May 11, 2006


The Super Scissors Book. By the editors of Klutz. Chicken Socks/Klutz. $12.95.

Pop Bead People. By the editors of Klutz. Chicken Socks/Klutz. $12.95.

Clothespin Cuties. By Theresa Hutnick. Chicken Socks/Klutz. $9.95.

Ribbon Purses. By Theresa Hutnick and Megan Smith. Klutz. $14.95.

     You know it’s spring when the chickens put on their socks and go dancin’.

     Okay, we’re no competition for Poor Richard’s Almanack (or the Old Farmer’s Almanac, for that matter), but there’s something inherently springlike about the bright new crafts books for younger kids from Klutz’s Chicken Socks line.  These are square-shaped books for children as young as age four, priced lower than regular Klutz books but still containing everything kids need to do whatever activity the book is about.  And the Chicken Socks books are just as good-natured and downright cute as the regular Klutzstuff.

     The Super Scissors Book is maybe even a little cuter.  Here’s the book that every publisher has been looking for: to use it correctly, you have to destroy it, so anyone wanting to do more or redo something has to buy another copy!  But Klutz is so good-humored about all this that that just couldn’t be the motivation (could it?).  Kids who are busy having a ball with the book will scarcely care.  It comes with two pairs of scissors (straight edge and snaggle-tooth), and in a typical display of Klutzy sensitivity and desire to avoid lawsuits, it warns parents that the scissors are capable of cutting “fabric, hair or your favorite set of pearls.”  Don’t let your kids read that page, okay?  There’s plenty of other great stuff for them to cut: a paper chain, a smiling squiggly snake, a flower bouquet, even a bobblehead dog and cat that really work.  Those and some other projects require bits of tape here and there, and Klutz even supplies those – precut to the right size.

     There’s no cutting or pasting required to make Pop Bead People – a delightful followup to a Klutz title of last year, Pop Bead Critters.  This time, just take the four basic bodies (cutely named Missy, Orbison, Scooter and Sunny), snap on feet and hands and ears and stuff, or change the heads and make other pop-together people (one suggestion, Doodle, is a doozy).  You can also make two-headed alien poppers, if you like (turn the bodies upside down and use the leg holes for necks and heads).  And you can play a game called “Neck Stretchers,” which is a sort of Tetris with pop beads – silly and fun.

     For somewhat more traditional Klutz krafts…err, crafts…younger girls can make Clothespin Cuties while older ones make Ribbon Purses using a book from the regular Klutz line.  Theresa Hutnick, who created the first book and co-created the second, has a lovely sense of both fun and style.  The Cuties book comes with three old-fashioned wooden clothespins, plus yarn and flowers and other stuff to attach to the clothespins, turning them into a princess, ballerina and mermaid (glue to do the attaching is included, of course).  Some adult supervision is a good idea here, since the book will appeal to the youngest Klutzniks but the glue can mess up those pretty sequins and such.  After the glue dries, kids can attach punch-out decorative stickers to their Cuties all on their own.

     The Purses book is all ribbon and beads (well, and needle and floss instead of thread).  The seven pretty ribbons can make seven longish purses or 14 shortish ones.  All are small – girls need adept fingers to make these.  When finished, the little purses can hold a couple of coins, be clipped to a keychain or backpack as decorations, or be worn as necklaces.  Even the basic purse is pretty – and it’s a good place to start before moving on to the beaded and button beauties.  You know it’s spring when girls start sporting pretty little accessories like these!

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