CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 32. . . April 28, 2017
The “Handprint Art” series provides step-by-step instructions on how to create pictures that feature animals, people, plants and modes of transportation. Following a list of materials, single and double-page spreads show the finished products, complete with fairly simple backgrounds, making it easy for young readers to follow the steps. To create the pictures, backgrounds are painted first (though there are no instructions for how to paint them), handprints come next, and finally, the finishing touches and details are added. (The final step in the animal and people pictures tells readers to paint on googly eyes; however, the actual examples appear to use glue-on googly eyes purchased from a craft store.) Projects range from an easy to a medium level of difficulty. Potentially quite messy, they are best done under an adult’s supervision. The inclusion of so many examples can be viewed as both positive and negative: positive because the examples will provide lots of ideas for kids who need them and will, perhaps, inspire them to try to create pictures from their own imaginations; and negative, because very imaginative kids will just want to explore and enjoy the creative process right from the get-go rather than following a set of instructions. Actually, had there been fewer examples of each theme, all of the themes could have been published in a single four-chapter book. A table of contents, a glossary and a list of a few related books and web sites are included. Though the titles of the suggested books vary with each volume, the recommended web sites are the same in each book. One of them, the NGA Kids Brushter, has some excellent ideas but requires the downloading of Adobe Shockwave Player (neither is it 100% compatible with Macintosh web browsers and requires a Mac app or a free CD that is available on the web site). The second recommended web site provides a lot of different themes and offers templates for users to download.
Handprint Animals features 26 animals from various groups, birds, mammals, fish, insects and reptiles, while Handprint Garden shows how to create trees, fruit, mushrooms, toadstools, but mostly, a variety of flowers. People from all walks of life are featured in Handprint People. Astronauts, pirates, clowns, cowboys and ballerinas are some examples. A few of the illustrations have far more detail than others, demonstrating that handprint art need not be simple, and, in fact, can be very creative. Finally, Handprint Transportation highlights various types of vehicles and other modes of transportation on land, in the sea and in the air. Sailboats, rockets, skis and hot air balloons are a few examples.
Fun and easy-to-follow, these books have a place in homes, daycares and schools, but just one all-encompassing book, perhaps entitled “Handprint Art”, would have been sufficient instead of four separate titles.
Recommended with Reservations.
Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.