Search This Blog

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb

"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!

It even inspired us to make our own paper dolls.

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?


  1. This is a favourite story in our house! Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

  2. We love this story too. Making paper dolls is such a fun activity :)


  3. I adore this book, but can't read it without crying! I love your paper dolls! #TriedTested

  4. That sounds like a beautiful book - it's not one we've read yet so will be popping it on the Christmas list for the girls! Love the paper dolls that you made :-) #TriedTested

  5. Ah my girls love this story but I always find it difficult to read, it feels like the flow is a little strange!
    Thanks for sharing your review on #triedtested this week x

  6. This is so cute Kate! I loved making paper dolls like this growing up, and the Julia Donaldson book brings a tear to my eye. BookBairn still finds this one a bit long at the moment but I can't wait to read it with her.