I've been curious for a long while about how teddy bears and other plush toys are designed and built. How to Make Stuffed Animals was one of the few b...moreI've been curious for a long while about how teddy bears and other plush toys are designed and built. How to Make Stuffed Animals was one of the few books about making soft toys (stuffed animals) on Kindle, so I picked it up.
Overall, I was happy with this book. It is short, unassuming, accessible book-wise and material-wise, well illustrated, and with eighteen small yet diverse projects. It taught me the basics of stuffed animal design. Perhaps also important, the techniques are not too challenging, so I think both children and adults should make the cut.
I enjoyed seeing how the animals are designed. The designs are small-scale and require little work, yet include interesting techniques for hiding knots and thread-ends. There are various simple techniques to represent various materials and textures. A few musings: - I was reminded of my own technique for designing 3D objects, when I was still a child and had no computer access at home. (My 3D objects were made out of polystyrene.) I had my side and top views, my combination of items through wire links, etc. - It was interesting to observe how this artist tries to push the boundaries of the cloth artistic medium, albeit the techniques presented here are far less developed, relatively speaking, than Hillberry's pencil-drawing techniques in Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil Drawing Realistic Textures in Pencil. (Comparing apples with pears.)
Last, but not least, I also found interesting the introductory chapter, where the author explains materials and techniques (sewing, stuffing, hand stiches). Who knows, I may start handcrafting stuffed animals after all.
American Born Chinese is a book about the trouble of children of immigrants in a less than accepting society. (Having lived through this situation as...moreAmerican Born Chinese is a book about the trouble of children of immigrants in a less than accepting society. (Having lived through this situation as a young adult, I have strong feelings about this topic.) The main premise of this book is that you can be proud of whoever you are. (The message, that you should be who your ancestors were, is not necessarily to my liking.)
Gene Luen Yang takes the drawtell approach of the graphic novel for this book, and splits the story into three character-based, intertwined branches: Jin Wang is the only Chinese student and one of the few Asians in his school; Chin-Kee is the visiting cousin; Monkey is the rebel guest to the Chinese Parthenon. Each of the three characters is unwelcome: Jin Wang goes through adolescent trouble and cannot adapt, Chin-Kee embodies the stereotypical Chinese student, and Monkey tries to transcend his condition. The relationship between the three characters is comical and novel.
I could not really enjoy this book. Perhaps because it was target at youth, I felt it's content was more suitable to a blog than a story. The message was diluted, and I would have preferred reading a thousand-page, detailed graphical novel.
Overall, good for your kid or for the kid in you. (less)
Though in principle not my cup of tea, this story of the coming of age of two teenage girls from your typical American small-town impressed me for two...moreThough in principle not my cup of tea, this story of the coming of age of two teenage girls from your typical American small-town impressed me for two reasons: it captures wonderfully the hormonal lifestyle of teenagers in a free society, and it creates a touching atmosphere in a medium (comics) that makes this achievement difficult.