I love the WordPress blogger feature that allows me to see the search engine terms people used to find the blog. (No, there is no identifying information about who did the search.) Searches regarding toys that come to life appear fairly frequently. Here are some examples: “can toys come to life”, “children’s book about shrinking, key, time traveling”, “kid finds small figurines that come to life”, “castle in the attic final test”. (I’m afraid my book review did not help that last seeker of information.) So, I’m delighted to put all the books I know of in which toys come to life in one post. Note numbers 5, 6, and 7 are about dollhouses.
1. The Indian in the Cupboard
by Lynn Reid Banks
Yearling, 2010, 240 pages
Amazon: It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian brave. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place! Omri and the tiny warrior called Little Bear could hardly be more different, yet soon the two forge a very special friendship. Will Omri be able to keep Little Bear without anyone finding out and taking his precious Indian from him?(my review)
Lynn Reid Banks took a good thing and ran with it. There are three other books in this series: The Secret of the Indian, 1989; The Mystery of the Cupboard, 2004: and The Return of the Indian, 2010.
2. On the Blue Comet
by Rosemary Wells
Candlewick, 2012, 336 pages
Goodreads: One day in a house at the end of Lucifer Street, on the Mississippi River side of Cairo, Illinois, eleven-year-old Oscar Ogilvie’s life is changed forever. The Crash of 1929 has rippled across the country, and Oscar’s dad must sell their home—with all their cherished model trains—and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his humorless aunt, Carmen and his teasing cousin, Willa Sue, Oscar is lonely and miserable—until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a crime so stunning it catapults Oscar on an incredible train journey from coast to coast, from one decade to another. Filled with suspense and peppered with witty encounters with Hollywood stars and other bigwigs of history, this captivating novel by Rosemary Wells, gorgeously illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline, resonates with warmth, humor, and the true magic of a timeless adventure.(my review)
3. Dinosaur Habitat
by Helen Griffith
Greenwillow Books, 1998, 112 pages
Goodreads: What if you suddenly found yourself in a misty world of colossal reptiles, giant insects, and a smoking volcano? Ryan wants to stay forever, but Nathan would go home now if he could only figure out how. In the meantime some of the dinosaurs have plans of their own for the two brothers — and that volcano is beginning to bubble. Here is an enchanting chapter book that will take young readers on the primeval adventure of a lifetime!(my review)
4. The Castle in the Attic and sequel, The Battle for the Castle
by Elizabeth Winthrop
Yearling, 1994, 192 pages
Goodreads: William has just received the best present of his life—an old, real-looking stone and wooden model of a castle, with a drawbridge, a moat, and a fingerhigh knight to guard the gates. It’s the mysterious castle his housekeeper has told him about, and even though William is sad she’s leaving, now the castle is his! William can’t wait to play with the castle—he’s certain there’s something magical about it. And sure enough, when he picks up the tiny silver knight, it comes alive in his hand! Sir Simon tells William a mighty story of wild sorcery, wizards, and magic. And suddenly William is off on a fantastic quest to another land and another time—where a fiery dragon and an evil wizard are waiting to do battle. . .(my review)
5. Time Windows
by Kathryn Reiss
HMH Books for Young Readers, 2000, 272 pages
Goodreads: When Miranda moves with her family to a new house in a small Massachusetts town, she discovers a mysterious antique–a dollhouse. Through the windows, she is shocked to find what seem to be living people in the tiny rooms, and gradually she realizes that scenes from the lives of the big house’s past inhabitants are being replayed there. (my review)
6. The Sixty-Eight Rooms series
by Marianne Malone and Greg Cal
Goodreads: When Miranda moves with her family to a new house in a small Massachusetts town, she discovers a mysterious antique–a dollhouse. Through the windows, she is shocked to find what seem to be living people in the tiny rooms, and gradually she realizes that scenes from the lives of the big house’s past inhabitants are being replayed there.(my review)
7. The Silver Tree
by Ruth L. Williams,
HarperCollins, 1992, 213 pages
Goodreads: Micki Silver must go back in time to stop a wish she has made from coming true–one that could destroy her family.(my review)
I would love to add to this list, so please let me know if you know of any I’ve left out. Books with this theme are tons of fun, so I’m really hoping I will learn of more!
Great list! My daughter’s reading The Sixty-Eight Rooms where two kids enter a doll house museum piece…it’s kind of along these lines. I read it a few years ago and think it fits this category.
I hope your daughter enjoys it! I have it on my list as #6!
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