Monday, January 16, 2012
I love crafts and craft books, so when my teachers assign their yearly how-to writing project, I am thrilled to have an extra chance to guide the kids to the "how to" section of the library (translation: science experiments, cooking, arts, crafts). Unfortunately, I have found that many so-called "children's" how-to books aren't very child friendly. Often these books are cluttered with non-helpful or poorly drawn illustrations, hard-to-follow instructions, and sometimes projects that just aren't that appealing or interesting. I am happy to say that I Can Make That! by Mary Wallace more than lives up to its title. This colorful book hits all the right notes, pairing clearly written, kid-friendly step-by-step instructions with well-staged, colorful photographs of each step.
Projects are divided into sections including costumes, puppets, nature crafts, toys, and games. Each section begins with a brief introduction and lists of items needed to create the various projects--many of which can be found around the house--often rescued from the trash, rag bag, or recycle bin. Wallace gently reminds her users to get permission to use things found around the home and to respect nature. Kids will find instructions for using cardboard and ribbon for making simple Roman sandals, using twist-ties and embroidery floss for making "Eensy Weensy People," using chairs to make a puppet stage or a rocket ship, and cardboard boxes to make everything from an animal-themed mini-golf course to a play castle.
I Can Make That! isn't just a how-to book for specific one-time-only craft projects. This book is not just a how-to book--it is creative inspiration, not just for our kids, but for the kid in all of us. I can not wait to try some of these projects myself, and see where they take me.