Every two weeks, Alex Goh of Star Kids Children’s Bookstore will review two books for babies, kids, or teens (ages 0-18).
The Paper Dolls (2013) by Julia Donaldson; illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
Suitable for ages 3-6
Price: RMB 80
A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens. A stunning, rhythmical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination.
Sourced from Macmillan Children’s Books
When I first saw the title The Paper Dolls, I asked myself “Who is still playing with paper dolls when there are so many electronic gadgets on the market?” However, being a new book by Julia Donaldson, I am curious to find out more about the story.
The story is about a little girl who, with the help of her mother, creates a string of five paper dolls. Every time the paper dolls face an antagonist (including a toy dinosaur, a tiger-print slipper, and an oven glove crocodile), they stick together and fly away to safety. Near the end, they are snipped into little pieces but magically rejoin and reappear in the little girl’s memory.
I thought this would be the end of the book, but the story goes on to follow the little girl’s development into a young woman, then a mother. She in turn helps her daughter make paper dolls.
This act of remaking the five paper dolls, each with a new name and special features, is heartwarming. It echoes what every mother does with her daughter, recreating the toys she used to play with in her own childhood.
I’ve read many Julia Donaldson books, and her rhymes are easy to follow. Kids can easily remember the lines, participate in the story, and act out the part of the five paper dolls. Even if you don’t consider yourself a good storyteller, all you need to do is pick up a Julia Donaldson book and you will come off as a pro.
We mustn’t forget Rebecca Cobb’s illustrations. Her style is simply stunning; the use of color pencils gives the little girl a sweet, innocent look. On the page when the little girl grows up, Cobb wonderfully illustrated the fine changes how that little girl changed into a young lady and became a mother with a baby. This is definitely one illustrator to look out for.
Hello: Baby Mealtime (2013) by Roger Priddy
Suitable for ages 0+
Price: RMB 55
For busy, interested babies, Hello Baby books combine high-contrast colours, bold illustration, visually stimulating patterns and simple first words in a selection of interactive, tactile formats. Hello Baby was the Brand/Series Identity Winner for Book Design and Production Awards 2013. Sourced from Priddy Books
This book is an excellent companion for babies who are starting to sit up and eat solid food. Babies respond best to colors and patterns that are very different and early visual stimulation encourages their development.
This book contains eight pages – great for babies with very short attention spans – and would make a great gift. Good baby books are hard to find in Beijing, and this one’s a gem.
Alex Goh is the merchandising director of Star Kids Children’s Bookstore. He started his career as a children’s book distributor in 1996, traveling around the world looking for good children’s books to share with kids, parents and educators. Over the years, reading became an enjoyable part of his work and he flies around China sharing great stories with children from different parts of the world. If you’ve read a great book and would like more people to know about it, email Alex at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Star Kids Children’s Bookstore