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The Paper Dolls

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  309 Ratings  ·  50 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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The Gruffalo by Julia DonaldsonRoom on the Broom by Julia DonaldsonThe Smartest Giant in Town by Julia DonaldsonThe Snail and the Whale by Julia DonaldsonThe Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson
Best of Julia Donaldson
15th out of 100 books — 10 voters
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussWendall by Othen Donald Dale CummingsMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Books for six-year-olds
401st out of 508 books — 231 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 519)
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LH Johnson
May 16, 2014 LH Johnson 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
Sep 22, 2014 Melissathomas 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
Melissa Macfarlane
Aug 16, 2015 Melissa Macfarlane 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.
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.
Stef Rozitis
Apr 23, 2015 Stef Rozitis rated it really liked it
"You can't catch us, oh no no no we're holding hands and we won't let go..." the sing-song rhyme of this book really appeals to the children I work with and I use it when I want them to stay safe and hold hands or in play to help include people. I always get told I am "Stef with two noses" and then they laugh and laugh.

The idea of the book matches the pictures beautifully as if the text and pictures really created each other not came from different people. It is a story about art and the identi
Charlotte Dutton
Apr 23, 2014 Charlotte Dutton rated it it was amazing
Julia Donaldson's Paper Dolls is a wonderful book which explores the imagination of a little girl and her string of paper dolls, made with her Mum. The dolls go on an exciting adventure through the house and eventually end up in the garden. You see them escape the clutches of a toy dinosaur, a snarling tiger and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile. But when a pair of scissors approach the paper dolls existence is at risk!

It is a fantastic book which captures beautifully and illustrates
Suzanne Eyre
Mar 18, 2014 Suzanne Eyre rated it it was amazing
My 4 year old daughter was extremely attracted the the book cover - whereas my 9 year old son not so much! However he was sharp over with the mention of 'The Gruffalo' author! A firm favourite in our household.

We enjoyed the repetition and rhythm of the names of the dolls and made a little song out of this which my daughter was able to pick up on with ease.

My sons destructive side was fed with the destruction of the dolls.

Finally, my heart melted as it becomes apparent how we pass down the thi
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
Jun 15, 2015 Diana rated it it was amazing
Even though I've read this many, many times in the year that we've had it, I still get a little choked up on the page where the little girl's memories are illustrated. This is a sweet and fun story about being playful and imagination and memory. My 4.5 yr old loves reading and re-reading this, and is particularly amused by the quirks of some of the dolls (a unibrow is a fave!), while I love the sweet way that loss (of big and small things) is beautifully illustrated and tenderly touched upon. Fu ...more
Jun 28, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned, ks1
Julia Donaldson tells us of the adventures of a string of paper dolls at the hands of a little girl. There are few words in this book, but lots of scope for the imagination, and the repetitive rhyme telling us the names of the dolls provides an opportunity for young children to join in. There are opportunities for art work allowing children to create their own string of paper dolls. Naming the dolls would provide an opportunity to practice alliteration and rhyming. Children could write creativel ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Den rated it liked it
This is my least favourite Julia Donaldson book but it is still good - just not one of my favourites.
A young girl makes 5 paper dolls and takes them on magical adventures, but then a boy comes along and cuts them into bits ... sending them away to her grandmas. Then the scene changes to her making dolls with her daughter .... ah!!!!

Jun 30, 2013 Hannah rated it it was amazing
A little girl’s kind mummy helps her to make her some paper dolls. The dolls dance, sing, jump, and escape a dinosaur, however one day a pair of sissors attacks!. The story has a poignant ending as the dolls fly into the girl’s memory…
I have read this with Year 1 as it linked (loosely) with our project on ‘Toys’, and it raised some interesting questions, like what memory is, and how we can deal with disappointment. Used in collaboration with ‘The fabulous book of paper dolls’ it inspired childr
Apr 21, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Lovely book to read aloud with lots of detailed illustrations to talk about. Looking forward to reading this with my Gold Group and getting them to make their own paper dolls :)
Caroline Watkinson
Jun 10, 2016 Caroline Watkinson rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. A wonderful child-like story that can be used for themes of death, loss and absence. Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated. A hands-down favourite.
Rachael Farnsworth
An enduring favourite here. Beautiful illustrations, delightful text and a really lovely look at loss, memory and growing up. A pleasure to read.
Aug 21, 2015 Nick rated it really liked it
I would never normally include a picture book on Goodreads but this one is a beautiful look at a child's imagination and parenthood. Loved it.
Apr 18, 2014 Beth rated it liked it
I loved making paper dolls when I was young and this book brings those memories to life in a lovely way. The way the illustrations are drawn is gorgeous and they stand out from the pages in a wonderful way. I love the rhyming of the dolls' names - "Ticky & Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow - Very nice picture book to share in a group or as a by your self read.
Jun 20, 2014 Tracey rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I would not describe it is as breathtakingly beautiful as the back of the book says....just sweet or cute.
C Wharton
Sep 24, 2015 C Wharton rated it it was amazing
Recommended to C by: Philippa Reynolds
Made my mum cry when I read it to her!

Liked this book a lot. Good to read aloud.
Louise Buchanan
Nov 04, 2015 Louise Buchanan rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book. Such a lovely story line, particularly for mother and daughter.
Mar 27, 2015 Simone rated it really liked it
I liked this book because I liked the way the girl played with the paper dolls.
Feb 01, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Heart warming book... especially for little girls who love dolls.
Jul 11, 2014 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
My absolute favorite children's book! It's perfect in every way!
Catherine Grant
Dec 02, 2014 Catherine Grant rated it it was amazing
One of our very favourites, the words demand to be sung.
Lauren White
May 19, 2015 Lauren White rated it really liked it
Lovely illustrations. Good for grades k-2
Sarah Belschner
Apr 18, 2013 Sarah Belschner rated it it was amazing
"They were Tickie and Tackie
And Jackie the Backie
And Jim with two noses
And Jo with the bow"

Love this book. Whimsical story about the adventures of a girl's paper dolls - almost eaten by tiger slipper, toy dinosaur and crocodile oven gloves, then snipped into pieces by a mean little boy but saved forever in the girl's memory till she makes paper dolls with her own daughter. Nice repetition of the paper dolls' song, and the structure of each mini adventure. Fun "scruffy" illustrations. Inspires m
Aug 19, 2015 Tina rated it really liked it
A wonderful prose for children
Apr 21, 2015 Lynnstein rated it really liked it
Dealing with the loss of small things
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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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