Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Review: Build It Yourself (Non Fiction Monday)

The Do-It-Yourself bug starts early in some children. Certain projects have enduring appeal, like the old paint-your-own-room-with-markers job, or the build-an-igloo-out-of-wet-toilet-paper activity. But, maybe, just maybe, you as a guardian might prefer to channel the creative activity of your youngsters--and give them a little learning in the process to boot. So, if you have a crafty child in your home, classroom, or library, then I highly recommend Nomad Press's Build It Yourself Series.

I read Great Ancient Egypt Projects You can Build Yourself, by Carmella Van Vleet, and Great Colonial America Projects You Can Build Yourself, by Kris Bordessa. Both books follow a similar structure: They are organized around historical themes (Egypt--"Foundations of "Ancient Egypt," "Boats," "Hieroglyphs"; Colonial America--"The First Americans," "Life in a Colonial Home," "Colonial Farms and Gardens") and each chapter contains historical information and a few projects of varying complexity. Take, for example, Bordessa's chapter on "Life in a Colonial Home." In this chapter, projects include building your own model Wattle-and-Daub house, creating your own bricks, making straw ticking for a bed, making candles and candle holders, creating your own silhouette and braided rug, and making your own broom. There's something for everyone!

The Build It Yourself books also feature a number of games and toys a child can build, as well as information on the history of the toys and games and how to play them. The volumes also include brief asides on important historical figures, manners of the age, and on language. The Build It Yourself books are best suited for children ages 8 to 12 (third through sixth grades).

Now, get busy!
Personal note: PJ Hoover! There's a make-your-own papyrus section in Great Ancient Egypt Projects.

Anastasia Suen hosts the Non Fiction Monday roundups at Picture Book of the Day