Thursday, February 27, 2014

life imitating art

Have you been reading this book?  If not, you really should.  My work pal Emma recommended it to me after her little boy came home from school with it.  I didn't actually realise it was ANOTHER Julia Donaldson until our copy arrived.  You might think, from how often I blog about her books, that I'm some kind of crazy Julia Donaldson fan.  I'm really not.  I like her books, I enjoy reading them aloud, I love that Dulcie loves them and I will admit The Gruffalo has the feel of an absolute classic, but I'm quite take-her-or-leave-her in other regards.  (What other regards are there?!)  This book, however... Gasp!  Oh, I love it so much.  It's just the sweetest and simplest story, told so beautifully and the illustrations are magical.  They really manage to capture something of that haphazardness of childhood and all the little rough-around-the-edges and random treasures of it.  As does the text, actually.  This is one of those Julia Donaldson books that is not written in rhyme, but has a recurring song that crops up every few pages.  I like it that way.

Every time I read a book with a little song to Dulcie, I make up a tune for the song on the spot on the first reading, which I then feel I have to stick to for consistency's sake.  Mostly, that doesn't work out too well and my tunes for Tabby McTat and The Smartest Giant In Town are less than catchy, but I feel like the tune that popped into my head for this book's song is THE tune, so perfect (except that I strain for the high notes!) and I can't believe anyone else would sing it any other way.  It would be really interesting if everyone who had this book recorded their version of the song so we could all hear the variety.  Or maybe we really do all sing it to the same tune... Spooky.

Anyway, if you have read the book, you'll see what I mean about life imitating art in the rest of this post.  If you haven't read the book, then I guess this post could be considered a spoiler and you might want to stop reading now!  Ha!
Inspired by our reading, Dulcie and I decided to make some paper dolls of our own (while wearing our pyjamas).  Dulcie was pretty impressed when I unfolded the paper and turned one doll into five, but then she was also impressed that I could use scissors, so, you know...
I made two sets of dolls.  One for me to decorate...
...and one for Dulcie.  I drew the stripy tights, the shoes and the bow on these to give Dulcie the idea, but the rest is all her own work, including the spotty dress on the far left which took her ages and a huge amount of concentration.
The paper dolls held hands and they danced and they jumped and they sang.
They kicked crumbs on an island.
And then somebody who is too small to use scissors for snipping (naming no names, but there's no harm in looking, as my primary five teacher used to say) said she was going to tear them all up into tiny pieces...
...and she did.
And the paper dolls flew into our memories...via the kitchen bin.

We've tried to make paper dolls again a few times since, but now they don't even get to experience the singing and jumping and dancing and kicking of crumbs.  Most times, they don't even get to experience being drawn on before they meet their tearing maker.  (See what I did there?  Meet their MAKER?  Yes, very clever, wasn't it?)  Every time she does this, Dulcie says, "Paper dolls got brokened, Mummy fix them," and is genuinely sad when I tell her I can't.  Hours after the dolls have gone in the bin, she asks me where they are repeatedly and begs me to go and get them back.

I'm not sure where she gets these destructive tendencies from (I do really - I blame her father!) but hopefully one day in the not-too-distant future, she'll stop making things "brokened" and we can spend a bit more time decorating our dolls and making them super-duper fancy.  Oh, yes, I'm talking glitter, ribbons and other accoutrements, people!  One day...

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