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Children's LiteratureWho wants to make a swan when you can make an ostrich? With 14 jungle animals to choose from, Duy Nguyen breaks the rules of traditional origami, which is construction by folding only, and encourages budding origamists to cut, glue and color as the creation dictates. "After all," he writes, "a zebra without stripes is just a horse!" After a brief introduction, the book explains the basic folds that will be used throughout the book. Next come step-by-step instructions for the individual animals, which include a vulture, hyena, hippopotamus, giraffe, gorilla, lion, wildebeest, water buffalo, gazelle, orangutan, zebra, ostrich and elephant. A good grasp of spatial relationships will be extremely helpful, for although the directions are illustrated, beginners are likely to get confused at some point. It's difficult for many to imagine flat diagrams as three-dimensional objects, and the book tends to err on the side of sketchy directions. Also, because the basic folds are all explained at the beginning, the terms defined ("valley fold") are then merely repeated in the individual directions. This requires frequent referencing for inexperienced folders still unfamiliar with the vocabulary. The book is a visual treat, however, with pictures of finished origami figures in natural settings, occasionally sharing the stage with their live counterparts. For origamists who have had a bit of practice, a folding safari awaits. 2003, Sterling Publishing, Ages 8 up.
— Diane Frook