In another writer's hands, a plot involving talking paper dolls could be disastrous. But Mahy (The Door in the Air; The Greatest Show Off Earth, see p. 69) has a dazzling touch with fantasy, elevating it from potential silliness to lyrical inventiveness. One day, a girl's grandmother cuts out five paper dolls. She draws a face and clothes for the first one, but before she can finish all five, they blow away on a talking breeze. Thus begins a years-long journey in which each of the remaining four dolls is drawn by different people who chance to encounter them. Their adventures include being shut in a chemistry book and almost being chopped up by a lawnmower; they end with a return to the first owner and a sailing trip in a paper boat to a magical island where ""the voices of the world sang and whispered and grumbled and joked and argued all around them."" Readers who crave a dose of enchantment in their fiction will savor this diversion. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/03/1997 Release date: 03/01/1997 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.