Review Blog

Dec 01 2013

How to make small things with Violet Mackerel by Anna Branford

cover image

Ill. by Sarah Davis. Photographer Cath Muscat. Walker Books, 2013.
(Age: 6-10) Highly recommended for crafters from 6-10 years. Themes: handicraft, collections, sewing, gifts, recycling, up-cycling. This absolutely gorgeous craft book is a companion volume to the wonderful Violet Mackerel novels. Violet loves collecting small and appealing things and in this how to book the reader can engage with some exciting craft projects. This book is beautifully laid out with three chapters - Small things to Wear, Small things to Use and Small things to Give. There are four projects within each section suitable for children from six years of age with supervision and for independent crafters.
These activities are introduced by Violet and connect with her family, friends and her stories. Each project contains a list of all the things needed and has clear easy to read step by step instructions accompanied by a photograph or illustration. To add interest, Violet suggests additional ideas in the Thinking Outside the Square section, turning the beautiful bird hair-slide into a brooch, changing the look with different materials or making different animals.
Some of the projects involve recycling old socks or t-shirts into wrist warmers and tubular scarves then adding personalised embellishments. There are beautiful crowns made with small buttons and charms to give to friends, small felt pouches for treasures, shining sun rings and handmade gift tags to make.
Sarah Davis' emotive pencil sketches of Violet are cut and placed attractively on a variety of soft pastel backgrounds. They are complemented by Cath Muscat's full page colour photos and smaller images that show the project steps. This is a visually engaging book that would make a wonderful present.
Rhyllis Bignell

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