Friday Fiction – Meanest Doll in the World

Meanest Doll in the World coverThe Meanest Doll in the World
Martin and Godwin

Submitter: This book is probably not as bad as it appears, but the drawings creeped me out more than anything.   It is written by Ann Martin, who has written several popular titles that circulate well in our library.  Brian Selznick illustrated this jewel as well. The graphics are, in fact detailed and look quite awesome, but look at them! SCARY!  Any child 8-12 (BTW, that is the recommended age group for this book) who gets this book is going to have nightmares of Chucky and his Bride. When we went to a genrefied junior- senior high school library, we tossed around keeping it but it was fairly new.  We put it in our Weird Types of Fiction section… mainly because it is. It has never been checked out since it was added in 2003 as a new title. It’s hasta la bye bye for this treasure!

Holly: Woah! It is creepy! That probably makes it more appealing to 8-12 year olds, actually. I’m surprised it never got a checkout. Between the popular authors and illustrator and the creep factor, it was a reasonable choice for a middle school library. Those pictures are nightmare-inducing for sure, though!

Mean doll

Talkin' Tammy doll

Troll dolls

Troll dolls

Wilson and Sons catalog


  1. This is actually the second book in the series. The publisher has some sort of connection to Disney, which actually works against this becoming a movie — wouldn’t want to compete with Toy Story.

    I did not appreciate, in the first story, where they said action figures did NOT come to life like dolls; apparently they were too violent and out of control. I usually hate to call reverse sexism but thought it was justified here.

  2. I read this book and the previous title in the series, The Doll People, to my daughter and we both enjoyed them. I am not usually fan of Ann Martin but this series was good.

    1. Holy fishsticks, that’s it! I thought the artwork for this book seemed familiar. I loved ‘The Doll People’ …I read it when I was about eight years old so 19 years ago! Wows!

  3. I often wonder how tweens decide which books to check out. They have so many choices now! Are kids today still active readers?

    1. The way I was constantly hearing how bibliophobic kids were when I was young, along with many PSA’s which were, ironically, on TV, you’d think they were never active readers. I was the exception. When Harry Potter came out people were gushing how it made their kids actually enjoy reading. Then the movies came out and it was like, “meh”. Many people who have complained about the recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory not being as “hardcore” or whatever for showing that the kids had survived their severe punishments for being greedy and nasty are obviously clueless that it actually *did* happen in the book!
      Ugh… I’m sorry, I just needed to rant.

    1. The Mouse And His Child was waaaay creepier. I still have Major Feels over the clockwork elephant, with her jam stains and her missing eye. 🙁

  4. I believe they’ve even released new covers recently. These are perfectly find books, just not circulating in your library. Perhaps the cover makes kids think it’s too young for them.

    Not a bad book, just bad luck.

  5. Kids are still active readers, and, in the bookstore that supports my lavish lifestyle while I pursue a full time librarian job, we sell this pretty regularly. Just had a girl ask for it this morning, in fact. I’m not an Ann Martin fan but admire her writing, and would say this is quite good and spot on for the audience, which may overlap with the Goosebumps crowd.

  6. I’m not really surprised it didn’t circulate. Picture books are pretty young for a junior-senior high school crowd. An elementary school library probably would’ve been a better home for this book.

  7. Brian Selznick has a dark side for sure – ever read The boy of a thousand faces?

    There is a place for creepy in tween lit, but definitely not for all kids!

  8. This series circulates regularly in my library at a preK-8 private school, but the students who have checked it out are all middle school fans of creepier fantasy, as others have suggested (above). I wouldn’t pull the book based on Ann Martin’s reputation and the circulation stats, but hey–the submitter could send it to me–I can definitely use a better copy.

  9. I have this series in my K-4 school library. Martin goes in and out of style for my students. I weeded her Babysitters Club and Babysitters Little Sisters books that had an inch of dust on them after my first year and now I have kids ask at least three times a year for them. I direct them to this series and her Main Street Girls series with good results. I don’t mind Martin’s books. Her newest, Rain Reign, was very well written.

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