The Paper Dolls is the first collaboration between Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb and is much more reflective than well-known titles like The Gruffalo or What the Ladybird Heard. The story gently draws you in to the world of a girl with tiger slippers and a wonderful imagination. She takes you on an adventure with her string of paper dolls who face the clawing, roaring dinosaur, a snarling tiger and a fierce crocodile. If your child has ever lost a favourite toy, a loved pet, or a very special person The Paper Dolls explains in a beautifully subtle way how very special people and objects are never gone forever: when the paper dolls fall into the path of a boy with a pair of scissors this is not the end… they dance into the little girl’s memory, to stay until she is able to share them with her own child.
Blue and I have read this book over and over since it arrived. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of the book: it certainly wasn’t what I was expecting from Julia Donaldson. Blue is a typical toddler and enjoys finding the butterfly hairslide on every page and clapping along with the rhyme that appears throughout the book so it has become a regular and the more we read, the more I have grown to appreciate the story. As Blue gets older I can see that the book would be a good beginning for talking about difficult subjects like loss and the story has really got me thinking about his childhood and the memories I would like him to grow up with.
I never made paper dolls with my mum but I do have fond memories of making cakes and biscuits, digging in the garden, collecting acorn cups for magic fairy tea parties and lots of laughing. Reading The Paper Dolls has inspired a whole list of activities I plan to do with Blue in the run up to Christmas and beyond. Some are things I used to do with my family when I was a child and some are things I would like to start as new traditions. It will be interesting when he is older to see if he can draw a forest of his memories, like the one in the story and I hope at least one of the things on my new list appears in there!
I was provided with a copy of The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb to keep for the purposes of providing a review.