ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Bun-Bun and Olga Paperdolls

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

This book of paper dolls was created using characters that were based on the beloved stuffed animals of the illustrator’s childhood. Like many treasured childhood toys, these stuffed animals went through a lot (being thrown on a roof by bullies, getting left in a chimney fire) and the book’s creator wanted to restore them (at least on paper) and share them by making a book of paper dolls.

The book depicts Bun-Bun (a bunny) and Olga (a puppy) in the clothes they would wear at different times throughout the year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, Christmas) and while attending art school. Winter includes the addition of another character, Mama SnowBunny, who only appears once and gets no outfits to wear.

Having Bun-Bun dressed in a blue pajama suit, while Olga wears pink undergarments and has a bow in her hair may lead a child or parent to think that Bun-Bun is male, when in fact later illustrations show that Bun-Bun is female. There are very few words, but a heart with the words “Best Friends” indicates the animals’ relationship to each other.

When the characters go to art school, the page background is filled with the names of people who have presumably influenced the illustrator, including her parents, Monet, Matisse, Rothko, Frida Kahlo, Katherine Hepburn, and “Gwenneth Paltrow.” A child unfamiliar with these names might inquire about or simply ignore the names and focus on the paper dolls.

The book’s illustrations are not outstanding but they are serviceable. One of the most important rules of a paper doll book has been observed (pages are blank on one side so one can cut out the dolls/outfits without cutting into another illustration) and the paper stock is thicker than normal so the cutouts will not be flimsy. Both the doll figures and the clothes have tabs, and this could make using the book confusing at times since normally only the clothes have tabs so they can be attached to the dolls. The book is short with just seven pages of illustration and it is not clear that all of the doll figures are proportionate to all of the outfits. However, the book will provide an amusing pastime for children who enjoy paper dolls.

Jada Bradley