Have you seen this picture book? It’s called Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson (of Gruffalo fame). I’m pretty sure Rebecca Cobb won an award for the illustrations but can’t think where I read that now (pregnancy brain!). Little Owl loves it. She knows whole sections off by heart. It cleverly intertwines themes of loss and growing up with the everyday simplicity of a child’s experience. It’s a similar story to The Gift by Carol Ann Duffy (illustrations by Rob Ryan) but somehow more profound because of it’s lightness; in the way that children’s books often can be.
It’s funny that it feels a bit strange to mention Julia Donaldson and Carol Ann Duffy in the same sentence. The lack of appreciation of children’s books as ‘serious’ literature, worthy of the same attention given to novels or poetry for adults, is something I’ve read a few children’s authors resignedly complain about. Mem Fox describes the writing of a children’s book as “the perfect placement of syllables.” Julia Donaldson’s perfect placement of syllables and her talent for verse in the Paper Dolls makes the story all the more poignant. It’s a great one for Mother’s Day.
Here are Little Owl’s paper dolls. She’s been carrying them everywhere this week. She gave me the Mother’s Day present she made at nursery on Thursday. It was a lovely little flower-shaped clock she’s painted herself. After allowing me to open it she then decided it was too good to give away and has kept it for herself!
PS On the 11th November Pan Macmillan organised a world record breaking attempt for the longest chain of paper dolls in aid of Save the Children and to celebrate the Paper Dolls picture book. They did it with 45, 282 dolls – pretty impressive eh?