Reel Girl’s pick of the week: The Doll People

Before I write about Reel Girl’s pick of the week, I’ll come clean on two issues: I never do this feature once a week, and I have not read The Doll People in full. I have read enough to know the book is charming and stars no less than three adventurous female characters. My six year old daughter is obsessed with the book, and finished it without me. I just bought her the two sequels. I’m inspired to tell you about now, because I just looked at her book report and it looks like a report made for Reel Girl. Here it Alice’s homework verbatim, worksheet questions in bold.


Title: The Doll People

Author: Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin

How many pages? 256

Main characters? Anabelle, Tiffany, Auntie Sarah

The Best Part: is when they found Auntie Sarah. She was in the attic but her dress was stuck under a suite case. So Tiffany and Annabelle had to try to get her dress unstuck.

Did you enjoy the story? Yes

Why? Annabelle and Tiffany. They were brave a lot. They were very smart and read a lot of books.

Because I am one to judge a book by its cover, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this one. It’s about dolls and the one shown here has a pink skirt and a pink bow. This book came into our house because my older daughter’s friend, Calvin, gave it to her for her birthday when she was in first grade. I’m glad it found a way in past my prejudice.

What I love most about this book is that Auntie Sarah disappeared because she was so adventurous, she couldn’t stay safe, confined in her dollshouse home. Sarah’s niece, Annabelle, has the same spirit and this story is about how she gets the courage to follow her heart and how her family also comes to accept and admire her rebellious nature.

Based on Alice’s review along with sections I read, Reel Girl rates The Doll People ***HHH***

Someone commented on Reel Girl’s Facebook page: please note what age books are appropriate for. My daughter is almost seven. She loved it. It’s a chapter book. I think 6 – 10 would be ideal. Let me know if your kids have read it.

5 thoughts on “Reel Girl’s pick of the week: The Doll People

  1. My 8 year old is currently glued to the third book (Runaway Dolls), staying up way too late last night chortling, gasping and reading out excerpts frequently. She comments that there are “good problems” for Annabelle and Tiffany to solve in the books. The illustrations are delightful and absorbing in themselves and the writing is crisp and clear. We highly recommend this series and she is asking for a volume 4.
    I think it is important that some books use and validate traditional female elements like dolls in positive roles and stories. There is a tendency for some self consciously feminist kids media ie Brave to denigrate activities like sewing in favour of traditionally masculine pursuits. While this rejects narrow feminine stereotypes and that is important, it does send a slightly ambiguous message that girls can do anything but if they do obviously male type things that is more valuable. While stories showing girls breaking barriers are really important, and the WWII pilots sound amazing, maybe true equality will only be reached when a boy rejects knight training for knit training!
    This blog was one of the resources which led me to seek out the Doll People series, and which I use to try to navigate my son and daughter through the media world. Keep up the good work please.

    • Hi fjp,

      So happy to get your comment. This is why I started Reel Girl. Thrilled for your kids and thanks for being such a great parent. Also, after reading this, will continue to pass on recs from my kids even if I’ve only read bits and pieces.


  2. I read this book as a kid and loved it! Ann above is totally right… And it was really nice to read a book where the narrative arc is (as I recall) not just the typical story where the girl shows everyone that she needs to be free (as valuable as that is, as a kid I got sick of reading stories where it was assumed that women and girls were devalued in society – that’s not fun to read about!), but her helping her whole family realize they need to free themselves.

    (Also just general thanks for your blog, very glad I found it!)

  3. I read the whole series a while back, when I was closer to your daughter’s age. The are all FABULOUS! The strong female characters is great and I also love the theme of friendship between the “old” and “new” doll– great parallels to the power of friendship, and not getting caught up in stereotypes, all within books that are simply, important messages aside, great adventure stories.

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