"The Paper Dolls" is a beautiful book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. It was first published in 2012 by Macmillan. I have decided to review this book now as it is one of my four year old's current favourites and it brings me such joy to read it to her. The story is a real reminder of the magic of childhood and the power of little imaginations and our memories.
A young girl makes a string of five paper dolls with the help of her mother. They are called Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow. We follow them as they dance and jump and sing. They encounter a dinosaur, a tiger and a crocodile. They stargaze, sniff flowers and even chat to a ladybird but their adventure is abruptly ended by a boy with a pair of scissors. Snip! Have the dolls gone forever? Of course not, they simply fly into the little girl's memory where, we are told, they join "white mice and fireworks, and a starfish soap, and a kind granny... and more and more lovely things each day and each year."
We then see the little girl grow up and become a mother. She helps her own young daughter to make a string of five paper dolls called Poppy and Pinkie and Binky the Blinkie and Fred with one eyebrow and Flo with the Bow, who also jump and dance and sing!
This gentle story is very different from some of Julia Donaldson's better known books. It is incredibly moving and whenever I read it, I admit, I come close to tears! It shows that a little imagination can take us all on amazing adventures and highlights the true power of childhood memories. It could also be a useful story to introduce the concept of loss to young children.
Rebecca Cobb's lovely and almost child like illustrations fit so well with the text. This really is a great book to share together. The ending makes it a perfect book for mums to read to daughters or grandmothers to granddaughters, or in our case, on occasion, all three generations together!
Why not make your own paper dolls and take them on an adventure? Where would they go? What would they see and do? Who would they meet?