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The Mennyms Paperback – May, 1995


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTrophy; Reprint edition (May 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380725282
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380725281
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,406,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Waugh's wonderfully eccentric debut bears comparison with Mary Norton's The Borrowers and Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting. The creations of a gifted seamstress, the title characters are "a whole, lovely family of life-size rag dolls" who inhabit a large old house in an English town. Some time after their maker's death, the reader is told, the Mennyms came to life and gradually developed a number of ingenious strategies for making their way in the ordinary human world. Waugh develops this whimsical premise with rigorous logic: the dolls can't eat or drink (but, with the exception of the philosophical blue doll Soobie, they all relish pretend meals); they can't be killed (though a good soaking is nearly fatal to rebellious Appleby); and they never grow older (Appleby celebrates her 15th birthday every July 4th). After four decades, however, their peculiarly static immortality has grown stale--Appleby, for instance, has been a surly adolescent for longer than her mother cares to remember. A letter from the lonely-seeming heir of the Mennyms' absentee landlord is the first of a series of events that triggers difficult but ultimately welcome changes. This poignant novel is good, old-fashioned fantasy at its finest. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-After Kate Penshaw's death, the family of rag dolls she created came to life and took over her house. They keep to themselves and venture outside only when well disguised. A threat to their existence comes in the form of a letter-an Australian relative has inherited Kate's house, and he plans to visit. However, all their worrying and preparations are for naught, as he turns out to be an invention of Appleby, a bored and rebellious teenaged Mennym. The family's routine is further rocked when Soobie, 16, finds an unassembled doll in the attic who turns out to be his twin sister. The characters are complex; Waugh does a fine job of bringing out not only their individual personalities, but also their collective traits. Through the pleasant screen of their daily life, readers will see the tragic side of their existence-their isolation, fear of discovery, struggle to balance the real and the pretend, and their inability to grow. They have memories of the past, but are frozen at a particular age-the baby will never turn one; Appleby will always be 15 and struggling with adolescence. This novel provides an opportunity to think about what it must be like to be an alien creature trying to blend into a human world.
Jane Gardner Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
I love any kid's book that can throw its adult readers for a loop.
E. R. Bird
They are quite good at being invisible, until one day, a letter arrives in the mail slot.
Noel
The Mennyms let's you know right off the bat that you are THERE, relishing away!!
R. Siegel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a fourth grader and The Mennyms was suggested to me by my librarian. I read it and thought it was marvelous! I reccomend it to anyone who is interested in this series of books about a family of life-sized rag dolls. The charecters are Sir Magnus and Tulip, who are the grandparents, Vinetta and Joshua, who are the parents, Soobie and Pilbeam, who are the older twins, Appleby, who is a teenage girl, Poopie and Wimpey, who are the younger twins, Googles the baby, and her nanny Miss Quigley, who is the only non-member of the Mennym family but also a rag doll. I found the plot interesting and the charecters well discribed. I hope you read this book because it is fantastic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By N. Dorward on February 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The problem with this book is that it's hard to convince other readers that it's the real deal. The premise sounds like that of a fairly generic kid's book: the story of a family of live (human-size) rag dolls. But that's like saying that _The Metamorphosis_ is about a man who turns into a beetle. It's actually a shrewd & often disquieting study of the tensions & loves that bind together a family; it also offers an exceedingly ambivalent portrait of fantasy--the pathos of the dolls who engage in "pretends" (whether harmless--Joshua's comforting pretense that he's drinking from an empty mug of coffee--or much more harmful, such as the monstrous prank played by Appleby in this novel). & it has a curiously delicate approach to religious themes: on the one hand, each book in the series has a moment that quietly implies an act of divine benevolence--& yet Soobie (the most philosophical of the dolls) is an agnostic who in any case doubts that God, if he exists, cares about dolls like he does abotu humans. So Soobie's an unbeliever quietly asking God to help him in his unbelief (& yet his prayers _are_ answered). The book gives me a stsrong sense of how family life (however loving) can become a terrible burden in the absence of outside relationships (to friends, boyfriends, neighbours, &c). This is the dolls' real problem: that they are stuck with their own company, that their world is circumscribed by their own family.

This is all to make the book sound terribly heavy--which it isn't, though if you're expecting whimsy & colourful fantasy this certainly isn't the book for you.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
*The Mennyms* is a great book. And I highly recommend it. It's unlike any other book I have ever read; if you read one you must read the rest. It's a very unusual and original book, with wonderful characters you will fall in love with. The Mennyms is a family that live in an old house that they rent. But they are not an ordinary family, they are lifesize living dolls. One of the things this book is about is how they deal with being dolls. One of my faverate characters is Appleby, a sassy teenager who does not like being a doll. The book is all about them hiding from the outside and trying to keep their secret safe from their new landlord. If you like fantasy, (like *The Borrowers*) you will love *The Mennyms*. If I say anymore I may spoil it, so you must read it yourself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on March 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a book review by the Magnolia Bookworms a book club of 5 girls ages 9-10. Chelsea: I liked this book because it had a great story. It also went into other adventures instead of just one. Alberta: I liked the book because it was well written and suspenceful. My favorite character was Soobie because he read so much and he didn't pretend. Alice: I did'nt like the book because it was very depressing and sad and it should have started out more exciting so more people would want to keep reading. Hannah: I did'nt like this book because rag dolls trying to be human was weird. Cati: I did like the book because it was very intresting with the rag dolls acting like real humans.My favorite charcter is Vinetta because she was very helpful making the rest of Pilbeam.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Mennyms By Sylvia Waugh
The genre of this book is fiction. The setting of this book is in England at a Victorian house number five Brocklehurst to be exact. The problem in this story is that the Mennym's can't let humans see them because they are rag dolls, So when Albert Pond sends a letter that says he wants to come visit them they are extremely frightened. The solution to their problem is Albert Pond gets married and doesn't come to The Mennym's house. My favorite scenes are when Appleby is reunited with Pilbeam after many years of memories she was born knowing. My favorite characters are Pilbeam and Appleby because they are so complicated and they act just like regular teenagers would. I would recommend this book if you enjoyed the book The Borrowers you will enjoy this book. The Main Characters are:
Vinneta Mennym the Mother of the family is allmost always worried about something, kind, encouraging, and understanding.
Joshua Mennym the father who speaks only a few words at a time.
Sir. Magnus Mennym this grandfather is a wise one and has been that way for over forty years (when Aunt Kate made him and his family.)
Tulip Mennym the grandmother who takes charge by supporting her family, just like all the other adults, and paying the bills.
Hortensia Quigley the quiet neighbor who is almost part of the family. She is said to live on Trevethick Street but she really lives in the Mennyms cupboard.
Nuava Pilbeam the long lost twin of Soobie. She is sixteen years old and quiet cheeky but apologizes for it.
Appleby Mennym also very cheeky and rude, but unlike Pilbeam because she doesn't apologize for it. Most of the time takes matters in to her own hands.
Soobie Mennym The one responsible for Pilbeam being noticed.
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