Friday, October 23, 2015
Module 9: The Dollhouse Murders
Book Summary: Amy is your typical 12-year-old girl who just wants to hang out with friends or be alone. She definitely does not want to be with her mentally handicapped sister, Louann, who annoys her endlessly. One day, though, at her great grand-parents' house, Amy finds a dollhouse in the attic that continues to show her the crime scene of her great grand-parents' murder from thirty years prior. Eventually, with the help of her friend and her sister, Amy attempts to solve what really happened all those years ago and what is trying to fix things using that dollhouse now.
APA Reference: Wright, B.R. (1983). The dollhouse murders. New York: Scholastic, Inc.
Impressions: Giving what is a very clever concept, The Dollhouse Murders excels on creativity and concept. However, while many have praised the book for its thrills and suspense, the dry writing style left a lot wanting. The characters were not interesting and were more often than not annoying. For a mystery or thriller to work, the characters have to be engaging--the reader needs to feel attached in order to want them to solve the case or make it through to the end of the story successfully. Despite the clever concept, this book did not leave much in terms of engagement.
Professional Review: Amy arranges to spend a few days alone with her Aunt Clare in the home once owned by her great grand-parents. She is particularly relieved to have some time for herself, free of having to care for her retarded sister, Louann. When she discovers an exquisite dollhouse in the attic, an exact replica of the family home, her aunt is unenthusiastic about her find and furious when she sees the placement of the dolls; years ago her grandparents had been murdered and the figures are now where the police found them the night of the crime. She accuses her niece of insensitivity in reproducing the scene, but the girl denies responsibility for moving the dolls. An emergency at home means Louann must also stay at Clare's and at first Amy is angry at having her plans to be alone shattered, but then the two girls discover the solution to the terrible crime. The combination of a beautiful, fascinating dollhouse, dark family secrets, ghostly events, danger and suspense are all sufficient to make this a likely choice for escape reading--Karen Harris, Department of Library Science, University of New Orleans
Harris, K., & Gerhardt, L.N. (1983). The Dollhouse Murders (Book). [Review of the book The Dollhouse Murders, by Betty Ren Wright]. School Library Journal, 30(3), 84-85.
Library Uses: Focusing on story prediction skills, use this book to try and figure out the ending based on the clues earlier on.