Friday, 19 November 2010
Book review: Paper Scissors Glue by Catherine Woram
A few weeks ago at 8.20am, a Royal Mail van delivered a thick package (deliveries usually come much later, so it felt like a very happy thing indeed). When we opened it up and looked inside, the contents were enough to still the bottom lips that had been beginning to tremble in first-morning-back-at-school-after-half-term wobbliness and the three of us sat at the bottom of the stairs pouring over the pictures and declaring that we wanted to make nearly every single thing in the entire book. The book in question is Paper Scissors Glueby Catherine Woram. A few days earlier Ryland Peters & Small (the book's publisher) had contacted me and asked if there were any books on their list that I'd be interested in taking a look at....mmmm...where to start! This one was one of my first choices as I'd already fallen in love with it on the basis of the few images available on Amazon. It also appealed hugely that all the projects could be made solely from paper, scissors and glue - the most obscure supplies called for are probably a pipe cleaner or a paper plate, which is refreshing. I decided to hold off writing a review until we'd road-tested it a little...so here is our tried-and-tested review:
It's rare to love every project in a book. There's normally something that feels like a page filler and then a great many things that feel just 'not quite for you'. But I knew after one look through that it may just be my favourite activity book for children ever and the moment I picked my children up from school that afternoon we began discussing which thing we should make when we got home.
We sat on the sofa and tried to mark the pages of most interest with our fingers...but then we ran out of fingers and then the doorbell rang and we realised that we had chosen a flawed method of page markmanship. Door dealt with, we looked through all 45 projects again and eventually decided upon the birds with the beautiful concertinaed wings.
A couple of birds down, Dinosaur-boy was playing with their lovely wings and suddenly declared that the same techniques could be used to create a beautiful peacock and began some large-scale folding, while I sketched out a more peacocky-shaped body for him to trace around.
We have fallen utterly in love with these egg carton ants.
While Zebra-girl and I are tempted by making these bells when it gets nearer to Christmas.
In an attempt to give a balanced review, here are the things that we found less happiness-inducing: the first is that the templates needed for some projects require enlarging on a photocopier - this may be fine for a more organised sort of mummy who thinks to do this in advance, but in the absence of one of those (I've been trying for 9 years and show no signs of morphing into one), we found it frustrating.
As I've found with other children's craft books, sometimes the presentation can be a little misleading. One Sunday afternoon Mr Teacakes and Dinosaur-boy made the origami whales which feature on the front cover of the book (first picture) - on their project page, several are shown standing on a shimmery sea of blue...so it was disappointing to find that it would be an absolute impossibility for these whales to stay up unaided and that they must have been nailed into place for photography. We wondered whether it might not have been better to show them hanging as a whale mobile or some other way that showed them as they really are. They valiantly tried to salvage the situation by attempting to fly the whales across the room, but alas the aerodynamics were all wrong and so they were re-folded and turned into paper aeroplanes instead.
But these are small gripes - the pictures speak for themselves - this is an incredibly beautiful and inspiring book that I know we will use often. I wouldn't hesitate to urge you to go and buy a copy of this book for your own children or any other children that you might know - the latter of which we certainly will be doing: several of the Teacakes' friends may find themselves receiving a copy of this on their birthday.
Wishing you a lovely weekend,