Martin, Ann. M., Godwin, Laura and Helquist, Brett. The Doll People Set Sail
October 14th 2014
E ARC from Netgalley.com
When the Palmer girls are having their rooms redecorated and are spending time at a camp, the dolls and doll house are packed up to spend time in the attic. Unfortunately, in rush to get out of the house, the box is accidentally sent with donations to the Allied Transatlantic Charities. The dolls are all carefully packed, but Tiffany Funcraft is able to see out of a split in the seam of the box, and reports that they are being loaded onto a ship. When Tiffany opens the box further to get a better look, Nanny, Mr. Funcraft and Annabelle's brother fall out. The box is stacked on a pallet with other boxes, and the dolls hear dolls in other boxes speaking. When it is safe, they make their way out of the box to investigate and find a set of mermaid dolls who want to set up a colony in the ocean, a batch of foreign dolls from a neighborhood garage sale, and two larger dolls who are trapped in a tin chalet. Pooling all the hints they can find, they determine a strategy to locate and rescue the missing dolls. Nanny shows up caught up in some ropes, the father is in the possession of the captain's son, and the brother eventually shows up in the trough of ponies being transported back to England. With the help of all the dolls, despite the dangerous situation, they are able to find everyone-- but how will they get back to the Palmers?
Strengths: Picky Reader was such a huge fan of these (years ago, when she was in elementary school) that she consented to read this book in an electronic format, which she NEVER does. I have to admit to liking doll books as well, and this was just great fun. While some of the rescues seemed highly unlikely and coincidental, I could suspend disbelief. The setting in a ship was fun, and there were some charming moments of doll concern for humans that I enjoyed. The Helquist illustrations are close enough to the Selznick ones that I didn't mind.
Weakness: The ending was a bit deus ex machina, but does set the scene for perhaps a fifth and final book.