Matthew Mead is a designer, crafter and theme cookbook writer with a great eye. You expect a book from him to be attractive with good photos and ideas, and this is a great example.
Done being all grown up now. It's DC SUPER HEROES! It's old school. None of this New 52 stuff, none of the angst of the 90s, it's Dick Grayson's Robin in green shorts with elf boots, it's the heroes you remember from Super Friends on Saturday mornings if your my age. It's retro and it's awesome. Of course, I'm biased. I grew up on DC comics.
So what does my daughter say about the look? She's Batman the Animated Series, she's Nightwing and all about the modern comics. She likes it, she grabbed this as soon as it arrived and gave it her seal of approval.
See? Right there. Her seal of approval.
So it looks great. The bright colors and layout are fantastic and I'm totally digging the retro thing. The whole book is in full color with tons of super hero goodness. So now about the recipes.
I have a fairly good collection of children's cookbooks, and what I look for is easy to prepare food, healthy choices, good safety tips, foods that will appeal to kids, and something that will teach them how to follow recipes and learn new skills.
This is well done in that respect too, the recipes are rated by difficulty level, and that's explained in the introduction. So a from scratch pudding is rated 3 stars because it involves more skill. The pudding is Plastic Man's Pudding and one of my daughter's favorite recipes in the book because it's white chocolate and vanilla decorated to suit Plastic Man. The Kapow Punch is 1 star because it's very simple to make, but the glasses are cleverly masked to look like the Boy Wonder and the Caped Crusader.
Healthy entrees include things like Seven Seas Saute which is a mix that grown ups will enjoy too, and features a nice amount of vegetables. The bright Plastic Man fettuccine has peppers for color and a fun, play with your food texture.
There are a lot of recipes for drinks and desserts, but also enough meal recipes to balance it out.
Where this book absolutely shines is in the decorating ideas. In the back of the book are card stock figures and stencils to use to decorate the food, and a lot of recipes that use food- like the Superman burger on the cover, or things like duct tape to create a super hero theme.
The heroes include all the classics, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and the Flash and some that you need to be more serious fan to know like Plasticman, Atom and Firestorm.
Do I recommend this? Absolutely. It's one of the best themed cookbooks I've ever seen, even when I put aside my total comic book love and consider the recipes.
Full disclosure- I got a copy of this cookbook to review at no cost. This review reflects my honest opinion of the book.
Fuller disclosure- My family is full of comic book fans with a strong preference for DC. We can spend hours talking your ear off about the personalities of the different Robins, or why Aquaman is actually awesome, and you never want to get us started on Batman because we can talk about him forever. I have Wonder Woman sneakers and my husband has a huge collection of super hero comic shirts.
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Congratulations to Susan, the winner of the Origami Flowers giveaway. I hope you're enjoying the book!
Kodansha is a Japanese publisher with a US division for great translations and I'll get back to this review in a second, I'm kind of lost in their website.... Oh, I need The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving, and my husband might like one of the sword books, and my kids love manga.. oh SHINY! Clothes, embroidery and textile.. need to get back to the review...
Ok, I'm back now, it's just awfully distracting. How long did it take you to stop browsing the link and come back to read the review?
Felt mascots, toys appliques and accessories, all of them super cute. The projects are wonderfully photographed. Like a lot of Japanese craft books, the first part of the book is photos of items, with the instructions in the back of the book. Page numbers are given on the photos to find the instructions.
The photos are adorable. They are captioned and done on good backgrounds to show them at their best. It takes minimal supplies to make them. Craft felt for beginning sewers is an economical choice, then switching to wool felt for a higher quality finished item when you're comfortable with the hand stitching.
So with this book, before you start a project, read the tips at the END of the book. They will show
how to do the stitches including the embroidery accents
tell you what kind of supplies to use
how to use a wire armature,
how to use the patterns
how to stuff the toys
The projects are good for a wide range of skills. There are some very easy applique projects, coasters and pouches which are perfect for beginners. They are whimsical and sweet. The Happy Coasters include a fish, a frog face and a chick, with easy embroidered accents. You might like to make the pouches and eyeglass cases as gifts.
A little more complicated are the lightly stuffed but still mostly flat Face Brooches, which are a bunch of cute animals and can be made with small scraps, the finger puppets and the charms which are strung with beads into darling hanging curtains. My favorite of those types of projects is the Little Forest Birds charms because it reminds me of the felt ornaments my Great-Aunt Elizabeth made.
The most complicated are the fully dimensional stuffed toys. These are more of a challenge because it's a small scale, but they are made using the same basic stitches, just more parts to create things like a giraffe, elephant or posable retro dolls that look like they came right off the set of an old stop motion movie. There are also dolls like Miss Kitty from the cover that have a full wardrobe you can sew for them.
Some of the patterns you'll copy out of the book, the more involved patterns are printed on the inside of the dust jacket.
The diagrams in the instructions are clear and show how to put the items together.
This is a lovely book, and a must for anyone who really enjoys Japanese crafts.
Kodansha USA gave me an extra copy to give to one of my readers! Giveaway is open to people in the USA only because of shipping costs. a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.