________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 20 . . . .May 25, 2007


Wind Chimes and Whirligigs. (Kids Can Do It).

Renée Schwarz.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.
40 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 978-1-55337-870-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55337-868-6.

Subject Headings:
Windchimes-Juvenile literature.
Whirligigs-Juvenile literature.
Handicraft-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Karen Kiddey.

*** /4



The fun thing about making wind chimes and whirligigs is hearing them and seeing them dance in the wind. Hang them in your backyard, on the balcony, inside or outside a window or near the door -- there are lots of great spots for these wind-powered crafts to catch the wind and fill the air with ringing and whirling.


Wind Chimes and Whirligigs couldn't appear at a more appropriate time. Our increased interest in eco-friendly power sources, and our concerns around using renewable resources make this how-to craft book a very relevant and inspiring teaching tool for kids today. For the most part, the projects are easy to craft, durable and ready for the elements, and quite hilarious and inventive!!

     The book begins with an illustrated menu of all the essential supplies, including craft, school, and recycled materials that can be used to make the projects that are outlined in the following pages. It was great to see an emphasis on free or inexpensive supplies using found objects that will be given one more life, for example, wooden spoons, old aluminum pie plates, old compact discs, bottle caps, and plastic bottles. Although the required tools are fairly basic, it is evident that the inclusion of exacto knives, wire cutters, and glue-guns mean that the crafts do entail some adult supervision, depending on the capability and age of the children who are attempting these projects. Step-by-step instructions are carefully provided for 12 different wind-driven craft projects that begin with "Crazy Kitten" a simple project, to the more complex, "Wind-Dragon" and "Whirli-bird" at the end of the book. "Caterpillar" is a perfect example of how a wooden spoon, a few beads, and a handful of wood screws can evoke a funky folk-art style creepy crawler for hanging in the garden.

      Each project includes a thorough list of supplies, followed by a step-by-step illustrated sequence of instructions. All of the projects can be made in an afternoon, and the author advises that children read the "Techniques" and "Tips" sections before embarking on a project. Good practical advice is provided on the use of screwdrivers, glue, tape, and nylon fishing line for hanging the finished projects. There is a full-colour photo of each of the completed projects as they function in their 'au naturel' setting.

      Schwarz has written and illustrated other craft books in the "Kids Can Do It" series. Most of the crafts include alternate ideas and themes in sections called "Other Ideas." The author's approach to crafting encourages experimentation and growth -- unlike many craft books for children and adults that waste pages and pages at the end of the book providing templates, prescribing that crafters mindlessly follow their patterns and dare not improvise.

      Preteens and young adults will get a giggle out of making these critter-inspired mobiles that jingle and wriggle in the wind. The craft activities in Wind Chimes and Whirligigs will stretch the imagination and challenge children to examine the everyday world in a different way while introducing them to the fine art and science of wind power!


Karen Kiddey is the Manager of Library Services for the Red River North Regional Library in Selkirk, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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