cover image The Runaway Dolls

The Runaway Dolls

Ann Matthews Martin, Laura Godwin, , illus. by Brian Selznick. . Hyperion, $16.99 (323pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-5584-1

A fantasy with one foot in reality, this third adventure for the mismatched team of antique porcelain Annabelle Doll and contemporary plastic plaything Tiffany Funcraft (previously encountered in The Doll People and The Meanest Doll in the World ) has the daring duo running away from home, accompanied by Annabelle’s newfound baby sister and soon joined by their brothers. Regretting their decision, not knowing the way home, they eventually land in the toy department of a large store, where they face new danger—being sold to separate owners. Obeying the Doll Code of Honor, the toys must wait until closing time to spring to life, which complicates their escape. Characters and their exploits are fresh: cowgirl Dakota Jane drives a wind-up truck; Elsipad is thrilled that proceeds from her sale “will be used to fight world hunger.” The book opens with a narrative sequence of Selznick’s (The Invention of Hugo Cabret ) shaded b&w pencil drawings, which lure readers into the story and anticipate the first chapter, “The Mysterious Package.” The lush illustrations—full bleeds as well as spot drawings and vignettes throughout —are integral expressions of the novel’s spirit. Fast-paced, satisfyingly developed, the book is doubly enjoyable for its foundation in a solidly imagined doll culture. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)