Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Paper Dolls

Donaldson, Julia (Author)
Cobb, Rebecca (Illustrator)
Macmillan 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9781447220145 (paperback)
9780230741089 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This sweet story follows the adventures of five cut-out dolls made by a little girl and her mother. The dolls are called, “Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow.” Through the girl’s imagination, the dolls have a rich life, facing dinosaurs and tigers, going to a farm and dancing with pigs. They meet their fate when a boy cuts them into tiny pieces, which seems tragic at first, but satisfyingly, “the tiny pieces all joined together and the paper dolls flew into the little girl’s memory.”

The text is minimal, with poetic imagery that encapsulates the realm of magic, imagination and memory. The mixed media illustrations provide colourful dreamscapes of the dolls’ imaginary world. In one scene the girl is playing with the dolls at the table. While they “kicked up crumbs and explored an island,” the illustration depicts the table as a vast ocean and the plate as an island. When the dolls enter the girl’s memory, the illustration is of a colourful combination of images such as “white mice and fireworks, and a starfish soap, and a kind granny” along with flowers, stars, cats and cakes to build a magical land of positive memories.

The story ends with the girl growing up to be a mother herself and helping her daughter make her own set of paper dolls.

  •  

    Think of a toy that you created and enjoyed such as a paper plane, modelling clay snake or stick sword. What did you do with it? Did you play with others? Why was it special to you?

  •  As the story is read aloud, join in to choral read the recurrent passages.
  •  

    Explore and discuss the little girl’s memory by pausing at the page where the paper dolls flew after they were snipped. What emotions do you think the girl feels?

  •  

    Fold paper and cut out a series of characters or shapes in a style similar to that of the paper dolls. Write your own story based on your new creations.

  •  

    Discuss the toys you played with when you were younger. Note the English words for them (doll, dump truck, pail and shovel, etc.) on a class list. What did you do with these toys? What happened to them? What feelings do you get from thinking about them?

  •  As the story is read aloud, join in to choral read the recurrent passages.
  •  

    Explore and discuss the little girl’s memory by looking at the page where the paper dolls flew after they were snipped. What emotions do you think the girl feels?

  •  

    As a group, create a storyboard for the text. Create a story about one of your own toys, using the same style.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Visual Arts