Reviews of Paper Dolls & Books for Kids
& Costumes Website
1. Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt
2. Josephina's Paper Dolls by American Girl Collection
3. My Book of Little House Paper Dolls - The Big Woods Collection by Laura Ingalls Wilder
4. Raggedy Ann and Andy - A Retrospective Celebrating 85 Years of Storybook Friends by Patricia Hall
5. Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees by Johnny Gruelle
6. The Fabulous Book of Paper Dolls by Julie Collings
This book, Degas and the Little Dancer, written and illustrated by Laurence Anholt is really a book for children and adults to enjoy, as it has real art reproductions woven into the illustrations - see the front cover at left for an example.
I'd like to share that I was lucky enough to visit a bronze model of "The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen " at Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France a few years ago. (Though not really a doll, the sculpture is doll-like in that it is 2/3 life size.)
The story in this book is based on the experience of Marie von Goethem, a student of the Ballet de l'Opera, Paris, France, as the student whom Edgar Degas (1834-1917) modeled his drawing from of "The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen."
A little background on the sculpture: After Degas’ death, the original wax sculpture was made into twenty eight plaster and bronze casts, displayed in museums around the world.
The original wax sculpture is now on permanent display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., first exhibited in 1881 in wax, costumed in a gauze tutu with a silk bodice, fabric ballet slippers and real hair wig, “The Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” by Edgar Degas (1834 – 1917) is in the style of Impressionism.
Details - 32 page paperback; Barron's Educational Series; ISBN-10: 0764138529; ISBN-13: 978-0764138522
Click here to buy "Degas and the Little Dancer" from Amazon.com
I like that the American Girl company has gone to the effort to make the doll, costumes, pets and scenery seem authentic.
Josefina, the paper doll, is a member of the American Girl historical doll collections. She and her pet goat, Sombrito are made of heavy cardstock.
She comes with 10 vividly colored outfits, scenes to set up and many accessories. After taking all the pieces apart they can be stored in the large envelope they came in.
Her story takes place in 1824 in what was later to become New Mexico. The book pages that go along with Josefina portray life during that period of time, making it useful as a resource for those interested in Hispanic culture.
I'm one of these people who loves to see the set ups of periods of history in museums, so this paper doll set suits my taste.
Having this set lets the child with the full size or mini doll pretend to be playing with the paper dolls - one more dimension to the possibility for creative play.
Highly recommended as both a fun and educational activity!
Details - 28 page paperback published by American Girl; 10.5 by 8.6 inches; ISBN is 1584857056
Click here to buy Josephina's Paper Dolls from Amazon.com
also available in this series
Addy's Paper Dolls
Felicity's Paper Dolls
Kirsten's Paper Dolls
Kit's Paper Dolls
Molly's Paper Dolls
Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and illustrated by Renee Graef, My Book of Little House Paper Dolls - The Big Woods Collection is particularly suitable for kids just learning to manipulate small pieces because it gives them practice with learning small motor skills in a fun way. It is a wonderful book for anyone who loves to play with paper dolls!
The book contains six paper dolls on heavy cardstock - the members of the Ingalls family plus their pet bulldog. For each family member, several authentic 19th-century outfits are included.
I love the illustrations by Renee Graef - her work makes the different characters and the scenery come to life. It also gives a feeling for the late 1800s time period that Laura Ingalls Wilder was born into in 1867.
I favor doll collections, whether paper dolls or cloth or vinyl dolls, that are from a historical time period - just to assuage my curiosity - and I was like that as a little girl, too. I'm glad I was given dolls as a child from different times in history.
Other very nice features of the play set are the 2 pull-out scenes for the paper dolls to play in. It is an opportunity to use creative imagination in play.
And, along with the paper dolls is the story 'Winter Days in the Big Woods'.
I highly recommend this edition to anyone's collection of Little House on the Prairie books.
Details - 24 pages published by Harpercollins Juvenile Books; 9 by 11 inches; ISBN: 0694006386
Click here to buy "My Book of Little House Paper Dolls - The Big Woods Collection" from Amazon.com
Just saying Raggedy Ann and Andy probably evokes fond memories from childhood. And, this book takes one on a trip right back there again in this pictorial history spanning more than 80 years. This commemorative volume, Raggedy Ann and Andy - A Retrospective Celebrating 85 Years of Storybook Friends was written by Patricia Hall, and the artwork and story are by Johnny Gruelle who created Raggedy Ann and both wrote and illustrated the stories.
Also included are illustrations of more of Raggedy Ann’s storybook friends including: Sunny Bunny, Little Brown Bear, Eddie Elephant, Henny, Beloved Belinda, Hookie The Goblin, Freddy Fox,and Cleety The Clown to name a few.
Photos of Johnny Gruelle’s family and descendents are included along with old and newer versions of Raggedy Ann and her companions we have grown to love, (and when our own children have come along, sewn these dolls for them, carrying on a tradition).
I was moved by the story included at the end of the book: Raggedy Ann’s New Sisters. It tells how other children came to be able to have Raggedy Ann dolls for themselves.
This edition also includes a special detachable bookplate!
Johnny Gruelle’s philosophy of unconditional love for all is the underlying theme in Raggedy Ann’s adventures. Doesn’t this quote at the beginning of the volume by Raggedy Ann say it so beautifully:
"A singing heart no sadness knows -"
I am sure you will enjoy this special edition as much as I
Details - 48 pages in hardback published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing; 9.7 by 7.3 inches; ISBN: 0689843364
Click here to buy "Raggedy Ann and Andy - A Retrospective" from Amazon.com
This is a 3 dimensional pop-up book
I am glad to see that this new edition has some original illustrations from 1924. There is nothing like being able to go into a book printed now and seeing something familiar from the past preserved. This is one of my favorite stories from childhood and I’m happy to see it has been republished as a intricate and very beautifully illustrated pop-up - 3 dimensional book.
I love pop-up books. For me, it is like walking into a new adventure land. These books lend themselves to the child's imagination, thinking what it would be like to be there in that place and time!
This story begins with the French doll, Babette, being snatched from the nursery. Raggedy Ann and Andy team up with the camel with the wrinkled knees and other dolls as they go off on an adventure in search of Babette.
It is a wonderful storyline full of adventure in their quest to find their dear doll friend. But, I won't give the ending away!
Another way to enjoy the book is to open it out to display one of the pop-up scenes. And then later turn the page and see if your kids notice the change.
Needless to say, you can see I enjoy pop-up books and this is an especially good one.
Details - 14 pages in hardcover; published by Little Simon; Pop-Up edition; 10.7 by 7.9 inches; ISBN: 0689857756
Click here to buy this 3 dimensional pop-up book from Amazon.com
In The Fabulous Book of Paper Dolls, Julie Collings has put together a really easy to use setup of dolls and clothes - they all have perforated edges for ease of punching out. Gone is the need for scissors.
When my kids were little I really used to worry about them using scissors because I was afraid someone would get poked. In fact, when I was a child the rounded tip scissors really did not cut clean corners so I really, really appreciate that the pieces can be punched out.
And dressing the multi-ethnic dolls is even easier than the days of fold over paper tabs - rather, sticky reusable dots hold on the outfits. Remember from your childhood how those tabs never stayed down - always visible!
Also, the clothes are reversible for variety in dressing from one play period to the next - a great use of resources.
Just stand the book on end to the desired scene and you're all set for an imaginative adventure with dolls, cat and dog and even little babies as paper dolls.
I recommend this book that lends itself to creative play while preserving the essence of paper doll fun!
Details - 54 pages spiral bound by Klutz Publishing (September 1, 2001); ISBN: 1570546312
Click here to buy "The Fabulous Book of Paper Dolls" from Amazon.com
doll reviews and content on this site are copyright Susan Kramer
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DISCLOSURE NOTE: I am an associate of Amazon.com and bought my own items.
page updated March 10, 2009; updated April 19, 2016