Made by Hand: A Craft Sampler by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Becca Stadlander
Made by Hand: A Craft Sampler
illustrated by Becca Stadlander
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Made by Hand: A Craft Sampler brings twelve one-of-a-kind objects made in the 18th and 19th centuries to the page, with shared stories about the people who created them and the inspiration behind their creation. While most of these stories, are based in fact, Schaefer also invents and embellishes stories that give readers an idea of the historical time and place. Schaefer's welcome invites readers to, "enjoy the usefulness and pleasure these handmade objects brought to people in the past, and to consider what you might try crafting with your hands in your own time."
The story of the terrestrial globe from 1810 is both the first in the book and the one most rooted in fact. A blacksmith by trade, James Wilson's fascination with exploration inspired him to work to earn the $130 needed to purchase an "eighteen-volume set of the 1797 Encyclopedia Britannica" to teach himself what he needed to know to make a globe for American children. A pie crimper, carved from a piece of whale ivory, is perhaps the item readers will struggle most to make sense of. A bandolier bag made by an Ojibwe and a tin box crafted by a freed slave in Virginia represent the two non-white crafters in this book. Back matter includes photographs of the crafts, when they were made and where they can be seen. Stadlander's illustrations are perfectly matched to the time period of the crafts, with black stitch like borders separating illustrations and text, giving the book itself a truly handmade feel.
Made by Hand is a unique picture book and a wonderful look at creativity, crafting and American history.