When Sally's grandmother cuts out a row of five paper dolls, she little knows of the adventures they will have. Tossed by winds, soaked by water and scorched by fire, they still survive, acquiring names and faces from the children and adults that they meet on their journey.
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Grade 2-5. On a sweltering summer afternoon, Sally's Nana cuts her a chain of paper dolls. They draw the features of the first doll, but the set is stolen by a bird when they go inside for lemonade. Thus begins an odyssey that only a consummate storyteller such as Mahy could spin. The first paper sister, Alpha, is a free spirit, an adventurer who welcomes the changes in life. As the breeze lifts her over the city, she catches a glimpse of an enchanted island. As the intrepid sisters journey on, they are saved from a lawnmower's jaws, a bad-tempered porcelain pig, a towering rubbish fire, and, finally, an obscure life as a bookmark in a forgotten school text. Along the way, they meet a number of children who sense their magic in varying degrees. As these new characters draw or paint features for the remaining figures, each sister's unique personality, only sensed before, comes to brilliant light. The people who encounter the dolls are all affected in subtle ways. In a fitting conclusion, Olivia and her brother (who are, incidentally, Sally's children) find the dolls and take them to the sea, floating them in a toy boat. At last, the sisters are headed for the mysterious island. Mahy's multilayered tale pays loving tribute to the power of story and imagination. MacCarthy's illustrations are liberally peppered throughout the text, reflecting its light humor. Children who enjoyed Sylvia Waugh's The Mennyms (Greenwillow, 1994) will also be captivated by this engaging story.?Lisa S. Murphy, formerly at Dauphin County Library System, Harrisburg, PA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A premise prettily developed in Elise Kleven's Paper Princess (1994) takes a profound turn in the hands of Mahy (Tingleberries, Tuckertubs and Telephones, 1996, etc.). One lazy day, young Sally's grandmother draws ``a wild, adventurous girl with sticking-out ears'' on a folded piece of paper and cuts it out--a paper doll linked to four blank outlines. The ``sisters'' are instantly whisked off, carried by breeze, bird, and fortune, passing in turn through the hands of a child artist and a sad songwriter, spending years marking a place in a student's forgotten textbook, and returning at last to Sally's own daughter, Olivia. As the conscious but unformed blank dolls are filled in, one per stop, they acquire names of their own, and character traits from their creators, each of whom receives an epiphany--an inkling of what he or she will become. Flat but lively, the paper dolls swoop through a world of rounded, realistically modeled details in MacCarthy's numerous, perfectly placed pencil drawings. The fragile dolls narrowly escape destruction again and again, so this can be enjoyed as high adventure, but Mahy, with her gift for expressing complex ideas simply, makes clear to readers that the five dolls together represent a whole person, endowed with the Courage, Love, Sorrow, Wisdom, and Laughter required to live well. They are last seen sailing off (in a paper boat, of course) toward a metaphorical, dimly perceived but long-sought island. A superb story, gracefully told. (Fiction. 8+) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description Puffin, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110140382356