Wednesday, March 9, 2011

February's Down and Dirty Book

If getting down and dirty is something you're looking to do Mud Works is definitely the book for you. Even though it was written for adults the recipes are designed to be able to be made and used with kids. However, since there’s just something about digging your hands into slimy, squishy, gooy blobs that never gets old it's a book adults can enjoy as well.

One night I was having friends over for dinner but hadn't had a chance to make dessert, so I whipped up a batch of edible peanut butter play-dough, which is one part peanut butter and one part dried milk. When I first put the bowl down on the coffee table everyone just stared at it, but everyone ended up having a blast making and eating dessert sculptures.

However, I prefer the recipes that can be used in model making because I can incorporate them into my writing processes. I like making models of my character and settings, and the recopies make it easy for me to whip up a model when I’m having problems visualizing something. Also each recipe comes with a little blurb about what it works best for, so I can easily find the perfect recipe for my intended purpose.

There’s also something to be said about the recipes I make for my students. After making “goo,” which is about three parts corn starch and one part water, I spent the better part of the day finding excuses to play with it. I had almost as much fun with it as my students did, and it was a great way for them to practice their spelling words. The Jell-O plastic, which is 1 packet of gelatin and 3 tablespoons of water, was also a fun one as it progressively changed from liquid to squishy solid to hard solid. The kids loved the way it felt when it was squishy and turning it into stained glass art using permanent markers once it was solid.

Even though it’s a book that’s designed to be experienced as opposed to just read I’d still recommend Mud Works to anyone who’s a kid at heart, regardless of whether or not you have kids.


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