Thursday, November 3, 2016

Review: Puddle's Wondrous Worry Dolls by Andrea Kaczmarek

by Andrea Kaczmarek
dpdotcom digital publishing
Chapter Book
ages 7+
46 pages

Jemima - Puddle to her friends - helps out in her Mum’s shop and discovers Worry Dolls, pretty paper dolls in bright cotton pouches.

Puddle has never heard of Worry Dolls and her Mum explains that they make your worries fly away. While they are talking, a box of Worry Dolls spookily falls off the table and Puddle scrabbles around picking them all up – when Puddle gets home she finds that one of those bags had fallen into her pocket. But these Worry Dolls are nothing like the shop ones –these are very very different - cool funky Worry dolls in a rainbow pouch. Puddle is pretty puzzled, did her Mum slip them into her pocket? But she gives them a worry to solve just for fun – what happens next makes Puddle even more puzzled.

Puddle and her best friend Ally have plenty of problems at school -with three bullies who make everyone’s life a misery. Like all bullies they pick on the younger kids who can’t stand up for themselves. Their unkind names are a pain, but one day they go too far, so Puddle and Ally decide that it is time to teach them a lesson – together with her wondrous new friends - those Funky Worry Dolls, Puddle and Ally come up with some wonderful, but naughty, ideas.

Not only the school bullies get a taste of their own medicine – other crazy things happen,

Puddle and Ally save some bedraggled kittens. Puddle succeeds in a maths test, now that is a miracle! Puddle’s project group is a big success…..why not read it and find out?

Cool and just a bit creepy – those Wondrous Worry Dolls fell into Puddle’s life and shake things up!


This is a lovely story, which addresses a topic kids will easily relate to while throwing an interesting bit from a foreign culture in as well.

When Puddle (aka Jemima) runs across a set of paper dolls known as Worry Dolls, her life takes a sudden turn. With her best friend Ally, she deals with bullies and other problems...and it seems as if the Worry Dolls might be helping out in their own way.

Years ago, I was introduced to Worry Dolls and found the idea of casting your worries onto little paper dolls sweet in it's own way. So when I received the chance to dive into a story about them, there was no way I could refuse.

This book aims for beginning readers before they slide into full fledged chapter books. The writing is fairly easy to follow, while keeping the plot up at a great pace. The chapters are relatively short, offering many possibilities to stop and take a break before continuing on, so that this age bracket doesn't risk feeling over-whelmed by a 'bigger' book. There are illustrations scattered between the text, which help break things up--something I'm always glad to see.

Puddle is an interesting, young girl who's as normal as any other kid. Her actions and decisions are completely understandable, and it's no problem to see her as a good friend. The problems she has are ones that kids can easily relate to and her ways of approaching them will make readers think and smile.

Although the story is set in reality, the Worry Dolls offer a lovely pinch of magic while introducing an idea from another culture, which kids are sure to enjoy. The reasoning/story behind these Worry Dolls doesn't appear until after the first pages, which made for a bit of a rough beginning. But when they are explained, it's done nicely. There are a few messages mixed in with the adventure, but these sink in well with the story and never feel preachy.

In other words, there are many things to enjoy in this story. Especially readers between the ages of 7 to 10 will sympathize with Puddle and will probably want to have a set of Worry Dolls of their own.

And here she is. . .

Now a retired teacher and enjoying myself writing middle grade stories...
I was born in Wales and did my teacher training in Weymouth - married with two grown up children - and now grandmother to three amazing and clever kids.
I was a Town Councillor for many years in Hamm for the Green Party, with a great interest in integration and education. Today I still work on the Committee for Special Needs and I am the Chair of the World of Reading - Lese Welt Hamm – a charity bringing books and stories to children!
I still organize art and English projects at my old school -it is great fun working with children from many different backgrounds. I get a lot of my story ideas from school life!

My motto has always been - children who enjoy stories and reading have a good start in life!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

". . . children who enjoy stories and reading have a good start in life!" Indeed! As a retired teacher, I couldn't agree more. Reading is a key that opens so many doors . . . and an inexpensive but pleasurable activity for the rest of one's life. On another note: I've never heard of worry dolls, but I love the concept. This sounds like an excellent book for young readers.