The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

Today we read a book called The Paper Dolls by our favorite children’s author, Julie Donaldson. She wrote The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, Snail on the Whale, Stick Man and many other books the kids LOVE.

The Paper Dolls is a story of a mother making paper dolls for her little girl, who loved them and took them everywhere.  Her five paper dolls were named Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow.  They had delightful encounters with all sorts of things in her house (like a dinosaur, a tiger, a farmyard, the garden and an island on the dining room table.

Then one day a little boy found Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie and Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow and he snipped them up into little pieces.

The book teaches how things fly into our memories with a beautiful 2-page illustration of all the things in the little girls memory (many of them were in the story, but also things like a grandma knitting in her rocker). In the end of the book, the little girl has grown and is teaching her little girl to make paper dolls. It’s a sweet tender story that brought tears to my eyes.

After reading it with the kids, I cut out paper dolls for Clark and Josie and they colored them.

For the rest of the day we talked about all of the things in our memories.  These kids have moved out of their tight little Kansas City apartment and will return to a new home of their own in St. Louis next week.  We talked about what memories are in their minds from their old brown house and I started writing those memories down.  This book led us to a wonderful discussion about memories and how we can save them and visit them whenever we want to.

Below are some of the things I wrote down that Clark and Josie and their mom remember about their Brown House:

We found a racoon sleeping in the dumpster.
We ate mac & cheese, noodles, waffles, pancakes, grilled cheese, scrambled eggs and mushrooms in that house.
There was a patch of dirt by the dumpster where we played with cars.
My room had bunk beds. I slept on top, Josie on the bottom, then we switched when I had to get up first to go to pre-school.
I got to ride the school bus. It was small and yellow. The driver was Mess Mary Jo (Mrs. Curry). Then we had a white bus (assisted transport bus) driven by Bella.
I woke up at 6:55 and caught the bus at 7:15. I got my clothes ready the night before.
Dad built a wooden swing in the back yard.
We had a basketball hoop in the living room.
Dad built a bike ramp and we rode bikes a lot in the parking lot.
I loved to help him build the ramp.
Our neighbors were Tyler, Mason, Ryan, Bumble, Tucker, The Tiger, Reecie, Jade, Haley, Zeke, Annabelle, Alden and the twin babysitters.
There was an old man next door.
Phyllis lived near us. She’s an old lady like a grandma. She made a crocheted blanket with lots of holes for each of us. Clark’s was purple and gray, Josie’s was pink and yellow and Margot’s was pink.
We liked going to the Jump Gym, the Zoo, lots of parks, Penguin Park had a big lake with lots of birds.
We went to soccer games, Tae Kwon Do and T-Ball.
I played tennis with dad and learned to dribble the basketball on the sidewalk.
Josie and I learned to ride bikes. First we had scooter bikes, then real ones. There were speed bumps in the parking lot. Josie went super fast.
I learned to roller blade too in the parking lot.
We had one bathroom upstairs and a little bathroom by the washer and dryer.
We all took baths together and we brushed out teeth a lot.
The trash can was by the back door. We put dirty diapers there.
There was a pretty flower by the front door (a pink peony).
We had sleep overs at Reece’s house and made a big bed in front of the TV.
We also had sleep overs at Bumble’s house.
My favorite toy was a super bouncy basketball, but I lost it.
We drank lots and lots of milk. Sippy cups.
I stubbed my toe on the sidewalk a few times.
I have a memory of the gym (where mom exercised). There was a big pool. I took swim lessons there when I was 3 with Harley, Enzio and Reece. We played basketball there too. Josie and Margot went to the play room.

There were dolls and toys in our bedroom and a huge tiger in the living room.
There was a big green grassy hill behind our house with lots of pokie stickers. We usually wore our shoes out there.
The playground had a park with swings and monkey bars and slides.
I got a little brown bear with a blue shirt when I went to the hospital. I had a broken chin. I fell down on the front steps.

Heidi Mom:
Things we found in the trash: a play house for the back yard, a bag of girls’ shoes with some Nike’s, a car track for toys, a black bike from Cade’s dad, a big artificial Christmas tree.
Adam and the kids loved going through the forest to the “Dust Bowl,” (an excavation site).
The kids liked riding bikes with dad to Penguin Park.
There was a jungle by the soccer field. The kids showed it to me.
Visiting the temple and walking around outside.
Halloween costumes: Clark was a dinosaur, his friend was Captain America. Mom & Dad wore Winnie the Pooh costumes.
The KC Chiefs won the Super Bowl in 2020 and lost in 2021 vs. Tom Brady.
In 2020 Adam and I went to the Chief’s Championship Parade after the Super Bowl.
During COVID we did exactly the same thing Every Day. We spent time with the Alisons & Bodines, riding bikes and eating together. School was cancelled. No church, the gym closed, public parks closed, even our backyard park.
During COVID we wore masks and watched TV. The kids loved P. J. Mask (cat boy), Baby Shark and Frozen (“Let it go!”), and Sonic.
We had beach towel curtains in the kids’ rooms.
There were no doors on the closet in our bedroom.
The washer and dryer didn’t work well. No dishwasher.

Here’s a youtube video of Julia Donaldson reading her book and Rebecca Cobb showing how she illustrated it.  Enjoy!

About Ann Laemmlen Lewis

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