You can work with smaller sections to get rid of the "shirley temple" look.
I have a couple of pictures of my hair in the skip curl method. While the curls are as close to perfect ringlets as I have ever seen on my head, my hair had a lot of lift and it didn't look fake or like chubby little sausages hanging from my head.
This is my hair with small skip curls:
This is my hair with large skip curls (just the top half was skip curled I believe):