Ghost Doll, by Bruce McMillan

Cover of  Ghost Doll , by Bruce McMillan.

Cover of Ghost Doll, by Bruce McMillan.

Oh, Bruce McMillan. You magnificent weirdo.

If you’re not familiar with McMillan, he’s the Maine/Iceland-based photographer behind Days of the Ducklings and Nights of the Pufflings—I think those are the ones that are the most widely-known, but he’s written something like 45 books, so let me know if I’m totally off-base on that.?

Anyway, Ghost Doll.

It’s the story of Chrissy, an adorable little girl who makes decision after decision that would lead to a shock/horror/tragedy in a different story: She hears a disembodied voice coming from a spooky old abandoned mansion, she ENTERS said mansion ALONE, she interacts with a GHOST DOLL and follows it all the way to the tippy-top of the house, and somehow she not only survives all this, but ends up with a new (old) doll in the bargain???


Despite my general terror of dolls, I do love McMillan’s use of old-timey effects—and maybe I love them even more in 2019 than I would have in 1983? (Then again, in 1983 I would have been—pauses to count on fingers—six years old, so who the heck knows what I would have thought…):

Page 14 of  Ghost Doll , by Bruce McMillan.

Page 14 of Ghost Doll, by Bruce McMillan.

I especially love that his models always look like Actual Kids™, rather than professional, been-there, done-that models. Of course, it’s absolutely possible that I’m wrong about that, but even knowing that this book is telling a clear story and so there was obviously set up to include the staging of specific shots, there’s something here that feels really candid. Maybe it’s that Chrissy always looks like she’s about to dart off?:

Page 15 of  Ghost Doll , by Bruce McMillan.

Page 15 of Ghost Doll, by Bruce McMillan.

So, yeah. GHOST DOLL. Look it up.