing: Classics of Modern Poetry, Oliver Twist. Annabelle read the eight-page story about the little boy named Oliver with great interest. Eagerly, she pulled out every book from the shelves. But the others wee pretend. She checked for secret compartments. Nothing. She stood on a stool and tackled the next shelf. Only pretend books. She stood on tiptoe and reached for the shelf above. And that was where she found Auntie Sarah's journal.

From outside it looked like all the other books in the parlor. It was dark green, with gold writing stamped on the cover. The title was My Journal. It was slightly fatter than most of the books, and contained dozens of pages as thin as onionskin, filled with spidery black handwriting and even some drawings

Annabelle stepped off of the stool and sat on the floor to look through My Journal. She opened to the first page. And there she found the words "The Private Diary of Sarah Doll, May 1955."

Sarah Doll. That must be Auntie Sarah, Annabelle had thought. She gasped. And when she heard the voices of Mama and Papa just outside the parlor she had shoved the book under the hem of her long dress.

"Annabelle," Mama had said, "let's have a bit of family time while we can still talk freely, and then it will be time to go back to our places. Kate will be up soon."

"All right," replied Annabelle. She had managed to scurry upstairs without anyone seeing the book, and she had hidden it under the covers of her bed. She knew that was dangerous. What if Kate, of all people, should find the book while she was playing in the dollhouse? But Annabelle couldn't help herself.

For the last week she had read the book in snatches, whenever Kate was gone or asleep, and Annabelle's family was in other rooms. Each time she read a few more pages she would close the book and once again place it under the covers, feeling restless. Annabelle was used to feeling bored. But not restless. Something was wrong with her life. Something was missing. It wasn't anything specific such as a hairbrush or a shoe. Annabelle didn't even think it was Auntie Sarah. Not exactly. It was...what was it? Was it possible to miss something you had never had?

Annabelle now sat stiffly on Bobby's bed, waiting for Kate to be called downstairs for supper. She thought about the last time the Dolls had seen Auntie Sarah. Annabelle remembered it as a day like any other, except that one moment Auntie Sarah was in the living room, and the next moment she wasn't. And she hadn't been seen since.

Annabelle thought again about Auntie Sarah's journal. Many of the pages were filled with drawings, mainly drawings of spiders. In some of the drawings Auntie Sarah had even labeled the parts of the spiders. Annabelle had read just a few of the pages of words, and this had taken her a long time because Auntie Sarah's crawly handwriting was hard to read. All Annabelle had learned so far was that daily life in 1955 had barely been different from Annabelle's life today.

Annabelle let out a sigh, hoping Kate wouldn't hear her. She liked having a secret. And she didn't. Because she had no one with whom to share it.

Text copyright © 2000 by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

Table of Contents

1.Annabelle Doll's Secret5
2.The Mystery of Auntie Sarah17
3.Where Could She Be?31
4.Hello, Funcrafts44
5.The Funcrafts Come Visiting57
6.Annabelle Downstairs73
7.Doll State89
10.Uncle Doll Moves Out123
11.The Attic136
12.The Dolls Go Visiting146
13.Where's Papa?158
14.The Funcrafts to the Rescue176
15.Into the Attic191
16.The Dolls Make a Plan207
17.The Captain Helps Out223
18.Annabelle's Birthday Party234
19.Grandma Katherine and the Dolls252

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The Doll People 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 137 reviews.
ReadingQueen711 More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in fifth grade and I plan on reading the whole series again even though I'm older now. It was sooo cute and I really enjoyed seeing the detailed pictures that went along with it. I recommend this book for everyone no matter how old! Two thumbs up!
taysara321 More than 1 year ago
I chose this book to read to a 3 year old boy and a 7 year old girl i take care of during the week. we got into the habit of reading while they eat dinner as a way of getting away from having the tv on. we started out with the book "coraline" and the idea worked so well that they were telling me to continue reading til mom and dad got home. Doll People is a cut funny story about a family of dolls living in a doll house that has been in the family for many many years. It is currently owned by a girl named Katie. when the family goes to school or work during the day and to sleep at night the dolls come alive and are free to roam the house. they must, however, be back in the same exact positions they were in when everyone went to work or sleep by the time they get home or wake up. they can not raise the suspicions of the humans. katie's little sister gets a modern doll house with "plastic" dolls for her birthday. the older porcelain dolls and the new plastic dolls become friends and the 2 doll children annabelle and tiffany embark on an adventure to find annabelle's auntie sarah, who has been missing and is believed to be somewhere in the house for years. annabelle and tiffany take us on many adventures and come up against many close calls in being almost being discovered. Doll People is an easy and fun book. it's easy enough and intrigueing enough for a 3 year old to get into and just old enough to still hold the childish imagination of a 7 year old.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Book_and_recipe_Examiner More than 1 year ago
Annabelle is a 100-year old china doll who lives with her family in a dollhouse Kate’s room. But she has discovered a secret journal in the library, kept by her missing Auntie Sarah, about secretly exploring the house at night when the humans were asleep. A new doll family has also just arrived in Kate’s younger sister’s room, and they are all made of a new material called plastic, which doesn’t chip when it’s dropped. It’s strange getting along with the new neighbors, but much more important to Annabelle is the mystery of what happened to Auntie Sarah. She decides to go exploring on her own to see if she can solve it and bring the lost family member back, but she must be careful not to be seen moving by the humans, or risk returning to permanent Doll State, and never being a live doll again! The Doll People is a fun children's book that answers the question of what dolls think and do when we are asleep at night, and what wonderful adventures they can have. It will make you long for a dollhouse of your own or for your children, filled with “real” books for the dolls to read at night or sing along to on a grand piano. For discussion questions, a list of similar books, and a recipe for doll-house (or tea party) sized orange tea cakes with orange icing, visit
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first paragraph of this book grabbed me and held me: It had been forty-five years since Annabelle Doll had last seen Auntie Sarah. And forty-five years is a very long time, especially for an eight-year-old girl.The story is a hilarious and charming look at how Annabelle searches to find her missing aunt, and how her antique family copes with the arrival of plastic neighbours.
gabriella_26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Doll People was a book I would read over and over again. It sure did get my attention.
geb890 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fun story about dolls! Read it over and over agoin.
susanbevans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ann M. Martin's The Doll People is a great book. Annabelle Doll is eight-years old - has been since she was made, over 100 years ago. Part of a family of eight, Annabelle spends her days being played with, avoiding "The Captain" (her owner's cat), and most of all, avoiding being seen as alive by any human beings.When Annabelle discovers the journal of Auntie Sarah, who has been missing for the last 45 years, she decides to find out what happened to her. The fantastic adventures of Annabelle and her new friend Tiffany Funcraft are unique and humorous. The story is imaginative and delightful, and I really enjoyed reading it.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for something in depth and intellectual, this isn't the book for you, but if you are weary, tired and simply wanting something smooth, delightfully creative, imaginative and unique, then by all means, take a journey through doll land where magic occurs.A porcelain family of dolls have inhabited an antique doll house for four generations. They come alive during the day when the house is empty and at night when the house is quiet.There are funny adventures, both inside the doll house where the 100 year old family bangs away at a old fashioned wooden piano singing Aretha Franklin's Respect sockittome. sockitome, sockitome and outside the doll house where they hesitantly wander down the dark halls, sneaking under the sofa, hiding from the family cat who is ever lurking to catch them.The book is uniquely illustrated by Brian Selznick and would not be as wondrous without the stunning creative art work.When the young daughter of the real life people family receives a gift, the 100 year old doll family meet a brand new, modern, adventurous plastic bunch of characters who are not as rigid, up tight or breakable.The author delightfully intertwines the personalities and the cultural differences of the older and modern doll family members.I liked this book for many reasons, primarily for the imaginative wonderment of it all.
ElizaJane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Doll Family has lived at 26 Wetherby Lane for 100 years being passed down from mother to daughter all these years. Forty-five years ago Auntie Sarah simply disappeared and no one speaks of her anymore but Annabelle Doll finds Auntie Sarah's secret journal and decides she will leave the house and start to search for her. Along her searches she finds another doll family that has come to live with the youngest daughter of the family. The Dolls now have some fun neighbours and Annabelle finds a friend with the Funcraft Family.This book was pure delight! It was very reminiscent to me of The Borrowers, though the little people here are dollhouse dolls. The characters are simply charming and this is really a wonderful, fun, adventurous story to read. Brian Selznick's illustration bring the characters and setting to life as they decorate every third or forth page and sometimes the text stops for a whole two page spread illustration. Highly recommended for Grades 4 to 6, or as a read aloud for youngers. I wish I had daughters to read this too, but I, who am well past Grade 6 age, loved the story and will read the next two books in the series.
jordicouturexo3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin is a wonderful read for ages 10 and up. This book is easily enjoyed by the younger and older readers. It combines the fantasy of a child's imagination with the real "lives" of the dolls. The dolls are motion and lifeless when any human is around, as soon as the humans are no longer there, they become alive, and go on journeys throughout their homes. Annabel Doll, the porcelain doll, who has lived in her doll house for 100 years, life is shook up when a family of new plastic dolls (The Funhouses) move into the real human house that Annabel's doll house lives in. The plastic dolls do not live the same lifestyle as the proper porcelain doll family lives. They grow to become friends, especially Annabel Doll and Tiffany Funhouse. The two dolls go on a mission together, to find Annabel Dolls' missing Auntie Sarah, after they uncover Auntie Sarah's missing journal. The Doll People ends with the two doll families living happily in peace.
raizel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A chapter book with illustrations by Brain Selznick co-written by the author of the Baby-sitters Club series (which (I haven't read). Dolls can live active lives as long as no people are around to see them moving. Auntie Sarah Doll disappeared 45 years ago; when Annabelle, a child doll, finds Sarah's journal and a new family of dolls moves into their owners' home, adventures ensue. The gray illustrations are well done and capture the emotions of dolls.It finally occurs to Annabelle to worry about why her family never searched for Aunt Sarah and what they would do if Annabelle were to disappear. Her mother reassures her that the circumstances would be different and they would try to find her. The book is fine, but except for a brief discussion about Annabelle's fear of abandonment, not life-changing. Then again, not every book needs to be.
julieh8 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is not for people who dislike kids books. The Doll People is about dolls who come to life. They have to battle every little thing because they are so small. I was bored at some points but it got better as i read on.
SaraH5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book is the best book I ever read. The book is about a family of dolls living in a doll house. This is the best book EEEEEEEEEEVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRR!
catz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty cool because I was in a dolls point of view. But it didn't really catch my attention.
sparklegirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked the illustrations in this book: they can cover the whole page at times.
Leann_Thompson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fanciful story about the secret life of dolls. The story is centered around a doll house with a 100 year old family of porcelain dolls, and one member who has been missing for the last 45 years! A new modern plastic family is introduced into the house at 26 Wetherby Lane and a few conflicts arise when the new family doesn't seem to follow the "Doll Code".There are adventures to follow when the two girls of the doll families decide they are going to solve the mystery of the missing doll, Auntie Sarah.This is a fun story to read, with lots of adventure and a little bit of history sprinkled in.
SForbin16 More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was a child and I LOVED it! Since my deployment I've had a Nook since we have no space for many books on the ship. Why is there no Nook option for this???
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jacie515 More than 1 year ago
This book was about a doll. Her name is Annabelle and she has a friend named Tiffany. They are very brave because they find missing dolls. My favorite character in this book is Aunt Sarah because she explores around the attic and likes spiders. Aunt Sarah has been lost for 45 years.Will she ever be rescued? I liked this book because two very brave girls go out to save Aunt Sarah. You should read this book because it is an amazing story for children because it teaches you to be brave. (Jacie, 7)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago