Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan Children's Books)

Now this book is rather special. Not only is it a brilliant story that combines one of our favourite authors with one of our favourite children's book illustrators, it has a fantastic cause at its heart too.

You may have spotted the paper dolls cropping up everywhere, at your local bookshops, in libraries and anywhere you normally find children's book folk.

There's a good reason for that - and if you dive on through to the Paper Dolls Website you'll find out a whole lot more. For each set of paper dolls you send in to Macmillan for their Guinness World Record attempt, you'll be helping to donate 10p to a very worthy cause - the Save the Children Foundation.

Download this template and get colouring!

Better still your children can even draw their own by using this alternative template too!

Check out some of the dolls other folk have completed!

Contributing to the world's longest paper doll chain while aiding a good cause? You KNOW you want to join in (we already have - visit the website for more information on how to send your completed sheets to Pan Macmillan). Doll sheets can be submitted up till the 31st of August 2013, so there's still lots and lots of time.

Right then, on with the book. Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb? It's a match made in booky heaven isn't it. Combining superb rhyming text with Rebecca's utterly wonderful illustrative style to tell a story of a young girl who, with her mum, makes a string of five paper dolls and embarks on an adventure with them. As the girl plays, and her imagination is unleashed (is there a more powerful creative force on the planet than a child's imagination? I doubt it) the dolls narrowly avoid catastrophe as they dance and play.

But then the book throws you a curve ball. Just when you're happy that this is a lovely story with a carefree young girl and her wonderful cut-out friends enjoying life to the full, something happens. A young boy appears, a young boy (a rather nasty boy if we're truthful) with a pair of scissors.

What happens next is impossible to describe without completely spoiling the book for you - so we're going to take the rare opportunity here of warning you right now that we're going to give away the end. If you do not want to read on, please stop now.


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OK you're still here so I'm assuming you've either read it or don't mind spoilers. The next bit rather upset Charlotte because the nasty naughty little boy (older sibling? Bully? It's never made clear but he's horrible whoever he is!) chops the string of paper dolls into tiny tiny pieces, breaking the little girl's heart. What a rotter!

But perhaps the power of a child's imagination is even more powerful than the nasty streak the boy demonstrates. As the rather grief-stricken little girl returns home, folornly, the paper dolls soar into the stratosphere. All the tiny little cut-up pieces reform as the dolls are once again complete, and roam the stars dancing and laughing as they go.

The little girl grows up, and then makes paper dolls with her own daughter (which is a rather touching and lovely way of turning the story around from that horrible bit!)

We thoroughly enjoyed this book. You've already heard us talking about Julia Donaldson's expert rhyming in our review of Wake Up Do, Lydia Lou and she's nailing it here again. But for us the real star of the show is Rebecca Cobb. Her illustrations are truly magical and you'll know just how much we love her work if you take a look at our review of her wonderful book "Lunchtime".

Hope the review has spurred you into action and you're downloading and printing those paper doll sheets out to join in with the record attempt!

Charlotte's best bit: Jacky Backy.

Daddy's Favourite Bit: The little doll with two noses.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Macmillan Children's Books)