Create with Maisy : A Maisy First Arts-and-Crafts Book by Lucy Cousins

If you have read Yummy! Eight Favorite Fairy Tales by Lucy Cousins, a favorite of mine and many story time attendees, or, for that matter, any of her Maisy books, then you know that Cousins knows her audience (four and under) very well. I know that there are many, many crafty moms and dads out there creating things with their kids as soon as they can grasp a glue stick, nevertheless, I still get requests about once or twice a month for craft books for toddlers and I can never find anything that comes even close to being acceptable. Create with Maisy definitely fills a void and, after you read this book you might agree with me that it's the only book you'll need when it comes to crafts for little hands. And, even if you don't actually need this book, consider it the best birthday present you will ever give to a child and his/her parents.

Cousins begins her book with a "Message for the Grown-Ups" which shows just how in-tune she is with creating, crafting and kids and I am printing it in full here:

Making things is fun.

In this book, Maisy makes a lot of things that I hope you and your children will enjoy making too. The instructions are very simple, and you don't need to follow them if you have your own ideas. I hope that our will already have most of the things needed in your home, but if not, just use something different.

While your children are enjoying making things, please make sure they are safe. Help them when necessary and always use:

- glue and glue sticks that are washable and nontoxic
- child-friendly scissors with rounded ends
- washable nontoxic paints, like poster paints

Any birthdays coming up? I think homemade gifts are the best presents. I still cherish things my teenage children made when they were little.

Have fun!

Besides being a book filled with arts-and-crafts you can do with toddlers, . Create with Maisy is a book that toddlers will want to look at. Oversized and with a sturdy cover and thick pages, . Create with Maisy is filled with big, bright illustrations and crisp photographs of the finished crafts and the supplies needed to create them. There are seventeen simple crafts, each accompanied by a list of supplies needed and a short "How to Make It" column. But, as Cousins says (which I totally love) if you don't have something on the list, use something else! Many of the crafts in this book will be familiar to parents, but there are plenty of us out there who appreciate having it spelled out - in pictures and words! And honestly, as a parent who has made her fair share of cardboard doll houses, puppet theaters, and other assorted crafts with (who am I kidding, FOR) my kids, I still learned new things from Cousins's book - things they did not make in preschool!

My favorite crafts in the book are the the Button Bowl and the Sparkly Crown. Sure, these are things you can think of yourself, but have you? The button bowl is a tactile extravaganza and uses air-dry clay and a big tub of buttons and beads and anything else that you want. Have your children shape a bowl, dish or anything they want out of clay and then let them go crazy pressing buttons, beads and sparklies into the clay. Actually, I think some pre-craft playing with the buttons is a great way to start the  activity. Just in case you've never encountered this, most craft stores sell tubs of assorted buttons for a relatively reasonable price and I always have a good supply on hand. The other craft I love is the Sparkly Crown. Again, this may have the "been there, done that" feel to some of you, but for me Cousins brings something new to this essential piece of toddler headwear. The photo in the book makes it look like Cousins saved the foil wrappers from candy for a year and used them to great decorative effect on her crown, whether flattened or crumpled into little jewel-like balls. It almost makes me want to get my glue sticks out...

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