THE DOLL PEOPLE by Ann M Martin, Laura Godwin and Brian Selznick. Everyone knows when you go to sleep or go to school, your dolls have big adventures in your house. This story follows Annabelle Doll, who has been an 8-year-old for 100 years. Nothing much exciting happens in her world UNTIL the brand new neighbors move in - a shiny plastic doll family, including another 8-year-old, Tiffany Funcraft. The two friends solve mysteries and share adventures in this TOTALLY DARLING book, with phenomenal illustrations by Selznick (Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck).  The book is thick enough to be a “real book”, but has enough white space on the page and plenty of illustrations so that less fluent readers will feel confident. It has enough drama to be exciting, but not enough to be truly scary. It’s a fantastic read-aloud/family read, too. And there are two sequels, THE MEANEST DOLL IN THE WORLD and RUNAWAY DOLLS if your kids like this one. Which they will.

PERFECT for the 8.5/9 year old girl in your life, whether they are shy or outgoing, “tomboyish” or “girlie-girls.” (I hate both those phrases, but you know what I mean.) I’ve never met a girl that age who wasn’t charmed by this book. (Granted my sample size is only a few hundred, but.)