Monday, October 10, 2011

Book Review: With Scissors and Paste

A Book You Can Buy From Me

Book Title: With Scissors and Paste

Author: Leila M. Wilhelm

Date: 1927, 1948

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: none

Length: 117 pages

Illustrations: many diagrams

Quote: "You may cut a pattern, or draw it, or tear it. But do not make it too small."

That piece of advice comes from the first pattern, which is for a stand-up cardboard Christmas tree. In addition to the Christmas tree, With Scissors and Paste shows primary school readers how to make "window pictures," place cards, scrapbooks, dollhouses and furniture, an oldfashioned Fifth Avenue Bus, animals, a Circus Wagon, a Noah's Ark, a diorama, a toy village, toy cars and trains, and an "express cart."

Older readers can use the templates to make sturdier objects out of wood, but the book is written for six-year-olds who may want to try "tearing patterns" if they're not allowed to use sharp scissors.

The toys will, of course, have a quaint period look about them. Neither the illustrations nor the diagrams were changed between the 1927 copyright date and my copy's 1948 reprinting.

Because these toys are so cheap and simple, they can be made using currently available supplies. "Tempo paints" were nontoxic, non-staining tempera paints, suitable for use on wood, cardboard, or paper; similar products are available online and in craft stores.

That "express cart" is problematic. As shown, it's big enough for toys or a small child to ride in. If the child reader understands that only stuffed animals can safely ride in a cardboard cart, a cardboard box can be used, as suggested. If there's any chance of a pet or younger child climbing into the cart, adults should find a sturdier kind of box.

This unusually well built book shows its age more in the early-twentieth-century styles of clothes and vehicles, in the illustrations, than in any other way. My copy has thick, smooth, almost glossy paper that lies flat and resists mildew, and a sturdy cloth binding that has survived years of library use. A non-library copy should be good as new.