Top critical review
Should Have Been Spiral Bound!! (And Other Production Errors)
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2012
This is a gorgeous book, no question. Emily Martin is a great illustrator and this book is full of beautiful, funky, weird, fun eye candy. I'd be happy to give it 4 or 5 stars as an adult art book. However, if I were rating it as paper doll book, an activity book, or even as a "craft book", I'd be giving it 1 or 2 starts. Note: This book is not for kids - at least in it's present form - it would frustrate and sadden any child when s/he realizes how useless it is as a toy. I'm splitting my vote and giving it 3 stars. Here's why:
The introduction immediately addresses the problem with all beautiful paper dolls - to cut or not to cut. The author recommends making color copies of the pages which *might* make sense (see below) if one could open the book flat enough to make copies without breaking the binding! The only truly satisfying way to enjoy this book as it is would be to buy 3 copies of the book: one to leave alone and enjoy as an intact art book, one to carefully dismantle the binding and cut out half the dolls, and a third to dismantle and cut out the other half of the dolls. I love the book, but not enough to buy 3 copies!
The problems with this book (I hate to gripe, but I'd love to see a new, improved edition of this book!):
* The book should have been spiral-bound and the pages perforated!! This is a no-brainer whether the reader wants to cut the book pages or make copies. Since the author recommends cutting the book or color-copying the pages (see the problem with this suggestion below) the book should be designed to make that possible!
* The suggestion to color-copy all of the pages is either naive or indifferent to the cost of color copies (especially on card stock). Most likely it would be cheaper to buy a second and third copy of the book.
* The pages with the dolls are printed on both sides! They did arrange the pages so that each doll could be cut out by alternating the half of the page with dolls, but the other half of each of these pages contains important text such descriptions and biographies of the dolls and instructions for the dolls that need additional drawing and coloring by the reader as well as illustrations. If you cut a doll out of one half page you destroy the text description and illustrations on the other side!
* I don't understand why the publishers decided to print the 17 (double-sided, *sigh*) pages of dolls on heavier stock that is not heavy enough to allow the dolls to stand on their own. What a waste of paper!
* The dolls don't have wide enough stands at the bottom, or notches, or strips to be folded in half to make a stand. These dolls won't stand on their own! Stands are a basic feature of paper dolls that is missing here. (One could creatively cut wider bases rather than following the lines and make strips for stands out of cardstock, but then one risks cutting into the doll(s) on the back of the page, as well as the important text described above.)
* The wigs on pages 121 & 127 don't have tabs. Many of the objects are missing tabs. I haven't cut out anything from the book yet, so I can't say whether the clothes fit properly (if anyone knows, please reply and comment). As far as I can tell, the "Bonus Doll" on the back flap (which, ironically, is the only doll that is on heavy-enough stock and has nothing on the back to destroy) has no clothes included.
To sum up, this is a lovely book to look through but completely frustratiing as an activity book. Again, it is not for children - it would be cruel to give this book to a child, who would get excited about cutting out the dolls and be completely frustrated and disappointed!