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From: Ann
On the Road Again

November 2003

Happy autumn! Are you enjoying the beautiful weather and fall foliage? I certainly am. So far, I’ve had a chance to experience the fall in Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York City, Connecticut, California and Washington State. If you’re thinking “book tour,” you’re absolutely right! For the second time, I’ve teamed up with fellow children’s author Laura Godwin. Our new novel is called The Meanest Doll in the World, and it is beautifully illustrated by Brian Selznick.  Along with Laura or Brian, I’ve been to signings and readings at bookstores all over the country, and it’s been so much fun!

Our first collaboration, The Doll People, introduced the Doll and Funcraft families to readers. In the story, it’s revealed that dolls who have taken the oath to uphold The Doll Code of Honor are actually alive. They have solemnly promised to protect the secret life of dolls and never to allow humans to see them in their living state. In The Doll People, Annabelle Doll and her new friend Tiffany Funcraft team up to solve the mystery of the missing Auntie Sarah Doll. The Meanest Doll in the World continues the story of the Annabelle and Tiffany as they deal with the challenge of a bully, Mean Mimi, who terrorizes other dolls in her quest to become the Queen of All Dolls.

We’ve been warmly welcomed at each of the bookstores we’ve visited. My part of the presentation is the reading of a selection from the new book, ending with a cliffhanger. When Laura is with me, she talks about the story and tells how we handled writing a book together. She’s funny and animated and enjoys interacting with the crowd. When Brian is with me, he wows the audience with his slide show that describes his unique artistic style. Brian first creates all of the doll characters so he has models of what he wants to draw. He makes their bodies from clay, rubber and wire, and even sews their outfits. The result of this process is a series of phenomenal illustrations that give the book a very special look.

The best part about traveling around the country is that it keeps me in touch with my readers. In San Francisco, we were excited to have a mother/daughter book club in the audience. I love the idea of a mother/daughter book club, and we were honored that our book was one of their choices. In Washington, D.C., we had a great time with a group of bright, inquisitive fifth graders who shared their thoughts on how to deal with bullies like Mean Mimi. And I’m always thrilled to meet fans of my other books, such as BSC readers, especially the ones who read the books a long time ago. It’s hard for me to believe that these BSC fans are now adults!

Because Laura, Brian and I have had such a terrific experience working on these two books, we’ve promised ourselves that there will be more adventures for Annabelle Doll and Tiffany Funcraft. I can’t wait! In the meantime, do you ever wonder if any of your dolls has taken The Doll Code of Honor?

Happy reading!