Win, Lose, and Draw: Arts and Crafts | Series Made Simple Spring 2011

SMS_LogoWeb.13(Original Import)Read Series Made Simple, School Library Journal's guide to the latest series nonfiction

There is plenty to do in the world of art and recreation, as demonstrated by the following how-to books. Using these titles, readers can put their personal spin on a family dinner, organize a scavenger hunt, or create their own manga. Whatever activity the books describe, the best empower children and teens to make the suggested creations their own.

Preschool—Grade 4

drawinglegendarymonstersdrag(Original Import)BEAUMONT, Steve. Drawing Dragons and Other Cold-Blooded Creatures. ISBN 978-1-4488-3324-5; ISBN 978-1-4488-4562-0. LC 2010023191. ————. Drawing Griffins and Other Winged Wonders. ISBN 978-1-4488-3253-8; ISBN 978-1-4488-4560-6. LC 2010024151. ————. Drawing the Kraken and Other Sea Monsters. ISBN 978-1-4488-3252-1; ISBN 978-1-4488-4559-0. LC 2010023599. ————. Drawing the Minotaur and Other Demihumans. ISBN 978-1-4488-3250-7; ISBN 978-1-4488-4557-6. LC 2010023605. ————. Drawing Unicorns and Other Mythical Beasts. ISBN 978-1-4488-3251-4; ISBN 978-1-4488-4558-3. LC 2010023600. ————. Drawing Werewolves and Other Gothic Ghouls. ISBN 978-1-4488-3254-5; ISBN 978-1-4488-4561-3. LC 2010025758. ea vol: illus. by author. 32p. (Drawing Legendary Monsters Series). illus. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Rosen/PowerKids Pr. 2011. PLB $25.25; ebook $25.25. Gr 4-6—After brief overviews of the kinds of paper, pencils, markers, and paint to buy, these books include a “Master Class” spread that will help when creating some of the other drawings in the book. Dragons, for example, demonstrates how to draw scales and snakes. The meat of the books consists of instructions for drawing three types of figures; the directions begin with stick figures and progress to full-color pictures over the course of six pages. Each book concludes with the construction of a scene featuring the title monster, such as drawing the Minotaur in a labyrinth. Although the finished drawings will appeal to those who want their comic-book monsters to look appropriately dangerous and menacing, the process for getting there assumes artistic experience. For example, in Werewolves, the “Master Class” shows the basic construction of a human hand made up of overlapping shapes and cylinders—rather fine details for young artists to manage. Those who get easily frustrated when their steps do not match the books may just wind up tracing.

SMS1104w_berendes_arts(Original Import)BERENDES, Mary & Jean Eick. Birthday Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-231-3. LC 2010035496. ————. Independence Day Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-235-1. LC 2010035482. EICK, Jean. Christmas Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-232-0. LC 2010035497. ————. Easter Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-233-7. LC 2010035495. ————. Halloween Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-234-4. LC 2010035493. ————. Mother’s Day Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-236-8. LC 2010035478. ————. Thanksgiving Crafts. ISBN 978-1-60954-237-5. LC 2010035475. ea vol: illus. by Kathleen Petelinsek. 24p. (CraftBooks Series). illus. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. The Child’s World. 2011. PLB $25.64. PreS-Gr 2—The seven crafts in these books (one craft per spread) are sandwiched between brief advice on getting started and a short list of holiday-related activities toward the end. Festive illustrations accompany the directions to the easy-to-make projects that, while not geared to greatly expand knowledge about the special day, will at least boost readers’ involvement and excitement. Other age-appropriate features include the use of readily available materials—crayons, markers, pipe cleaners, glue—and uncomplicated large shapes for templates, such as a star shape for an Independence Day decoration or a shoe to make the head of a reindeer. Directions for making a card and envelope appear in each book. Recurring gentle reminders to be kind (e.g., “make a wonderful and special day for someone” in Birthday) are a bonus.

SMS1104w_schuette2_arts(Original Import)BROWN, Louann & Jason Nemeth. How to Create Spectacular Halloween Costumes. ISBN 978-1-4296-5422-7. LC 2010030392. IPCIZADE, Catherine. How to Make Frightening Halloween Decorations. ISBN 978-1-4296-5423-4. LC 2010030176. PETERSON, Megan Cooley. How to Build Hair-Raising Haunted Houses. ISBN 978-1-4296-5421-0. LC 2010030174. SCHUETTE, Sarah L. How to Carve Freakishly Cool Pumpkins. ISBN 978-1-4296-5420-3. LC 2010030173. ea vol: 32p. (Edge Books: Halloween Extreme Series). photos. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Capstone. 2011. PLB $26.65. Gr 3-7—This unabashedly seasonal series offering covers all the Halloween bases with creative and easily achievable crafts. There is some planning and prep work involved, but nothing more complicated than visiting a thrift shop for old clothes to shred (surfer-bit-by-shark in Costumes) or figuring out when to pour water over dry ice so that it will smoke at the right time (“Witch’s Brew” in Decorations). Pictures corresponding to the steps appear on the page opposite the numbered directions, and though they are on the small side, they do an adequate job of driving home the point of the instructions. Additional tips dealing with safety, adding a scarier element, or extending the life of the decorations (petroleum jelly on pumpkin skin prevents it from turning brown) appear with each project. While not as polished as store-bought items, the charming homemade DIY qualities of the finished products will definitely impress party guests and fellow trick-or-treaters.

SMS1104w_ho_arts(Original Import)CERATO, Mattia. You Can Draw Dinosaurs. ISBN 978-1-4048-6280-7. LC 2010030023. ————. You Can Draw Flowers. ISBN 978-1-4048-6279-1. LC 2010030033. HO, Jannie. You Can Draw Monsters and Other Scary Things. ISBN 978-1-4048-6276-0. LC 2010030029. ————. You Can Draw Zoo Animals. ISBN 978-1-4048-6275-3. LC 2010030025. SEXTON, Brenda. You Can Draw Pets. ISBN 978-1-4048-6277-7. LC 2010029050. —--——. You Can Draw Planes, Trains, and Other Vehicles. ISBN 978-1-4048-6278-4. LC 2010030024. ea vol: illus. by author. 24p. (You Can Draw Series). CIP. Picture Window. 2011. PLB $25.99. K-Gr 2—The few sentences that appear on the first spread of each of these books tell children what they will need before they start drawing and assure them that if they can draw shapes, lines, numbers, and letters, they are ready for any of the drawings that follow. Wordless instructions make up the rest of the books, with figures materializing shape by shape across the landscape of spreads. Do not expect realism or actual dinosaur names; the simple cartoon figures, such as a dinosaur playing drums and another shopping, are pure fun. There are even instructions for drawing props for a cheerful group scene that takes up the final pages. Don’t worry about the fright factor in Monsters and Scary Things—the setting is a beach, and the creatures are more goofy than scary. The only problem with each brightly colored step is that if young artists replicate the colors, mistakes will be hard to erase (even colored-pencil marks faintly linger). Still, this is a solid way to get children focused on drawing objects by using shapes they may have already put to paper.

drawingisfuncook(Original Import)COOK, Trevor & Lisa Miles. Drawing Fantasy Pictures. ISBN 978-1-4339-5022-3; ISBN 978-1-4339-5065-0. LC 2010027758. ————. Drawing Manga. ISBN 978-1-4339-5024-7; ISBN 978-1-4339-5067-4. LC 2010027759. ————. Drawing Pets and Farm Animals. ISBN 978-1-4339-5026-1; ISBN 978-1-4339-5071-1. LC 2010027760. ————. Drawing Sports Figures. ISBN 978-1-4339-5028-5; ISBN 978-1-4339-5074-2. LC 2010027761. ————. Drawing Vehicles. ISBN 978-1-4339-5030-8; ISBN 978-1-4339-5077-3. LC 2010027762. ————. Drawing Wild Animals. ISBN 978-1-4339-5032-2; ISBN 978-1-4339-5079-7. LC 2010027763. ea vol: illus. by authors. 32p. (Drawing Is Fun Series). illus. photos. further reading. glossary. index. CIP. Gareth Stevens. 2011. PLB $26.60; ebook $26.60. Gr 1-3—This series covers some kid favorites and the pictures pop off its glossy pages, but it has no further appeal. The books start right in on the drawings, with no preamble. To the left of each spread is a picture of, for example, a standing parakeet, surrounded by facts: “A parakeet is a type of small parrot./This parakeet likes to eat seeds./Parakeets can be gray, blue, white, green, or yellow./He has four toes on each foot” (Pets and Farm Animals). Opposite are four illustrated steps for creating a line drawing of the creature, culminating in a cartoon version of it in flight, making one wonder why the preceding photograph was included. This formula becomes increasingly ridiculous when a real person, dressed as a zombie, holding a staff, etc., is the basis for a cartoon or manga counterpart. Furthermore, the final drawings are often too complicated to have been created using the recommended four-step process.

easyoceanorigamiharbo(Original Import)HARBO, Christopher L. Easy Animal Origami. ISBN 978-1-4296-5384-8. LC 2010024791. ————. Easy Holiday Origami. ISBN 978-1-4296-5387-9. LC 2010024785. ————. Easy Ocean Origami. ISBN 978-1-4296-5385-5. LC 2010024786. ————. Easy Origami Toys. ISBN 978-1-4296-5386-2. LC 2010024788. ea vol: 24p. (First Facts: Easy Origami Series). diags. illus. photos. further reading. Web sites. CIP. Capstone. 2011. PLB $23.99. Gr 1-3—Following the standard introduction of required materials (origami paper, pencil, ruler, scissors, etc.), these books all cover the same basic folding techniques. Harbo suggests either practicing the folds before starting or turning back to these pages for a refresher when stuck. After that, there is one project per brightly colored spread, with the boxed pictures of the steps large enough to see the folding process. All of the projects include an extra tip for adding animal characteristics, altering the scale, or decorating or reinforcing the paper. Further appeal comes from the fact that many of the origami figures do not have to remain stationary. Some can be manipulated and played with after completion: the boats in Ocean can float, for example, since the closing tip involves making them waterproof by coloring the bottom edges with crayon; and the crown described in Toys can be worn. There may only be seven projects in each book, but they are more than enough to hold the interest of young ones smitten by the idea of folding paper into shapes.

qebgamesindoor(Original Import)REGAN, Lisa. Games on the Move! ISBN 978-1-59566-933-9. LC 2010018098. ————. Indoor Games! CIP. ISBN 978-1-59566-931-5. LC 2010014139. ————. Outdoor Games! CIP. ISBN 978-1-59566-934-6. LC 2010014187. ————. Party Games! CIP. ISBN 978-1-59566-932-2. LC 2010014188. ea vol: illus. by author. 32p. (QEB Games Handbook Series). illus. QEB. 2011. PLB $27.10. Gr 3-5—These books offer a variety of games that will keep kids occupied and engaged. Classics like hopscotch, marbles, and I Spy are included, along with card games, picture puzzles, a water-bomb challenge, and races. The games are formatted by degree of difficulty with easier activities at the beginning; almost all of them take up a single page and can be learned by following the three-step directions. Surrounding these explanations are bright illustrations, suggestions for altering the game if there is a solo player or to make it more challenging, and an occasional fact related to the activity. Though this obvious filler makes for some cluttered pages, children shouldn’t have too much trouble focusing on the directions due to the inherent simplicity of the games. Materials, when needed, can be easily found around the house but for the most part, “All you need is yourself—your eyes, ears and, mostly your brain.” No need to install a DVD player in the car or buy elaborate backyard recreational equipment with books such as these.

SMS1104w_schuette_arts(Original Import)SCHUETTE, Sarah L. A Monster Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-4296-5377-0. LC 2010028140. ————. An Astronaut Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-4296-5376-3. LC 2010028141. ————. A Pirate Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-4296-5375-6. LC 2010028139. ————. A Princess Cookbook: Simple Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-4296-5374-9. LC 2010028138. ea vol: 24p. (First Facts: First Cookbooks Series). photos. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Capstone. 2011. PLB $23.99. Gr 1-2—Though promoted as fun snacks and for possible use at a similarly themed party, at times it’s a stretch to consider some of these foods as particularly monster-, pirate-, princess-, or astronautlike. For example, the introduction to a peanut-butter-and-jelly breakfast sandwich states, “The pirate Blackbeard was known for plundering ships. He probably took the breakfast right from people’s hands. This waffle sandwich is worth fighting for.” Photos of the dishes in the tables of contents immediately draw readers in, and throughout the books the clear images are the main way of demonstrating the use of tools, techniques, and every step of the recipe. Stoves are not needed for any of the dishes since any required heating—melting cheese into pizza sauce, cooking oatmeal, making popcorn—can be done with a microwave or toaster. Ultimately, there are a few healthy hits (“Princess Parfait” with berries, yogurt, and granola) and many near misses (“Bigfoot’s Boogers” uses broccoli but also spray cheese). Health-conscious parents will have to be prepared to make substitutions or to run interference altogether.

SMS1104w_wagner_arts(Original Import)WAGNER, Lisa. Cool African Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-658-9; ISBN 978-1-61714-859-0. LC 2010022190. ————. Cool Chinese and Japanese Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-659-6; ISBN 978-1-61714-860-6. LC 2010022191. ————. Cool French Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-660-2; ISBN 978-1-61714-861-3. LC 2010022192. ————. Cool Italian Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-661-9; ISBN 978-1-61714-862-0. LC 2010022193. ————. Cool Mexican Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-662-6; ISBN 978-1-61714-863-7. LC 2010022194. ————. Cool Middle Eastern Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids. ISBN 978-1-61714-663-3; ISBN 978-1-61714-864-4. LC 2010022195. ea vol: 32p. (Cool World Cooking Series). map. photos. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. ABDO/Checkerboard Library. 2011. PLB $27.07; ebook $27.07. Gr 3-5—Though the word “cool” is overused in these books, it will no doubt be the reaction from children after they whip up these tasty dishes. Each book begins with basic cooking terms and techniques, a picture list of ingredients (in their original packaging so that people will know what to look for at the grocery store), and key symbols that indicate whether the preparation requires sharp tools, heat, or may affect people with food allergies. The step-by-step directions make it easy to create both essential components of meals (“Remarkable Red Sauce” in Italian Cooking) and side dishes (“Chapati Flatbread” in African Cooking), as well as to make main dishes that are as enticing as the pictures. These are worthy guides for the first few steps around the kitchen, but the tendency toward broad generalizations—such as grouping Chinese and Japanese cooking into one title—and the books’ uniform look takes away from the multicultural theme. Use these titles to instill a sense of accomplishment and adventure in the kitchen rather than as platforms for learning about international cuisine.

SMS1104w_walterfoster_pets.1(Original Import)THE WALTER FOSTER CREATIVE TEAM. Learn to Draw Animals: Step-by-step Instructions for 26 Captivating Creatures. ISBN 978-1-936309-20-7. LC 2010004207. ————. Learn to Draw Dogs & Puppies: Step-by-step Instructions for 25 Different Breeds. ISBN 978-1-936309-18-4. LC 2010004203. ————. Learn to Draw Horses & Ponies: Step-by-step Instructions for 25 Different Breeds. ISBN 978-1-936309-16-0. LC 2010004205. ————. Learn to Draw Pets: Step-by-step Instructions for 23 Favorite Animals. ISBN 978-1-936309-17-7. LC 2010004204. ————. Learn to Draw Sea Creatures: Step-by-step Instructions for 25 Ocean Animals. ISBN 978-1-936309-19-1. LC 2010004206. ea vol: 32p. (Learn to Draw Series). illus. CIP. Walter Foster. 2011. PLB $28.50. Gr 1-4—The first page of each of these books (which lack tables of contents) enables readers to grasp the concept of how basic shapes are the building blocks of form. Circles can be used for heads, chests, and hips. Ovals eventually become animal bodies and triangles serve as hooves, beaks, and ears. By refining and adding to these shapes, practically all the figures described here can be accomplished within four-to-six steps. Although there aren’t overt instructions on when and where to erase pencil lines or further demonstration on how to achieve the final product that is featured in color with added shading and depth, children will get the idea and, with practice, can master their chosen drawing. Further learning will be sparked by facts that appear on each spread, and encouragement for creativity comes from the suggestion to draw the animals in specific settings or in action so that they will not stand alone. With so many animals featured in each title, readers will easily stumble upon a favorite subject. Students may even be inspired to do their own illustrations for animal reports.

Grades 5 and Up

BAGGETTA, Marla. Pastel Step by Step: Master the Basic Skills and Special Techniques of Painting in Pastel. ISBN 978-1-936309-25-2. LC 2010005937. FISHER, Diana. The Art of Rock Painting: Discover Simple Techniques and Practical Tips for Transforming Simple Rocks into Beautiful Works of Art. ISBN 978-1-936309-31-3. LC 2010005936. FRANKS, Gene. Pencil Drawing: Learn How to Develop Drawings from Start to Finish with Techniques for Shading, Contrast, Texture, and Detail. ISBN 978-1-936309-24-5. LC 2010009448. GOLDMAN, Ken. Charcoal Drawing: Explore the Expressive Qualities of Charcoal, from Basic Techniques to Complex Renderings. ISBN 978-1-936309-26-9. LC 2010005935. POWELL, William F. Perspective: An Essential Guide Featuring Basic Principles, Advanced Techniques, and Practical Applications. ISBN 978-1-936309-28-3. LC 2010009449. SWENSON, Brenda. Steps to Success in Watercolor: Learn Eight Valuable Principles for Planning Your Next Watercolor Painting. ISBN 978-1-936309-27-6. LC 2010005939. TOLLISON, Hal. Cartooning: Master the Materials, Practical Exercises and Easy Techniques for Drawing Your Own Cartoons. ISBN 978-1-936309-39-0. LC 2010009450. WANY, Lucy. The Art of Chinese Brush Painting: Master the Simple Techniques and Elegant Strokes of This Traditional Art Form. ISBN 978-1-936309-30-6. LC 2010005938. ea vol: 64p. (Artist’s Library Series). illus. photos. CIP. Walter Foster. 2011. PLB $34.25. Gr 9 Up—Whether the subject matter is as broad as perspective or narrow, covering, for example, a specific artistic medium, this series provides the same thorough coverage. The authors have individual approaches toward art, but they all successfully list the tools and materials needed for projects, define essential terms, and clearly explain concepts such as color theory and composition. Opening up their sketchbooks and illustrating techniques with their own work, they provide what is essentially an art class in book form. This results in some sophisticated presentations that might be intimidating to beginning artists. Those who acknowledge a worker-bee mentality toward their artistic aspirations will find several practice drills for drawing and learn that there is just as much planning, measuring, and experimenting in art as there are aesthetics. Many of the books have a step-by-step format, but the point is not to replicate the end product. These titles are for students looking to follow each step to aid in their development as an artist.

SMS1104w_enz_arts(Original Import)ENZ, Tammy. Build Your Own Car, Rocket, and Other Things That Go. diags. ISBN 978-1-4296-5437-1; ISBN 978-1-4296-6260-4. LC 2010032204. ————. Build Your Own Fort, Igloo, and Other Hangouts. illus. ISBN 978-1-4296-5436-4; ISBN 978-1-4296-6261-1. LC 2010032205. ————. Build Your Own Mini Golf Course, Lemonade Stand, and Other Things to Do. ISBN 978-1-4296-5438-8; ISBN 978-1-4296-6262-8. LC 2010032206. ————. Build Your Own Periscope, Flashlight, and Other Useful Stuff. ISBN 978-1-4296-5439-5; ISBN 978-1-4296-6263-5. LC 2010032201. ea vol: 32p. (Edge Books: Build It Yourself Series). photos. further reading. Web sites. CIP. Capstone. 2011. PLB $26.65; pap. $7.95. Gr 5-8—Those who choose to mix epoxy instead of watercolors and feel more comfortable in a hardware store than an art store are the target audience for this series. With a utility knife, electric drill, and handsaw included in the list of needed tools, there are recurring reminders to ask an adult for help. Other more-than-appropriate suggestions deal with safety concerns—securing the area before letting the helicopter launcher fly (Car), making sure the old-fashioned tree swing is far enough away from the tree trunk (Mini Golf), etc. Though there is not a discernible progression for the projects’ difficulty, there is a sense that the best has been saved for last. Some of these showstoppers are a pop gun (which the writer assures is a toy and not dangerous), a water blaster rocket, and an igloo, all of which require some tool savvy and a meticulous nature. Snowshoes and a leaf hut made from branches have an outdoor, survival gear appeal, but no matter what the project, readers will need a good amount of elbow grease and patience to see it through to its completion.

SMS1104w_rau_arts(Original Import)RAU, Dana Meachen. A Teen Guide to Breakfast on the Go. ISBN 978-0-7565-4407-2. LC 2010038580. ————. A Teen Guide to Creative, Delightful Dinners. ISBN 978-0-7565-4408-9. LC 2010040682. ————. A Teen Guide to Fast, Delicious Lunches. ISBN 978-0-7565-4405-8. LC 2010040680. ————. A Teen Guide to Quick, Healthy Snacks. ISBN 978-0-7565-4406-5. LC 2010040681. ea vol: 64p. (Teen Cookbooks Series). charts. illus. photos. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Compass Point. 2011. PLB $33.99. Gr 6-8—Quick overviews about produce, packaged foods, organics, and kitchen and food safety set the tone for the rest of the content, which encourages kids to hit the kitchen and helps them to make good nutritional choices. The recipes that follow adhere nicely to each theme. They include chocolate cookies made with tofu in Healthy Snacks and a full-course, easily accomplishable Italian meal (antipasto skewers, garlic bread nachos, tomato sauce, lasagna, pizelles) in Delightful Dinners. Suggestions for vegetarian options, prep time, and substitute ingredients pop up periodically, either on the recipe page or superimposed upon the close-up photograph of the dish. These full-page color photographs make even a simple rice cake topped with cheese and a few apple slices look delectable. Although some of the pictures feature high-school age kids, the writing (e.g., calling ingredients “Food Stuff” or defining the word “soak” in the glossary) makes the series more appropriate for younger teens.

The books that combine clear instructions and allow room for creativity ultimately present more opportunities for inspiration. Could your Moroccan carrot salad use more spice? Try adding some cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes. Despite the somewhat generic design, suggestions like this make ABDO’s “Cool World Cooking” excellent for promoting kitchen exploration. Plus, some of the dishes are too delicious to be skipped. The same goes for Compass Point’s “Teen Cookbooks,” especially for the vegetarian options and the nutritional information that help teens make better food choices. Solid options away from the kitchen include Walter Foster’s “Learn to Draw” and Capstone’s “First Facts: Easy Origami” for their general, all-purpose appeal and for the way they present basic techniques. The Child’s World’s “CraftBooks” crafts and suggested activities will provide a creative spark during the holidays, as will QEB’s “QEB Games Handbook” at any time of year.

Read Series Made Simple, School Library Journal's guide to the latest series nonfiction

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