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My First Book of Cutting Review by Dena Wood

Kumon Publishing
Kumon Publishing North America, Inc.
300 Frank W Burr Blvd.
Teaneck, MJ 07666

Kumon is a supplemental education provider offering after-school programs in math and reading at Kumon Centers around the globe. The company, started 50 years ago by Japanese parent/teacher Toru Kumon, has now applied the method utilized in their learning centers to a series of educational workbooks.

My First Book of Cutting is geared for ages 3, 4 and 5 and offers opportunity for your child to practice cutting with scissors and improve manual dexterity. The inside cover offers clear and helpful guidelines to parents regarding the aims and purposes of the book, expectations and instructions for use.

Initial exercises consist of horizontal and vertical straight lines. Fun, colorful pages make the exercises fun. Children will cut out lengths of a train, then tape them together, cut along lines of a flagpole, make a "comb" and more. Next, horizontal lines and corners are introduced, with corners becoming "tighter" with each exercise. Students are shown how to cut in from the edge of the page to reach the area they are wishing to cut out. Curves are the next skill practiced, with your child making rainbows, tunnels, basketballs and more. Finally, your child uses a combination of cutting skills along with a few folds to create 3-D toys like necklaces, cars and flapping dragonflies.

The pages in the workbook are made of high quality, heavy stock, making for easy cutting and handling. I used this book with both my four and six year old and they both enjoyed it, regularly asking me to give them pages to work on. It was quickly evident where their skill levels were and which exercises were still too difficult. My only frustration was in removing the pages from the book. The heavy stock makes it a bit difficult to remove the pages and you can't really cut them as instructed since they are so close to the binding. Running an open scissor along the cut line worked some of the time, but not always. Perforation would have been ideal.

Though I admit that "cutting skills" is probably not an area I would have sought help with initially, the books did advance my children's skills and they greatly enjoyed them. These are fun, high quality books that are a great extra addition to your curriculum.

-Product Review by Dena Wood, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2006