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The Paper Dolls

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,035 ratings  ·  119 reviews
The breathtakingly beautiful story of one little girl and her five paper dolls.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2012 by Pan Macmillan
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Average rating 4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,035 ratings  ·  119 reviews

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Sophia Triad
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas
Absolutely fantastic book. You may know the book "Gruffalo" by the same author.

This is the story of a girl who likes making paper dolls with her mother. The dolls become her friends and the characters of her fantasy journeys.
[A nice game is to look for the stars (the ceiling decoration), the tiger (her slippers) and the lost butterfly (her hairslide) in every page of the book.]

One day a cruel boy snips the girl’s favorite paper dolls and the girl is NOT sad:

…the pieces all joined together,
Truth be told until the little girl's paper dolls were cut into many little pieces by that nasty boy and his scissors (and all she had left of them were fond memories), I had been very much enjoying and smiling at Julia Donaldson's The Paper Dolls (especially because the little girls' adventures playing with her paper dolls nostalgically reminded me of multiple sets of paper dolls from my own childhood and that indeed, the adventures and escapades I pretended to have with them were very much aki ...more
Contains Spoilers

2.5 stars. A little girl makes some paper dolls and she plays with them, naming them, making up games and taking them to places. Then a boy comes and chops them up with some scissors. The dolls live on in the little girls memory and one day, when she is a mum she makes some more.

The thing that really spoilt this otherwise quite lovely story for me was the scene where a boy cuts the dolls up, he is smiling and knows what he is doing and apart from the fact this is such a sad and
Daisy May Johnson
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Julia Donaldson's one of the big names of picture books, and I was excited to see The Paper Dolls where she teams up with the estimable Rebecca Cobb. If you don't know Cobb's work, it's lovely. I'm a big fan of her style and I'm a bit of a Cobb kick at the moment following the perfect pain of Missing Mummy.

It's a simple, rhythmic book with a beautiful aural texture to it. This is a book that demands to be read out loud, to be heard and savoured. Stylistically it reminded me a lot of John Burning
Jesi Rose
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
We had this book from the library for a few weeks and I read it almost nightly to my 2 year old. She loved it every time, and I think I managed to get through it without crying only once. The connection between mothers and daughters, and the role of memories in building who we are as families is so beautifully captured in this sweet story. The drawings were engaging, intimate, and showed the innocence of children's way of seeing. It's also a ton of fun to read aloud with the repeating section be ...more
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved this picture book and how the girl's five paper dolls managed to overcome all the challenges they faced together. The ending was lovely and really showed the importance of memories as the girl always remembered the paper dolls even when she didn't have them and went on to make more paper dolls with her daughter. I think this is a really positive story, children could have a go at making their own paper characters and the story could develop children's imagination with all the adventures ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Exquisite children's book! This is a book to kindle a child's imagination. Paper dolls that come to life and handle all sorts of adversity. The illustrations go with the text PERFECTLY and the language and the enthusiasm of the story is infectious. ...more
Carys O'Neill
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Whilst there was some repetition and a lovely story line, I did find the story slightly boring and think some children may lose interest.
Chloe Richardson
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Julia Donaldson as fantastic as always! A wonderful ending. A great moral that as long as you remember to keep your memories in your heart, you will never truly lose them.
Melissa Macfarlane
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Paper Dolls is a very special book that tackles the delicate subject of loss. It uses the idea of a fragile toy, a paper chain of dolls that becomes a favorite toy to a little girl, and explores what happens to something important to us after it is broken or leaves us forever. This could be a difficult subject to approach or explain with a young child and this book may be a good way to try. Whenever I read this book to early years children it always provokes intense discussion afterwords. I ...more
The Styling Librarian
The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb – Here’s another author I look forward to using for an author story, even have puppets to accompany her book inquiry! There are many lessons embedded in this book, it isn’t just a precious rhyming story! I love that there’s a character who acts terribly and doesn’t receive retribution, simply the attitude that his actions weren’t important in the long run. So often I’ve noticed students fixating on little problems and blowing them o ...more
Gabrielle Sandford-Marshall
The Paper Dolls is a beautifully-illustrated book by Cobb, that portrays the relationship between mother and daughter. The Paper Dolls vanished depicted to role of memories in our lives and the lasting effect they have.
The illustrations depict how the children envisage the imaginary worlds and their paper dolls coming to life. This lovely story would make an enjoyable afternoon read for children.
Claudia G-D
Sep 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Really nice illustrations. Throughout the story the message is that sometimes we need to stick together like the paper dolls to get through things. EYFS/KS1
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What an absolutely beautiful story. I hope this will help many children learn about loss. It had me in tears!!
Jules (Never enough time to read)
A beautiful book and story. One that has inspired us to make our own paper dolls and add to our fun together.

It is one of the shorter Julia Donaldson stories but a favourite.
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Argh can't read this without crying. Rather embarrassing when you're trying to read this aloud to the toddler. Thanks motherhood. ...more
Becky Sparkes
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. I thought it was beautifully illustrated and would really get the children’s imaginations working. The children could make their own paper dolls and write about the adventures they go on. The children could also write an adventure for the paper dolls that are made by the girl when she is a mum at the end of the story.
This book also contains lots of rhyme and repetition which can help the children begin to pick up some words.
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story about a young girl who makes five paper dolls, and goes on imaginative adventures with them. The girl and the dolls go on a bus, to a farmyard and even have a close encounter with a crocodile (played by her mother). All the while the dolls shout “We're holding hands and won't let go” throughout the story. Until a boy a boy comes along and snips the dolls into pieces. Sending the dolls flying into the girls mind where her grandma and favourite toys live. The girl then gr ...more
I must admit that I only picked up this book because it is written by Julia Donaldson and I do like her books such as The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child.

The book is ok to me - did not impress not bore me. I love the illustrations - I think it's lovely and the paper dolls were drawn exactly to the rhyme/repetition lines, found in the book. I would think it makes for a great read aloud book with your child(ren) as the rhymes are quite apt and beautiful.

Well, the book is simply about a young gi
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Kids easily get drawn to the detailed illustration and rhythmic track of this book. Not to mention, the suspense part - The eagerness to know on what happened to the Paper Dolls. Also, this book provides you the answer on how kids observe every minute details. Like, the color of the scissors used to make the ‘Paper Dolls’ and which snipped those; the exploration activity of butterfly hairslide in each page etc. This book will equally hook the kid/s and you till the end.
Limau Nipis
Beautifully illustrated and full of imagination. The book was stamped with Shortlisted for the Ciup Kate Greenaway Medal. Julia Donaldson books has never been a let down to me.

A story of a little girl with her paper dolls, and how the story does not end there. Full of imagination and perfect for late night reading.
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
My great niece and grandchildren all thoroughly enjoyed this book: we made a few strings of paper dolls afterwards (had to fold paper in three and do boy/girl for it!) and they painted them up and named them.
A little girl makes some paper dolls with her mum. She goes on lots of adventures with them. The way they keep escaping from different problems reminded me of the three little pigs story. In the end, they get cut up by a little boy, although they are physically gone, they remain in the girl's imagination with multiple other things including her grandma. The book could help children to understand loss through a positive view of no one ever completely leaving, suggesting they can always be with yo ...more
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl who creates her very own five paper dolls and begins to take them on imaginary adventures to places that are well illustrated in the book. Towards the end of the story, a boy comes along and snips the dolls into pieces.

I think this book is good for children to realise that as long as you create great memories (like she did with her paper dolls), you will never really forget them. On the other hand, when discussing memory, it can be seen as a big concept for young childr
Katie Lindsey
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved reading this book. In my opinion, the paper dolls were a metaphor for friendship, and every time something tried to destroy them it represented the challenges that all friendships go through. I think the book would work well in a year three or four class, especially during circle times or things like that when discussing friendships. It provides the idea that as long as you have people who are there for you, you can survive the hardest times. I also think the book very delicat ...more
Bethy Clarke
Another 5/5 for Donaldson!
In love with the illustrations in this story! The delicate, pencil/watercolour mix and child-like style is right up my street and fits the content of the story perfectly.
The storyline is just lovely and completely relatable to most children - creating adventures out of all the inanimate objects lying around the house.
The story also gently eludes to and introduces the topic of death/loss through the paper dolls entering the girl's memory and discovering what else is hidd
Renee Wade
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A stand out book. I read it for myself before reading it to my son (because he is a boy's boy and I wondered if he would be interested in a paper doll theme), I enjoyed it so much by reading it myself that it put a smile on my face.
And yes, then I read it to my oldest son (4 years old) and he LOVES it too, he's asked for it several times since. It is such a creative, memorable book! My son sings out the rhymes "They were Ticky and Tacky, and Jackie the Backie..." when he's playing on the playgro
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The book is all about childhood games and memories associated with them and our attempt to pass these things on to our children. The story begins with a child’s imagination running wild with the paper dolls she makes with the help of her mom. Eventually there are multiple attempts to destroy the paper doll but they survive it all with unity holding each other’s hand to only be ripped apart by a naughty kid. But they move on to the child’s memories and when the child grows up to be a mother, she ...more
Anthony Donnelly
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, kids
A little girl spends some fun time with her mother making paper dolls.
She and the dolls embark on a fantastic adventure, full of danger and derring do, facing crocodiles and rampaging dinosaurs.
Julia Donaldson is the author of ‘The Gruffalo’ and a number of excellent and highly successful books, but this is probably my favourite.
The book is a tribute to children's innocence and imagination. The writing is lyrical and the illustrations have themselves a childlike quality, but they are beautiful a
Bee Whitaker
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
This is an absolutely beautifully written and illustrated book that is very helpful in supporting children through loss. It also portrays the relationship between mother and daughter and the idea of paper dolls passing through the generations as the girl grows up to be a mother who makes paper dolls with her own children.
Younger readers can really connect with this book as the illustrations are so childlike (but yet so delicate) that they could have created them themselves. It's also a great ac
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Growing up
I grew up in a tall Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him).

Mary and I were always creating imaginary characters and mimicking real ones, and I used to write shows and choreograph ballets for us. A wind-up gramophone wafted out Cho

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