________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 8 . . . .December 8, 2006


Junk Drawer Jewelry. (Kids Can Do It).

Rachel Di Salle & Ellen Warwick. Illustrated by Jane Kurisu.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2006.
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55337-966-7 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55337-965-9 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Jewelry making-Juvenile literature.
Handicraft-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3–5 / Ages 8–10.

Review by Laura Dodwell-Groves.

**½ /4



I am gaining a staunch appreciation for activity books, and Junk Drawer Jewelry is no exception. I think activity books should be filed in the library as ‘TV / video game alternatives” because they serve as a reminder and a time when you made your own fun with three bits of string and a paperclip, of long forgotten kindergarten macaroni projects,

     Rachel Di Salle and Ellen Warwick have put together a book of 16 projects, ranging from guitar pick necklaces to origami earrings, in which eight-year-old girls will revel. However, the level of technical difficulty or dexterity needed on a number of the projects may hamper the eight-year-old’s keenness. Indeed, the introduction talks of the need to wear “safety goggles and work gloves while hammering, cutting or bending wire or using a glue gun.”

      Also required is a trip to the junk store since many of the bits of junk required, such as aircraft cable, glass beads, peel-and-stick Velcro and jump rings, do not necessarily dwell in the standard junk drawer.

      There is a danger that these technical requirements will affect the book’s usefulness because the child that is most excited by the activities may not be able to work independently and inversely the child that has the dexterity may not be as excited by the project. But this does not only have to be a jewelry-making book for the more experienced craftsperson. For the keen eight-year-old, this presents wonderful activities to do with Mum and Dad, or an indulgent older sibling. And there is the potential that Dad will enjoy the trip to the junk shop even more than the jewelry-maker. It’s all part of the adventure.

      And once the junk bits are found, and the wire cutting helped with, the clear how-to descriptions and Jane Kurisu’s well realized instructions make the construction process fun and straightforward.

      Junk Drawer Jewelry is a fun craft book that requires a little bit of technical skill for a very professional result, and by involving Mum and Dad and a trip to a junk shop, reminds us that a lot of ‘how-to’ is just as much about the journey as the destination.


Laura Dodwell-Groves is a Master of Children’s Literature student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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