CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 18. . . . May 9, 2003
Wear safety glasses or goggles, especially when working with wire. Cut wire ends can be sharp and can scratch. Never force tools - they could slip and hurt you. If something is too difficult to do, ask an adult for help.
Funky Junk is part of the "Kids Can Do It" series of craft books. These creative projects will appeal to boys and girls ages 8 to 12 years old. The variety of projects include: lock nest monster, nutty mouse pin, zipping snake, lightening bee switch plates, bungee bee bracelet, critter clip, baby bird magnet, alien key chain, fat fly pencil pal, sharpie the robot, guard dog hook, and the heavy metal chess set. Besides the projects listed in the table of contents, almost every project includes additional suggestions for ideas to vary or compliment the craft. Initially the reader may think that only boys would be interested due to the types of materials used, but when the intended use of the projects is considered, girls' interests have obviously been considered.
Renee Schwarz begins with a short introduction. The illustrated materials section that follows is extremely helpful, and grouping items together in hardware store sections will make buying any needed materials much easier. The tools section pictures the tools and explains what they will be used for. This information will allow crafters to make sure they have the necessary tools before they begin their projects. These beginning sections include the normal safety warnings but also include helpful tips like cautioning the necessary use of a wire cutter because, "Cutting wire or pipe cleaners with scissors will ruin the scissors." A small point worth mentioning is that the craft section, which pictures many items that may be needed, doesn't list all of them. Since many of items are not the variety that would be easily found a family's junk drawer, a little more attention to listing in this section would have been helpful. The tips and techniques section includes information on: safety, protecting a work surface, screwing and unscrewing, using locknuts, gluing nuts and bolts, and working with wire and pipe cleaners. As an adult that is relatively unskilled in using tools and hardware, I would strongly recommend that all parents/adult supervisors and children read these beginning sections before starting any of the projects. Though most men might not necessarily consider the projects to be overly difficult, the information provided by the author is very useful for all readers.
Each project includes a photo of the finished product and numbered step-by-step illustrated instructions. These colour illustrations are clear and easy to follow. Also included is a "You will need" section which includes a list of required materials and tools. The book starts with the easiest projects, and then they get progressively bigger and more complex.
Funky Junk is a recommended purchase for school and public libraries. Groups like Girl Guides and Scout troops would find the projects included in this book a nice change from normal paper or recyclables craft sessions. Funky Junk projects would also be a treat for small birthday party activities or sleepovers. I think that most readers would not find the required materials prohibitively expensive, and many of the hardware items might be found at home.
As the result of another exciting Northern move, Catherine Hoyt is now living and working in Pond Inlet, Nunavut. She is a volunteer at one of the most northern public libraries in Canada.
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