Annabelle Doll is a one hundred year old china doll who belongs to Kate Palmer. Tiffany Funcraft is a new plastic doll that belongs to Kate’s little sister Nora. Little do Kate and Nora Palmer realize, but every night their dolls come out to play. During the day they can’t move or talk without putting dollkind in jeopardy, but at night they are free to do just about anything they want.
When the entire Palmer family leaves on a two week vacation, it is the ultimate chance for Annabelle and Tiffany to explore the house. Soon after the Palmer’s departure Annabelle and Tiffany sneak downstairs and find that a small package has been delivered. The package looks very old, and when Annabelle and Tiffany examine it closer they hear a voice coming from inside!
There is another doll inside the strange package. Soon Annabelle Doll becomes convinced that the doll inside the package is the Doll family’s long lost baby. A hundred years ago when the Doll family was sold they were accidently delivered with a baby from a different doll set. The Doll family loves their adopted baby, but they have always wondered what happened to their real baby.
When Annabelle and Tiffany rush upstairs and tell Mama and Papa Doll that they want to open the package Annabelle’s parents refuse to let her do so. They are afraid that opening the package would put the dolls in danger when the Palmer family returned and found the empty, opened package. On the other hand Annabelle is afraid that the Palmers will return the package because it is not addressed to them.
First Annabelle and Tiffany covertly open the package just to see if the doll inside is really Annabelle’s little sister. The doll they find says that her name is Tilly, and that she is three doll years old. She looks just like the rest of the Doll family, and it is quite clear that she must be the Doll family’s long lost baby. Annabelle and Tiffany decide to run away to hide Tilly from both the Palmers, who might send her back, and their parents who would want to put her back in the package before the Palmers returned.
But when Annabelle, Tiffany, and Tilly finally find themselves outside the Palmer house, lost in the middle of a nearby park, they realize that they have only two weeks to get back home. If the Palmers return and discover their absence it could expose the dolls’ secret life. And what’s more Annabelle and Tiffany’s parents must be terribly worried about them. But how will they ever find their way back?
“The Runaway Dolls” is a great continuation of this heartwarming series. The characters are just as fresh and lively as before. The plot is well designed, leaving plenty of room for all manner of innovative occurrences. One of my favorite scenes is when the dolls end up in the toy area of a department store, and Tiffany Funcraft and her brother get mixed in with hundreds of other dolls that are exactly the same. And for those readers who have read “The Meanest Doll in the World,” Mean Mimi makes a brief return that really made me laugh.
Brian Selznick’s amazing illustrations add extra depth to the story. Just as in his book “The Invention of Hugo Cabret,” Brian Selznick uses a series of pictures to show the way the baby doll Tilly was packaged, and then lost for a hundred years before she was finally discovered and sent on her way. In addition, I really liked the way he drew illustrations for the page borders during the time that the dolls were outside in the park. The lush plants, leaves and other vegetation drawn around the edges of the pages adds a whole new aspect to the story.
“The Runaway Dolls” is a great story that young readers will surely enjoy reading.
Inkweaver Book Rating: