Kathryn's Reviews > The Runaway Dolls

The Runaway Dolls by Ann M. Martin
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Jun 15, 11

it was amazing
bookshelves: children-s-novels, very-favorites
Read from May 12 to 27, 2011

I checked this out on a whim from the library—it had been languishing on my virtual TBR shelf for ages and when I found out the library had a copy on audiobook (and that the length perfectly coincided with my remaining commute hours before summer break), I snatched it up eagerly. I was enchanted within seconds—literally! The little intro music was so perfect—whimsical and fun and magical—and the moment Lynn Redgrave began her delightful narration I just let out a blissful sigh—it was like listening to a lovely, wise, witty, warm British grandma read a brilliant bedtime story. I didn’t even realize at first that this is actually the third book in a series (the library only has this one on audiobook) but the story is set up so well that I don’t think it matters. Of course, you’ll miss out on some of the surprises from the earlier books if you read them out of order, and I think all the books must be equally good based on the reviews here so I highly suggest you start at the beginning if you can!

I think I am spoiler-free for this review (and earlier books) by saying that I love the two main dolls in this story, Annabelle and Tilly. Annabelle is an antique doll, still well-loved and played with by Kate Palmer, the 10-year-old great-great-granddaughter of her original owner. Though Annabelle is in contemporary America now, she remembers well all the way back to being created at the dollmaker’s shop back in England at the turn of the century. Tilly is a modern FunCraft doll, and she belongs to Kate’s younger sister. Annabelle is a bit more timid and prone to worry whereas Tilly is quite the go-getter (though can you really blame Annabelle when she is made of stainable, breakable cloth and china and Tilly is durable plastic that can be wiped clean in an instant!?) yet despite their differences they are best friends and have lots of adventures together when the Palmers are asleep. Oh, they’ve had some near-misses in the past, coming quite close to breaking the laws of Dollkind (such as if a human sees them moving or if they end up somewhere that a human didn’t put them to begin with) and having to endure PDS (Permanent Doll State) as a consequence, but they’ve always pulled through and continue to be Living Dolls. In this particular case, their adventure takes them beyond the Palmer’s house and into the wider neighborhood and city as they become Runaway Dolls.

The storytelling is so magical, so warm and fun. The world of the dolls is set up so realistically with all of its rules, yet it still continues to delight and enchant. Fans of “Toy Story” or other stories where dolls come to life will certainly appreciate this tale. I loved everything about it. Even the secondary characters are great fun, from Annabelle’s Victorian extended family to the dolls the Annabelle and Tilly meet on their adventure. Highly recommended!!! (Especially the audio version, though I like Brian Selznick as an illustrator so I may have to check out the book version, too!)
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann I'm anxious to listen to these myself!


message 2: by Emily (new)

Emily Great review, Kathryn. I read and really enjoyed the first book when it came out ages ago. I really should get back to it and the sequels one of these days.


message 3: by Gundula (new) - added it

Gundula Lovely review, and I will now have to add all three of the books to my to-read shelf (but books about dolls I love these, even though I never liked playing with dolls that much).


Kathryn Thanks :-) I hope you will all be able to read and enjoy this series. I am eager to get my hands on the first book now!


message 5: by Gundula (new) - added it

Gundula Kathryn wrote: "Thanks :-) I hope you will all be able to read and enjoy this series. I am eager to get my hands on the first book now!"

I think I'm going to try to read them in order, after I've cleared out my own currently-reading list a bit :-)


Kathryn I hope you'll enjoy the continuing series, Abigail.


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