"The Doll People" Book Discussion and Orange Tea Cakes Recipe

Updated on December 31, 2018
Amanda Leitch profile image

I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.


Annabelle is a 100-year old china doll who lives with her family in a dollhouse Kate’s room. But she has discovered a secret journal in the library, kept by her missing Auntie Sarah, about secretly exploring the house at night when the humans were asleep. A new doll family has also just arrived in Kate’s younger sister’s room, and they are all made of a new material called plastic, which doesn’t chip when it’s dropped.

It’s strange getting along with the new neighbors, but much more important to Annabelle is the mystery of what happened to Auntie Sarah. She decides to go exploring on her own to see if she can solve it and bring the lost family member back, but she must be careful not to be seen moving by the humans, or risk returning to permanent Doll State, and never being a live doll again!

The Doll People is a fun children's book that answers the question of what dolls think and do when we are asleep at night, and what wonderful adventures they can have. It will make you long for a dollhouse of your own or for your children, filled with “real” books for the dolls to read at night or sing along to on a grand piano.

Perfect for fans of

  • children's adventure stories
  • dolls
  • children's mysteries
  • Toy Story
  • the book/movie "The Borrowers"
  • folklore about brownies or fairies


Discussion Questions

  1. Why was it important that Annabelle always remember where Kate last put her?

  2. When were the dolls able to move as much as they wanted? What activities did they like to do?

  3. What is Doll State and Permanent Doll State?

  4. What were some of the differences between the Funcrafts and Annabelle’s family?

  5. What items did the Funcrafts have that the the Dolls (Annabelle’s family) didn’t? And vice versa, what did the Dolls have in their kitchen that the Funcrafts had never seen before?

  6. Why were the Dolls who were made of china afraid of being dropped, but the plastic Funcrafts enjoyed it?

  7. If a doll chose to be ordinary, could it ever change its mind and go back to being alive? Why did Annabelle choose to be a living doll?

  8. Was Tiffany right when she told Annabelle not to worry about The Captain, that he wouldn’t bother them? What happened next, and to whom?

  9. What item did Tiffany think of to help rescue Papa? How did they use it?

  10. Where was Auntie Sarah? What problems did the family have in getting her back in the dollhouse?

  11. Why hadn’t Mama and Papa looked for Auntie Sarah?

  12. Who had written in Auntie Sarah’s journal, at the end? Why?

The Recipe

In Annabelle’s family dollhouse, there are a few kitchen items that the newer Funcrafts couldn’t identify, including an orange squeezer and a whisk. Also, Kate would often play tea party with annabelle and the other dolls.

Since Annabelle and her family are small, I’ve created a mini orange tea cake with orange frosting, that could be served at any-sized tea party.

Mini Orange Tea Cake with Orange Icing



  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (vanilla) Greek yogurt or sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • juice and zest one large orange
  • 1 1/2 tsp orange baking emulsion, optional, for extra flavor
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Mini Orange Tea Cake with Orange Icing



  1. Preheat oven to 335° F. In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, orange zest, and sugar for one minute. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. To the mixer, add the orange juice, sour cream, vanilla extract, 1 tsp baking emulsion (if you’re using it) and combine on medium-low for two minutes. When the liquids are fully combined, slowly add the flour mixture for one minute. Stop the mixer to scrape down the insides of the bowl with a spatula, scooping all the way to the bottom, then mix for one more minute.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium speed just until they are incorporated. Scoop the mixture using a teaspoon or small ice cream scoop into greased or paper-lined cupcake tins. Bake for ten minutes. Allow to cool for ten to fifteen minutes before icing.
  3. To make the icing, combine the reserved orange juice, the 1/2 tsp orange baking emulsion (if using) with the powdered sugar in a bowl using a whisk, or a clean, new bowl in the stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed or by hand just until combined, about one-two minutes. You can either drizzle the tops of the tea cakes with icing, or dip the tops of them (once cooled) in the icing and set on a tray to harden. If the icing is too hard to dip, add a tiny bit more orange juice (or milk, if you’re out of juice) to loosen. If it’s too runny, add a pinch more powdered sugar. Makes about 48 iced tea cakes.

Rate the Recipe

5 stars from 1 rating of Mini Orange Tea Cake with Orange Icing

Mini Orange Tea Cake with Orange Icing

What to Read Next?

This book is the first in a series. The sequel is called The Meanest Doll in the World (Doll People Series #2). There is also a special Christmas part of the series called The Doll People's Christmas, which would be a great gift accompaniment with this book.

Books mentioned within this one are Nancy Drew mysteries and Stuart Little.

Other books by co-author Ann M. Martin include the famous Baby-Sitter’s Club books, as well as the books A Dog’s Life, Everything for a Dog, Rain Reign, and A Corner of the Universe.

Other books by co-author Laura Godwin include The Flower Girl, Owl Sees Owl, This Is the Firefighter, the Happy and Honey books, and more.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks is a classic bestseller and the first in a series about toys that come to life, when a boy places them in a magic cupboard, then reopens the lock.

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins is also a book about toys and their adventures and discussions; it is the first book in a trilogy.

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories Series #1) by Chris Colfer is about two siblings who go on an adventure in a magical, fairy-tale world.

Notable Quotes

“There’s nothing wrong with being different.”

“I Annabelle, an avowed member of the race of dolls, do hereby promise to protect our secret life by upholding the Doll Code of Honor in accordance with its everlasting law.”

© 2018 Amanda Leitch


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