Doll Bones by Holly Black is a childrens book about imagination, childhood and growing up.
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, Zachs father throws out all his toys, declaring hes 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 which claims to be 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 . . .
An impressive book.
I’ve had a run of good books here lately. I’ve been quite pleased. This is another good one.
All too often, childrens books can provide and simplified, sanitised view of the world for children. This does your children a disservice. It doesn’t protect them – children already live in the world and know what it’s like- and it gives hem books where they can’t recognise people like them or their own circumstances. How are children supposed to love reading if they don’t see anyone like them in the pages of books?
Doll Bones doesn’t do that.
I remember being like Zach, Poppy and Alice. I remember being an unusual, imaginative child playing childrens games up till the point I was too old to be doing so. I remember not wanting to let go of that magical world until I absolutely had to. And I can easily see kids like me reading this and thinking ‘at last, someone who understands!’
It was a surprisingly dark book, but I remembered the darkness of my own imagination at that age.
It’s well-enough written- in books for children you aren’t really looking for amazing prose, just writing that is simple, descriptive and not confusing, and Black has always done that quite well. The plot is simple, logical and believable, and I really liked the characters., I could relate to and believe them and I think many children would too.
My main issue would be the lack of resolution in one major part of the plot-line. The doll that haunts them – while it sparks the plot and adds fear and danger at the end it doesn;t seem to matter. I’d have liked something with a bit more oomph as the end
ing of that story.
If you are wanting something with a bit more depth to give to your children, Doll Bones would be a good choice.