Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Twisted Critters: The Pipe Cleaner Book

Twisted Critters: The Pipe Cleaner Book

From the editors at Klutz
Novelty Craft Kit
For ages 8 to 12
Klutz, 2011   ISBN: 978-0545346238

For generations children have been swiping their father’s pipe cleaners so that they can use the pipe cleaners to make all kinds of things. The slightly furry pipe cleaners can be twisted and bent, knotted and folded. They are, in short, wonderfully versatile things.

   These days young crafters can buy packets of pipe cleaners from craft shops, and they come in a variety of colors and sizes. The creators of this kit provide eager crafters with a selection of pipe cleaners (seventy-two of them) that they can use to make the projects described in the accompanying book. All children need to make the projects are fingernail clippers, a black marker, and a pencil. A ruler can be found on the inside back cover of the book.

   The book begins by showing crafters “The Big 7,” which are the principal “pipe cleaner moves” that are used to make the pipe cleaner projects. These moves include twisting, coiling, and connecting pipe cleaners. Photographs and instructions make it easy for readers to see how each “move” is created.

   The projects in the book are arranged “from easiest to hardest, so you’ll get better and better as you go.” They begin with a selection of pipe cleaner fruits and veggies. Making the carrot, pepper, grape, and banana will help crafters get used to measuring and manipulating the pipe cleaners. A few pages later children will find their first true critter project. They will learn how to make a very endearing looking caterpillar. At the top of the first page we are told how many pipe cleaners we need and which ones to use. Then numbered directions with photos show us how to turn three pipe cleaners into the finished caterpillar.

   Children can then go on to make a chick, a mouse, a penguin, a lobster, a dog, a lion, a tiger, a parrot, a peacock, a lizard, and two kinds of animal figure puppets.

   Wonderful step-by-step photographs and well written directions make the projects in this book easy to create. This kit would make a wonderful gift for a young person who loves to make things.