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Hand in Hand: Crafting with Kids Paperback – April 3, 2012
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
“The projects in the book are simple for little hands and entertaining enough for older kids. What is completely unique about this book (in comparison to other kids crafting books that I can recall) is the fact that the projects are created by 20 extremely creative mothers (many well known in the online blogging world). Not only that, but they share their stories of creativity and how they relate to their children...The projects are simple but fun. Anyone can tackle them.” --A Little Hut
“The book is full of fabulous and creative DIY idea...Even if you don't have kids, this book is full of fabulous ideas and great inspiration - to use yourself or with the children in your life.” --The Creative Place
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I have to agree with the reviewer who characterized the book as being more about the bloggers than about the projects. While there are some fun projects in this book that I plan to try, it's maybe 50% or less about the projects and ideas, if you start counting pages. Much of the content of this book is overearnest hagiography: full-page photos of attractive young alt hipster moms with their charming kids in back carriers and handknit sweaters, and those moms' very general, *gentle*, soft-focus musings from their blogs about mothering, playing and working with kids, homeschooling, appreciating nature, creative lifestyle etc.
Some of that can be inspirational, and individually I do admire these photogenic-yet-normal women and their creativity, but overall I found the balance of content of the book to be far too heavy on the biography and over-generalized waxing philosophical about motherhood and kids and crafting. To spend 15% of a page's real estate, page ten for example, to put in a sidebar with big subheaders, telling me in two chunks of text that making soup or jam can be fun and creative with kids (without offering anything novel or specific) seems forehead-smackingly obvious, trite, and annoying. Do I really need to see half a dozen photos of each mom just hanging out with her kids, totally unrelated to the project described?
The project descriptions are brief. They give a little guidance, and a list of suggested materials, but mostly seem to gently prod one to "try quilting" or "play around with old boxes"... This kind of general fuzzy 'direction' being offered makes this book seem a little too content-light for those of us looking for specific ideas of unique, fun crafty things to do with our kiddos. If I'm creative and unscheduled enough to design my own craft projects, I'm not sure I actually need this book. I expected, and would have preferred, that 'how-to-be-a-crunchy-mom' biography aspect more as a sidebar about the author of each project, with more actual projects from each author, and specific suggestions on how to complete specific craft projects. Instead, what you see in the book preview is actually what you get! Unfortunately, each 'mom' in the book only presents one project, and presents it briefly and in fairly general terms.
I was hoping for a best-of-the-web compendium of craft projects for families here, but apparently I'll have to keep searching the web for the rest/best of the book. I suspect the concept of the book was to promote these ladies' blogs? Personally, I buy books about creative project ideas because I want to spend LESS time in front of the screen. The author is a promoter and 'packager' of craft books, and I definitely fell for the packaging on this one. Great idea but not enough BEEF.
If you're not a crunchy mom but want to play one on TV, this could be your study guide. If you're already pretty crunchy, it will read a bit like parody at times. Not much edge or humor to be found here. And not that many projects for the page count. Try to get this one out of the library or just go online. Sorry, Jenny.
I enjoyed seeing all the photos of the moms with their children making all kind of homemade fun and just loving on each other. When my daughter first looked through it, she decided we should make the Cardboard Cityscape, which is made from recycled boxes with cellophane added for the windows. Add some paint, and you have yourself some awesome looking skyscrapers, perfect for playing with dolls. Hand in Hand was filled with delightful ideas from start to finish.