Published by Listening Library, Margaret K McElderry Books on May 7, 2013
Genres: Middle Grade & Childrens, Paranormal
Length: 5 hours, 15 minutes
Narrator: Nick Podehl
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Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .
Poppy and Alice don’t understand why he wouldn’t want to play anymore when just the day before everything was fine between all of them. But unbeknownst to the girls, Zach’s father who had just recently come back to live with him and his mother threw away all of his toys that night and Zach is so ashamed of how much it has effected him that he can’t bring himself to tell the girls the real reason he feels he can’t play. It just so happens that same week Poppy says their queen China doll (who the three kids have always considered to be the Queen of all their toys) has communicated with her and says that she is really made from the bones of a murdered girl. Poppy says the Queen needs them to put her to rest in in her grave.
Setting out on a quest
Zach seems to be the main focus of Doll Bones. To me it was really his story and struggle with coming of age and whether to believe in the things that people (adults really) say. Or is everything just a lie. His struggles about what is real and what isn’t and your own powers of determination are really what make this story. While the girls Poppy and Alice are interesting they are more just there for support to the life lesson he is going through. As it seen when they don’t decide to go on the trip really until Zach agrees. And thus the three of them set out to travel hours away without parents, on their own, in the middle of the night to fulfill the dolls request. They don’t know whether Poppy is being honest with them but they all want to believe and odd mysterious things have been happening to then along the way.
Doll Bones was an extremely short but sweet read that I think middle graders will enjoy. It doesn’t have a heavy paranormal aspect to it just one that you could conceivably write off as the active imaginations of children. But it does have a really nice message about growing up, family and friends.
In regards to the narration of the audio version
I adored the narration of this. The voice / dialogue transitions were really well done and I felt the narrator really captured the essence of these three youths.
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