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Children's LiteratureThese directions for making small handbags with pizzazz and individuality are concise and well-illustrated. Typical purse designs include a cell-phone carrier, small clutch-sized bags with bead-on-wire handles, coin purses, and funky-shaped shoulder bags. Materials pictured include faux fur, recycled blue jeans pockets, cloth flowers, sock tops, duct tape, and laminated papers of all sorts. Processes include weaving, embroidery, an exploration of various fasteners, and the use of templates. Craft materials are generally introduced in an opening section and then specific needs are repeated before each purse. Even the simplest purses require some purchases (craft glue, fabric paint, cord, clear contact paper, glue-on rhinestones) but clever girls can also use whatever is on hand for many of these projects once they absorb the process and the spirit of design. Colorful actual final products are shown in photographs while directions are drawn and wearers are depicted in elongated fashion drawings that will appeal to middle school would-be designers. It is a good book with which to exercise a developing fashion sense and may even inspire some enterprising group of crafty sorts to begin a small retail business. Sources for ordering special materials are included. 2004, Watson-Guptill, Ages 10 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.