Early Childhood Studio Lesson
everal years ago, Robert D. San
Souci was the guest author at
our school. He brought many
of his books, including a picture book titled Zigzag, a story about
a doll-maker who creates a doll named
Zigzag and places him on the shelf for
the night. After the doll-maker leaves,
Zigzag is bullied and is pushed off the
shelf by the other dolls. Zigzag ultimately ends up outside in the trash
bin and has to climb his way out. The
book does have a happy ending, as
three mice find him a nice home with
a happy little girl, and his zigzagged
mouth turns into a happy smile.
Starting with Scraps
The beginning of the story reveals
that Zigzag was made from scraps
of fabrics. I just happened to have a
large box full of donated fabrics in my
classroom. Since then, creating Zigzag
dolls has become an annual activity.
Students love to hear the story and
talk about it.
The first step is to read the book to
the class. Discuss how the other dolls
bully Zigzag, and reinforce the kindness of the newfound friends—the
mice—and the happy ending. This
lesson will take no more than two
classes. Some will finish their dolls
during the first class period, but most
of these Zigzag
dolls is encouraging students to
create their own.
Let them choose
the fabrics, do
their own cutting,
and glue their fabrics where they want.
Most will not be in the
center of the paper and
some will have legs, tails, and
hats hanging off the edges, but that's
what makes them so special.
Materials and Resources
• 12 x 18" (30 x 45 cm) white paper,
poster board, or card stock
• assortment of donated fabrics (magazines, wallpaper, and wrapping
paper all can be used if you don't
• yarn (optional)
• liquid glue and/or glue sticks
• markers, crayons, or anything that
can be used for drawing on fabric
1. Prepare the fabric before class. Have
an arrangement of fabrics already
cut into usable sizes.
2. At the beginning of the class, read
and discuss the book Zigzag.
3. Review shapes. Have students draw
shapes for their dolls onto the fabrics. Encourage different fabrics for
different parts of the doll.
4. Have students glue the shapes onto
5. Have students add eyes, hair, ears,
and whatever else they want.
Patricia Saunders is an art teacher at St.
Monica Catholic School in Dallas, Texas.
Students use visual structures and
functions of art to communicate