Creepy Dolls

Marriage is possible!
Ass Clown

Among the Dolls coverAmong the Dolls
Sleator
1975

Submitter: The book is called “Among the Dolls,” and along with the illustrations, it’s probably one of the more disturbing children’s books that I’ve seen– if I was a kid, I’d have nightmares from this book! I provided the illustration from the back cover as well as one from inside, just so you can really see how truly scary this book is!

Holly: Thought this book would fit nicely with our fiction week theme.   (Remember these other doll posts?) Enjoy and sleep well tonight everyone!

Lots of creepy dolls

life-size doll

34 comments

  1. It’s a perfect marriage in children’s fiction–William Sleator and Trina Schart Hyman! Don’t weed that, give it to the kid who reads too much Goosebumps! Heck, give it to ME.

  2. I would have checked this out solely because of the illustrations — Trina Schart Hyman was my favorite cover/interior illustrator; even as a kid, I recognized her style on sight.

  3. I’ve read this one and loved it, because it was creepy and weird. Please don’t forget the kids that love creepy and slightly distrubing books. In Junior High, I read and loved that books that are too scary for me now. And I write horror.

  4. Just to add to what I was saying, here’s what I found for the plot online –

    A dark awakening . . .
    When her parents give her a gloomy old dollhouse for her birthday instead of the ten speed bike she’s expecting, Vicky is disappointed. But she soon becomes fascinated by the small shadowy world and its inhabitants. The hours she spends playing with the dolls is a good way to escape from her parents’ arguments. As Vicky’s life becomes more troubled, she starts to take out her frustration on the dolls, making their lives as unhappy as hers.
    Then one day, Vicky wakes up inside the dollhouse, trapped among the monsters she’s created. Bewildered, Vicky is sure she’s dreaming. Can she find her way out of this nightmare world?

    It sounds a lot like something John Bellairs would’ve written. And while they terrified me to no end, as a child I repeatedly read The Spell Of The Sorcerer’s Skull and The House With A Clock In It’s Walls – our school library only had those two. To this day they give me delightful shivers. I bet this one would do the same, probably more so since the protagonist is a girl rather than a boy.

  5. I will pay for postage if you send me that book. Besides the fact that I would love it my kids at school would love it. This one would spend a serious amount of time checked-out. “Scary” Books are the number one requested item in my library (K-6) year round. I have a sixth grade teacher who uses “Behind the Attic Wall” by Sylvia Cassedy with his class and the kids love that one as well. Sounds like they are similar in nature. I love the illustrations in this one was well, kind of reminds me of….Maurice Sendak?

  6. Oh, wait! Didn’t William Sleator write “Interstellar Pig” as well? That was a really good sci-fi book that I read as a kid. If I remember right it’s kind of like a sci-fi Jumanji sort of plot. “Among the Dolls” appeals to a larger percentage of kids I think.

  7. I was reading adult books when I was in elementary school which could explain why I so often read YA books now. I’m sure there are plenty of kids out there that enjoy the creepy and strange. Yeah those pictures are pretty scary.

  8. @ Jessica Shurlow, Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy was one of my favorite books as a child..I thought no one else knew about that book! I agree that this is the type of book I would have been all over when I was a kid (and plan on looking for on Amazon now). I was very into “scary” books as a kid and young adult – to name a few favorites…Zilpha Keatley Snyder’s The Witches of Worm and The Headless Cupid, Wait Til Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Witch series (anyone else love Mrs. Tuggle??). I went back and bought copies of all these books as an adult because I loved them so much.

  9. Wow! I’ve actually read this one! I was going through a fantasy kick back in 5th grade, and I remember this being both scary and good; I don’t think I’d classify it as a weeder. The illustrations seem creepier than I remember, though!

  10. Please do not weed this book. Yes it’s creepy, but not in the PLANT PEOPLE sense of creepy (as in, just plain weird). It is written and illustrated by two of the most inventive minds in YA literature. If you work in a junior high library and have students who are slowly moving away from R.L. Stine, you can recommend Sleator’s books. THE HOUSE OF STAIRS is a fabulous book about a mind-control experiment and really makes readers think. His book ODDBALLS is a fictionalized account of his rather unorthodox family and upbringing.

  11. I LOVED this book when I was a kid! Another good ‘living’ dolls book is ‘The Dollhouse Caper’ by Jean S. O’Connell. Not as creepy, but a good mystery.

    That said, the cover is way dated and will probably turn away more readers than it’ll interest. I think I had a slightly more up-to-date cover . . . http://www.librarything.com/work/401367/covers/. I had a copy with the first cover, but I think the second one in the list looks more timely.

  12. @Victoria Shurlow @Jessica—Behind the Attic Wall was one of my favorites in junior high! Slightly creepy but I still loved it.

  13. I read “Interstellar Pig”. Well, part of it. Three times. See, every time I’d get it out of the school library, I’d then get in trouble at school for one reason or another. After the third time, I became superstitious, and to this day (some two decades later) I refuse to try it again.

  14. I definitely remember reading this as a kid! I’m sure I checked it out because of the illustrations (I’ve always loved that illustrator and creepy ya books). I went on to read many creepy books by this author and loved them! He was one of my favorite/most memorable authors as a kid.
    I guess that’s why you don’t post many fiction weeders.

  15. Count me in as another one who read that book as a child. Yes, in was creepy enough to raise goosebumps on my arms, but I loved it! Especially with those illustrations. Adults sometimes forget just how much kids like being safely “scared” by stories. 🙂

  16. I love Trina Schart Hyman’s illustrations! In fact I just ordered this book from Amazon just so I can see more of her work. I’ve rescued some of her other books that I weeded from the library I run.

  17. ZOMG! Thank you for posting this… I TOTALLY read that book when I was in elementary school, and I think I remember loving it. To this day, I’m kind of a sci-fi, fantasy, horror chick when it comes to entertainment.

  18. One of the neat things about TSH books is that one can judge them by their covers: if they’ve got a TSH one, they’re bound to range from quite readable, to truly excellent (depending on the readers taste.) That’s probably because the illustrator was fairly selective about what she would illustrate.

    What a loss she is!

  19. I would have read this about 30 times if I knew about it as a kid. As others have said, Behind the Attic Wall and Sylvia Cassedy’s other doll-themed book, Lucie Babbidge’s House, are some of my favorites, and this seems in a similar vein.

  20. I’ve read this! It was seriously disturbing, but I remember it very well. I can’t imagine how that artwork made it past the editorial process — “Hey, this is for children, right? Because I thought maybe you were illustrating an issue of Creepshow here.”

  21. Ha, so I wasn’t the only one thinking of Behind the Attic Wall when looking at these pictures, especially the last one. I loved creepy stories as a kid. I actually liked Fear Street over Goosebumps. I found the later to be too corny for my taste. I’m actually considering looking this up. As much as I do enjoy books for my age group, there’s still some joy in young adult books that you just can’t seem to find anywhere else.

  22. I wouldn’t consider this a weeder….I loved this book as a kid. Seeing this post makes me want to track down a copy. True, it is disturbing(and MAN those illustrations!) but that is part of what I loved about it. It’s fantasy/mild horror disturbing, not ‘flowers in the attic’ disturbing.

  23. I loved this book! It had a different cover, though, with the girl sitting outside the dollhouse, far more benign. Couldn’t find it easily online, might have been one of those scholastic editions they make for schools. I won it for getting the highest score on a spelling test or some such in elementary school. Wish I still had it!

    On second thought, even though this publication’s cover is scary, I’m pretty sure mine would be far too benign for the taste of today’s young readers.

  24. i loved this book too! and “behind the attic wall”. william sleator wrote some of the creepiest books i read when i was 11-13 years old. i hope no one weeds these books from libraries… they did keep me up at night though!

  25. Not only did I love this book as a kid, but I feel it’s worth noting that my county library system still has multiple copies which still circulate. If it were tatty beyond repair I’d delete it, but otherwise it’s a keeper.

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