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Among the Dolls    by William Sleator order for
Among the Dolls
by William Sleator
Order:  USA  Can
Starscape, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Vicky wants a new ten-speed bike for her birthday. But her oblivious parents give her an antique doll's house instead. It's large, impossible to ignore and includes a mother and father, another woman (an aunt?) and a little girl. She buys a miniature toddler, sets him down with the other dolls, and begins to play roughly with them.

The dolls begin to squabble, especially after Vicky becomes unhappy at school and at home. Oddly her mother falls and breaks her hand, then begins to bully Vicky's father and to scold and nag her about her performance at school. The dolls' arguments intensify too. Then comes the day when Vicky's mother slaps her over a bad report card. Back in her room, she feels dizzy, closes her eyes, and wakes up to find herself inside the dollhouse.

The dolls aren't happy with her - she's made their lives miserable. 'You are small and helpless now, I see' says the aunt. They blame her for how they are, and she flees their malevolence. Later, she notices a hidden doorway, that gives access to a cobwebbed attic. She wonders what sinister plan the dolls have for her - and how can she possibly escape?

Vicky does manage to resume her normal life and the dollhouse moves on to another family - I wonder what will happen to them? A Reader's Guide at the back of the book suggests discussion questions and activities related to this spooky story.

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