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The Paper Dolls

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  697 ratings  ·  84 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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4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  697 ratings  ·  84 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,
L.H. 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
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.
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.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ч — читинг чистой воды :)
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Ellie Labbett
Donaldson and Cobb draw an interesting connection between real and imaginary worlds in this story of a little girl’s play with her paper dolls. With the play landscapes and obstacles mirrored and brought to life in the paper doll world, this is a lovely example of something small representing much more. This story has real potential in discussing the permanence of imagined worlds, particularly through the paper dolls living on through the memory- regardless of no longer being physical.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sweet-childhood
Jednoduchý příběh s hezkou pointou o holčičce a jejích papírových panenkách. Dceři (2,5) se líbí ilustrace, pointa je abstraktní tak pravděpodobně nerozumí. Veršovaný anglický text vyprávím volně, kniha obstojí čistě jako obrázková. Dospělí ji budou mít možná o poznání raději. Pointa je hodně dobrá a závěr dojemný. Doporučuji nečíst poprvé přímo před dítkem, přes slzy nebudete vidět ;-).
Laura's Book Addiction
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lovely children's book about making memories and remembering them after they've happened. Very relatable to kids and the illustrations are perfect. With each Julia Donaldson book I read my daughter I love them even more...
Rory Wise
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
While I understand books such as this has its place in the classroom, I find the storyline quite idealistic and cliche. Particularly after reading books with challenging story lines, I struggled to connect with this one in particular.
Alison Ferhi
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-kids-books
My daughter loves this book and so do i. Brings a tear to my eye. Simply beautiful
Rachel McKitterick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful! Has really helped me to teach my children about memory and dealing with loss...xx
Shining Tan
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book to my girl since she was 1.5yo. She loves this book very much.
Zara Pemberton
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sophia-has-read
loved the part where the daughter becomes a mum and copies a memory from her childhood
Lumi / Otso
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
a lovely book with a lovely rhythm.
Hiba Yuki
Loved the sentiments in this one. Felt a bit like Rosie's Hat.
Cathie Maud
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
At first, I wasn’t drawn to the book because it kept repeating the rhyme of the paper dolls’ names, but the ending is so sweet... ahh, all the feels. (To be a bit modern in my lingo.)
Jenna Mills
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book. Made me cry the first 2 times I read it! I am going to struggle to sing with the same tune each time I read it though!
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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