CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 21 . . . . June 20, 2003
The great thing about the books in the “Kids Can Press Jumbo Book” series is their accessibility. The illustrations make it very obvious to the child what the craft is, the materials needed, and, for the most part, how to go about constructing the craft. This book provides opportunities to develop sequencing skills, the ability to follow instructions and also a chance for creativity. Learning to follow instructions is an empowering skill for this age group (the book is recommended for 3 to 7 year olds). The illustrations support this development while the simple written instructions are there for the adult to refer to when necessary. The fact that the illustrations are black and white line drawings invites opportunities for creativity. Children can choose their own colours, materials in some cases and shapes. (In our home, the more elaborate full-coloured craft books that have photographs of the finished product are left on the shelf.)
The crafts are listed and organized by main component. The main component is also pictured in the margins on the outsides of each two-page spread. In theory, this is a good idea for the young crafters, but it is not always obvious what the graphic represents (e.g. foam sheets, cardboard rolls). However, most young users will turn immediately to the two-page spread where the components are clearly illustrated.
The introduction states: "Adult supervision is necessary when the instructions call for the use of an iron, stove or anything sharp." As this is such a user-friendly book for young crafters, a graphic indicating assistance is necessary on the crafts that fall into this category, would be a useful addition. We found some of our old favourites such as the "Candy-cane Reindeer" and "Button Picture Frame.” We also found new favourites, such as "Lunch Bag Puppets" which suggest using fingers as animal body parts (e.g. the elephant's trunk) and "Egg Cup Piggy Noses."
Make sure you check with the parents of young children before launching into the 'nut' crafts to avoid the heartbreak of a child experiencing a severe allergic reaction.
The book’s paperback format would probably not stand up to many library circulations and reshelvings, but, for home use, the paperback is ideal. This book would make a great birthday present.
Ruth Scales McMahon is a professional children's librarian, the co-chair of the Rocky Mountain Book Award and the mother of two young children.
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