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Book Reviews

3-d Paper Crafts

by Joanne Webb, Ron Broda, illus.

The 3-D paper crafts in this book are flawlessly executed by Ron Broda’s experienced hand. Broda used this technique, which involves gluing together embossed layers of paper, in the popular Have You Seen Bugs? The 10 projects, which include a coiled snake, a frog on a lily pad, and a wreath, should interest both boys and girls. However, this craft is only for neat, exacting kids with excellent dexterity and patience.

The book starts well with an introduction, which includes tools and sculpting techniques such as burnishing and curling. Then come the projects, which are loaded with assumptions. Each project would have benefitted from a sidebar as a friendly reminder of the techniques used or, at least, page numbers to refer readers back to the relevant pages in the introduction. At most, two how-to photos are included with each project. Most steps have no photos and the text isn’t always clear enough to compensate.

The first step of every project consists of a cutting diagram with no text. Although there are instructions in the introduction about cutting out patterns, it would have been helpful to remind readers that for each craft they must “turn to the appropriate pattern page and using tracing paper, HB pencil, and scissors, trace and cut out the pattern pieces as shown in the diagram.” A sidebar would also have been welcome in the pattern section, which is eight unpaginated pages inserted into the centre of the book.

The book is tightly designed with each project on a double-page spread. But forcing the subject matter to fit the design meant dropping the needed elements that would have made this book great – more how-to photos, sidebars, and patterns positioned near the projects instead of at the centre of the book. Fewer projects with more space assigned to each would have been better. The book’s design is colourful and crisp: all photos are shot with highly saturated film and close cut against a white background. It’s a hard rather than a friendly look – not my taste, but it’s well done.

A final note: although disclaimers suggest that perfection isn’t necessary with these projects, the finicky quality of these crafts is such that some readers may be disappointed in their results, particularly younger or impatient kids and ones who don’t easily follow written instructions. I recommend this book only for children 11 and up.