Doris was an odd little girl. No one in school really understood her and she was unpopular. She was failing American History and ended up grounded from the spring dance. Unhappy with life in general, it was topped off when she helped a bug-eyed man after he was attacked. Forced to be granted a wish, everything in Doris’ world turned upside down. Sent off to a world where flowers sneezed, an angry wolf chased her, and fairies were mean, she had to go about setting everything right, or be stuck there for good.
Doris and the Ankh had a Wizard of Oz vibe running through it. You have a little girl spun off into an odd, magical world and is joined by 3 companions to help her along the way. They are definitely not your usual companions; one was a once-dead mouse.
While the story itself is interesting, it was held back by a single thing. Until now, I had no clue how important the “show, don’t tell” mantra writers always hear is. This book was balanced on the edge of being okay and amazing by that one problem. There was way too much telling. In places where showing became more prevalent, or the telling was appropriate, the story took off and was quite enjoyable.
I personally found Doris to be a little difficult to understand. I’ll admit I liked her a lot better at the end of the book than I did at the beginning. She definitely grew and changed during her time in the strange land, so that’s good. I found a few of her companions much more agreeable, though there was this one… However, he was set up to be that way, so it worked perfectly.
This book is currently recommended for 5th to 9th grade. I will admit it gets a little dark at times and sometimes a little evil. So I will leave it up to parents how they feel about their younger children reading that. I’d compare it easily to the 5th and 6th books of Harry Potter in the level of darkness.
All in all, there were very few errors in the book, and I can see the right middle-schooler quite enjoying it.