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The Mennyms

(Mennyms #1)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  993 ratings  ·  79 reviews
The Mennyms are a family of life sized rag dolls who live in a modest British town. Their forty year long secret threatens to be exposed when a distant relative of their landlord visits from Australia. "Good old-fashioned fantasy at its finest."-Publishers Weekly
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by HarperTrophy (first published 1993)
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Kerri There are 5 books in this series. All wonderful! Just search for 'Sylvia Waugh' or 'Mennyms' on Goodreads or Amazon

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Eddie Watkins
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
I recently recommended this book to a friend, a very sensitive friend, a Gilbert & Sulliven listening light poetry reading friend who does not want to deal with anything that makes him squeamish (one of his favorite words, which compels me to carefully poke his sensitive spots during our conversations to see exactly what he considers "squeamish"). He's always asking what I'm reading, and I say "I'm reading _____ and it's great but it'll make you squeamish. DO NOT GO NEAR IT." I don't even ...more
Sally Derby
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I had my way, the Mennym series would be in every middle school library. I fell in love with the first one, in 1994--so much so that Iwrote a fan letter to Sylvia Waugh, the author. I subsequently met her at the Children's Literature New England conference in Cambridge, England, and we have been corresponding ever since. But even had I never met her I would love these books. Each of the Mennyms (human-sized rag dolls who have been mysteriously endowed with life) is such a complete, ...more
Jannah (Cloud Child)
This is pretty ingenious, has slight similarities to the borrowers but quite original and Waugh has written likable realistic characters of a unique species :D
I love the author's voice, a dry warm British one reminding me of the Wombles and my school library ..

I was expecting a little more from this story considering the reviews. I’m not exactly sure what I mean by “more,” but I feel as though I missed out on the magic of the Mennyms . I imagine as time passes their family’s tale of trying to live life with its complicated mix of pretends and realities may grow on me.

Does anyone else ever have that problem where a story becomes better than the initial reading after you’ve had time to ruminate over it a while?

The plot was very character
Jennifer Lavonier
Sep 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Who, or what, the Mennyms are is best summed up by a few lines from Chapter Three;

“They were not human you see — at least not in the normal sense of the word. They were not made of flesh and blood. They were just a whole, lovely family of life-sized rag dolls.”

When Kate Penshaw died 40 years ago, the ten dolls she created came to life. Miss Quigly and nine Mennyms were each “born” with their own histories and personalities. Collectively they’re able to tend to all the household needs, but they’
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sylvia Waugh's "The Mennyms" is a fantasty-based novel following the lives of the Mennyms, a family of rag dolls that have come to life. After spending many years of self induced solitude after their creator died, they receive a letter from a mysterious man named Albert Pond, stating that their old land lord has died, and that he will be visiting them around Christmas. The Mennyms are frantic. Will their secret leak out? Can the ignorant Albert Pond be persuaded into not coming? How will this ...more
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great story about a family of "human-size sentient rag dolls" who live in an old house together. Unlike so many books for this age range (probably late elementary/early middle school), there's nothing "edgy" about this book, but, at the same time, the characters aren't milquetoast and the story is surprisingly sophisticated. I read it aloud to my 9-year-old son, and it was quite a hit.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've always loved this book, and still do. I love the world created by Waugh, which is so realistic I never once don't believe the dolls are alive. She doesn't over analyse or try to scientifically or magically explain how they became sentient, which I appreciate (willful suspension of disbelief and all that...) Highly recommend.
Tabea Vanessa
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a precious read!! All the memories.... big love!!
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mary by: Kelli Keagle
Shelves: ya-juv
I'm not sure where this book has been all my childhood, but I'm glad it's here now. ;)

The Mennyms are Real-not-Real by design, and live their lives under the belief that they are less than human. But I'm not sure I've ever seen a more clear depiction of pure humanity. Props to you, Madam Waugh! The story is an instant classic; an instant essential part of my childhood memories (the ones I was born with... *wink*).

For a story that rarely leaves one house, there are surprisingly many plot layers,
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
I still remember this book, and I haven't owned a copy in almost a decade.

The idea of dolls being alive should be childish and silly, but in reality, it's quite a haunting, dark story. The Mennyms are incredibly human in their worries and lives and conflicts, and I really came to empathize with them. Each family member is distinct and memorable, and I often found myself torn between what I wanted to happen.

Past the second sequel, the series isn't quite as well done, but I still think this is an
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think this book explains postcolonial Britain pretty cogently. Forced to turn back to methods of domestic production, a family of dolls stands in as an allegory for the British who are concerned that their methods of enchantment will fail without their history of empire. Furthermore, the landlord, visiting from the former penal colony (now a post world-war melting pot) threatens to hold the old mother country economically responsible for debts incurred on its former colonies. Where's the line ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A children's fantasy involving a three-generation family of rag dolls who have been created some forty years before. The characters are believable enough, unfortunately, they are just not very endearing or even likable. Instead they are self-centered and for the most part surly with one another. Of course I'm sure I would be snippy too if I had experienced adolescent hormones for that long and could only PRETEND to eat and drink! My favorite part: Soobie, the teen brother ventures out to find ...more
Soobie's scared
I've lost count of how many times I actually read this book, both in Italian and English. It's the first book I've bought second hand because I really wanted to know how it sounded in the original version. It's where I got my nick from.

This book was published in Italy in 1995. I was 11. And I fell head over heel in love with it and with Soobie of course. I love the idea of this life-size dolls who could talk and feel. But I wasn't that fond with the character of Appleby.

Anyway. Love it.
Mara Vetters
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, kids-books
This book was really amazing. I loved all of the depth and levels that are hidden within the story. On one level this is a cute little adventure about a family of living dolls, but at the same time it has a lot to say about being human. I highly recomend this book to anyone, but come prepared to think!
Apr 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
CLM introduced me to this series by kindly giving me one of her extra copies, and I adored it. Geo and Holly love it too. There's nothing quite as "just right" as British fantasy for tweeners, is there? 13 year old HP/Narnia fans should like this understated series.
Dude I LOVED this series! Recommended to me by Emma, I totally ate them all up. :D
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down one of the best books I've read! I wish I'd read it in childhood, I missed out on great books as a kid and am making reparations for that. I was never much of a reader and I'm punching myself for not being one because I really missed out. No matter though, a great book will be a pleasure to read and revisit whether it's a children's book or a massive work of adult fiction. Simply put, a good book is a good book and genre and audience make no difference.

The Mennyms is masterful, deep,
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
The Mennyms are a family of dolls who have come to life. The family consists of grandparents, parents, five children, and a friend--and, later, another child. It's a book about family relations and the problems of being a doll--you can't go out in public because of your button eyes or blue skin; you can't eat or drink. I didn't like the way the family members treated each other. They really didn't seem to love each other, and the teenage girl was allowed to be a real brat. But it's a cute little ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-faves
I love this book with all my heart and all my soul. Whether it be the characters, atmosphere or storyline, this has it all and my stomach hurts thinking about how I don't have the others to jump right into. Everything about this book is wholesome and precious and although this was my second time reading it, I had completely forgotten what happens and had such a good time revisiting the Mennym family.
Tara Russell
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like this. It passed me by as a child - it was a Carnegie Medal winner when I was loitering in the young adult and classics section of the library - but a loving review by a friend encouraged me to read all about the Mennyms. There's some lovely philosophical one-liners in this, but the family and interpersonal dynamics make it both timeless and engaging. Now I'm left with the question to consider, who is my favourite Mennym? Soobie, the blue Mennym who rejects pretends? Appleby, who ...more
Maria Zanella
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A simple but powerful novel on truthfulness and make-believe, made out of little accidents and big changes. I appreciated how the magical element is assumed but not lingered on and becomes purely functional to the developing of a much more serious theme
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not even the teensiest bit creepy (way more akin to The Doll People than a haunted doll type of story) but this book and the family have a lot of charm. Not sure if I'm interested in continuing the series, though.
June Schwarz
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Appleby! Pilbeam! Soobie!

This novel is one of the books I wish had been around when I was eleven and miserably afraid and awry. Even so, I’m happy to have it now (for I am still often afraid and usually awry).
Kasey Fernandez
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Life sized dolls try to live a normal life in a world filled with humans.
Remark 9/2017:

One of those books I don't remember ANYthing about. Based on the reviews here I think maybe I should revisit?
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
From the blurb this sounded brilliant. It was OK. However, it's good to read kids' books regularly, it helps to think like a child.
Melissa Fowler
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this quirky story.
Apr 17, 2013 rated it liked it

THE MENNYMNS proves a delightful tale for kids of all ages. Incorrectly compared with THE BORROWERS the title characters are not miniature humans--but rag dolls, created by long-deceased Aunt Kate, which somehow became Alive. Three generations uner one roof experience the typical stress and trauma of complex interpersonal relations. Cleverly disguised when they must venture forth into London they communicate with the real world by and the telephone. Because they were
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Growing up I used to reread books all the time. (This could be off, but I'm guessing I've read this one book 6 times at this point.) Except as I've gotten more and more into book blogging and as my to-read pile grows exponentially I feel far too guilty to do much rereading. But I miss it, which is why on my 101 in 1001 list I included rereading 3 of my favorite childhood series as something I wanted to do. I have several I could have chosen, but decided for my first to go with The Mennyms.

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What's the Name o...: Children's book series about mysterious family [s] 6 24 Feb 09, 2014 03:49PM  

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Sylvia Waugh (sounds like "cough") was born in Gateshead, County Durham -there was no Tyne & Wear till 1974- in Northern England in 1935. Having worked full-time as a grammar teacher for seventeen years, Waugh began her writing career in her late forties, after her three children were grown. In 1993, she published her first book, The Mennyms, which eventually evolved into an entire series. Ms. ...more

Other books in the series

Mennyms (5 books)
  • Mennyms in the Wilderness (Mennyms, #2)
  • Mennyms Under Siege (Mennyms, #3)
  • Mennyms Alone (Mennyms, #4)
  • Mennyms Alive (Mennyms, #5)
“Being Soobie, always honest to himself, he was prepared to be no less than honest to God.
– I do not know who made the part of me that thinks. I do not know who I really am or what I really am. I am never satisfied to pretend. I cannot pretend that you are listening to me. I can only give you the benefit of the doubt. And it is a massive doubt, I can tell you. I do not know whether I believe in you, and, what is worse, you might not believe in me. But I need help and there is nowhere else to turn. The flesh-and-blood people who come here have something they called faith. Please, if you are listening to a rag doll with a blue face, let the faith of those others be enough for you to help me. I must find my sister, or my mother will be the first of us to die. Dear God, I don’t even know what that means!”
More quotes…