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Erin Freuchtel-Dearing

1970 Broad Street
East Petersburg, PA 17520

Natural Wooden Toys is a book for parents interested in making wooden toys. Erin Freuchtel-Dearing is a mom of two children who began making toys for her children in an effort to make sure that the toys were safe. All of the toys presented in this book are made from wood and inspire imaginative play.

Freuchtel-Dearing takes the reader through all the steps necessary to create a quality product. She begins with how to select wood, transfer patterns, and create the wood pieces. Then, she proceeds to show you how to paint the toys. Each page of the book is full of colorful photographs and the painting section is superb. Fifteen pages are dedicated to creating natural stains from plants or other food based dyes. The color descriptions are amazing. One page shows the difference between the various greens obtained from spinach, dandelion, and oregano. Following painting, the book details how to polish and care for the finished pieces. The last two-thirds of the book are dedicated to different themes of toys from fairytale to forest, farm, sea, and city.   Each of the themed chapters has several projects, including patterns to create an entire play set related to the theme.

Wooden toys are typically associated with Waldorf settings, but I believe that every child should have access to natural toys that inspire creativity and imaginative play. Not only are wooden toys long-lasting and beautiful to look at, but their texture is so much nicer in the hand than plastic. Natural Wooden Toys is a comprehensive beginner's book for making beautiful wooden toys for children. If you have access to a scroll saw, have children whom you desire to play with imaginative toys, and if you have a little bit of time, this book would be a great tool.

Product Review by Marisa Corless, MH, The Old Schoolhouse ® Magazine, LLC, February, 2012

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