Book Review (+ Competition!): 'Paper Play' by Lydia Crook

cover-of-activity-book
‘Paper Play’ by Lydia Crook – which accessorises nicely with our table cloth!

What a lucky girl Little Lewes is! Ivy Press have given me a couple of books to review with my boys – the first of which is ‘Paper Play’ by Lydia Crook.

And this is my first social media competition, too. If you like the sound of the book, share this review on Twitter or Facebook (there are buttons at the bottom of this post), making sure you mention @LittleLewes on Twitter or Little Lewes on Facebook. You’ll be entered into a competition to win a copy of your very own. See the end of the post for details.

Ivy are publishers of beautiful art books. Appropriately, they’re based in Lewes.

childs-colouring-of-activity-book
The die numbered and half-coloured, but yet to be cut out, folded and stuck together

It seems best to publish this review as the days shorten and the sky clouds to grey. We’re getting back to thinking about what on earth we did during that last long winter.

Activity books like this are a godsend when cooped up with children because they’re instant and sometimes the set-up and brain ache of a craft activity is just best left in the art drawer. Am I right?

childs-drawing-of-flower-on-bookmark
A brown-and-green-flower-design bookmark for his Tin Tin books

Having said this, in the past I’ve found some activity books are a bit lacking. They involve a lot of colouring (which I don’t think is all that creative). Or copying. Or stickers. Or lots of art supplies we don’t have (and I am loathe to buy when engagement levels with my older son vary wildly from day to day).

Either one of the above OR they are very geared towards boys or girls with everything coloured coded in blue or pink. Bleugh. Let it be known that I’m really not keen on this for our kids’ generation. I recently saw an activity book called ‘Sticker Dolly Dressing Weddings‘ in a bookshop. Um, what?!

make-a-paper-town-page-from-activity-book
A whole page of colouring, then cutting, then constructing begins with the traffic lights
paper-town-with-toy-cars
His paper town – A.K.A. Radiator Springs – complete with trees

Anyway, not Crook’s book. It’s an inspiration in black and white. And you don’t need a lot of gear to do the projects inside it. For most* of the projects you just need glue, scissors and felt tips. That’s it.

paper-finger-puppet-and-felt-pen
An as-yet-legless finger puppet waiting for some colour

The book is actually aimed at children aged seven and up, but my contact at Ivy pointed out that there are plenty of activities that younger children can take part in.

make-a-crumpled-ball
Making a crumpled ball… One of the easier activities but also one that my boy enjoyed immensely!

What we did:

  • Cut out and created our own die
  • Coloured in and cut out a bookmark
  • Constructed and coloured a paper town
  • Made puppets to put our fingers through (which became legs) – and then played finger football with them
  • Created a crumpled paper ball to throw around

Engagement time: A whole hour!

My verdict: Easy to use. Simply designed. Excellently simple instructions. Refreshingly unisex.

His verdict: “I liked making a town for my ‘Cars’ cars. I liked making a bookmark for my Tin Tin book.” (My hope is that as we do more of these, he’ll get the gist of what makes a good comment. This one’s bogstandardness should not be taken as a reflection on the book!).

punch-a-page
None of us condones hitting do we? Unless it’s this page…

Things we haven’t done but will do:

  • Make some ‘terrific tops
  • Try the ‘punch-through-this-page‘ activity
  • Fashion some mini paper flags
  • Make the water bomb (yes really! Out of paper!)
  • Create the secret pocket and put some of our secrets in it
make-apaper-flower-activity
Moving on from the ‘Make a Paper Flower’ activity – too tricky…

Things we won’t do as they’re beyond him (but would like to):

  • The tearing challenge where you tear neatly around some shapes
  • The paper dolls, as they’re too detailed for him to cut round
  • The paper flower and paper rose (a bit hard for him)
  • The Paper Play Champion’s trophy at the end of the book (because it’s mega fiddly!)

My kid’s a champ anyway for the things he managed, especially as he’s officially too young for the book. But Lydia’s a super-champ for creating something that engaged him for a whole hour!

paper-play-champion-page
Hurrah! Everyone’s a champ, however much paper playing they do

To win your own copy of Paper Play:

Share this post on Facebook mentioning ‘Little Lewes’ (and selecting it as a link) in the accompanying comment OR

Tweet the link to the post (follow @LittleLewes and be sure to mention it in the tweet) OR

Retweet one of the tweets I write about it, making sure to follow @LittleLewes in the process!

Little Lewes will end up with a list of all the shares from which to select the winner at random on Friday 18 October. Ivy will send the book out to them in time for the start of half term.

‘Paper Play’ by Lydia Crook is published by Ivy Kids with a RRP of £9.99.

Please note: this competition is only open to UK residents. If you have any questions about it, please email me through the Contact section of Little Lewes.

Disclosure: I contacted Ivy Press about reviewing books for them as I thought it would be a good fit for Little Lewes (and of course nice for my children and I!). They are a local publisher and they do some great children’s books. I select the books we are going to review based on my children’s age (one and five at the time of posting) and interests. I absolutely always aim for unisex books. Ivy kindly gives a copy of each book we review to us to make a mess of, and sends a fresh copy to the winning Little Lewes reader. In return Ivy widely shares each review via its social media accounts. I have not been offered, nor have I accepted, any financial compensation for this or any of my future reviews for Ivy Press.

* For some you need string, paint, a twig/kebab skewer, a pencil…

Posted by

I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

4 thoughts on “Book Review (+ Competition!): 'Paper Play' by Lydia Crook

    1. Hi Siobhan, thanks for your comment – you reminded me to check and add it! It’s £9.99. It’s a really nice book and would make a brilliant gift. Kate x

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