Crafty Chloe kicks off new series
Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrations by Heather Ross; published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York; 2012.
Note: This review is based on an uncorrected color proof provided for free by the publisher. The book is due on shelves February 21, 2012.
Chloe isn’t good at sports or video games but she is very good at making things. Just give her a pile of scraps or found materials and her imagination goes wild. With her best friend’s birthday just around the corner, Chloe goes shopping for the perfect gift only to discover a classmate has selected the same doll. How will Chloe find another “perfect” gift? With a pad of paper and a pencil, Chloe doodles a few ideas and creates the perfect gift to make. Her gift is not only a hit with her best friend, but Chloe also saves the day for her classmate.
DiPucchio’s story captures the creative spirit perfectly. Ross’ pictures match the spirit of the story and illustrate the creative process (sketches, hard work, and even headstands). Bright colors, a font that looks handwritten, and end pages featuring orange-handled scissors and macaroni necklaces all add to the story of Crafty Chloe.
Chloe was teased for making a gift. Sounds typical for kids, right? Making fun of the kid that does things differently is, unfortunately, the status quo. I was thrilled to read about a character who is not only true-to-life but also responds like a typical kid would. After being teased, Chloe decides to skip her best friend’s birthday party; but then she comes up with a homemade gift that is unique and perfectly purple, all things that her friend will appreciate. As parents, we often tell our children that homemade gifts are the best, and DiPucchio’s character proves that. I look forward to more installments of this series that fosters creativity. At the time of this review, the Crafty Chloe website, which promises to provide instructions for creating the crafts in the book, was not available. I hope it’s up soon.** One of my pet peeves about education today is that the opportunities to be hands-on creative have all but disappeared. A kid like Chloe, and the resources to learn to craft like her, is much needed to offer informal creative learning opportunities.
I have taken over the monthly drop-in craft at work (in a children’s library). Chloe is my inspiration for creating easy but interesting projects. I’d like to start an art club for tweens this autumn. Although the Crafty Chloe series is intended for a much younger crowd (preschool to early elementary), I would not hesitate to introduce her to tweens and provide them with the link to the website. Who doesn’t believe that adding googly eyes to anything makes it more interesting? At a conference I attended, Denise Fleming suggested giving kids sticks, rocks and googly eyes, then encouraging them to take pictures of their creatures in different settings and write a story around those images. Chloe would agree.
I’ve already passed my copy of Chloe around to librarian friends. We’re all excited to have a creative hero to share with children, teachers and parents. She has also inspired some programming ideas. Since March is National Craft Month, it seems fitting to introduce Chloe and her creative bent with a series of crafts.
** NOTE: I checked the website over the weekend (today is March 5) and the website is live. Chloe gives instructions for making her glow in the dark pajamas in the first installment of crafts to make at home. The site is easy to navigate and will be attractive for kids to use. Visit Crafty Chloe here: http://craftychloe.squarespace.com/.
Entry filed under: Picture Book, Starred Review Book (Horn Book, Booklist. School Library Journal, Kirkus or PW), Website Intended for Children. Tags: crafting for kids, Crafty Chloe, Heather Ross, Kelly DiPucchio, new picture book series, picture book, starred review book, website intended for children.