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Binding Books Beautifully Kit Review by Cindy West

By Lisa Cannon
Binding Books Beautifully
4040 Reynolds
Malabar, Florida 32950


Do your children enjoy writing? Might they be inspired to write more seriously if you told them their writing would be turned into real bound books? This kit will help you make bound books a reality while at the same time creating lovely keepsakes that you can proudly display on your bookshelves.

It's not just a book binding set, though! In the complete kit, you will receive:

•  a wooden binding tool and accompanying hardware

•  2 book boards

•  an illustrated how-to booklet

•  a CD-ROM that includes the Binding Books Beautifully Manual and a creative writing curriculum

•  a 55-minute DVD workshop demonstrating how to use the book binding tool and offering many creative ideas

Throughout the spiral-bound booklet, the CD-ROM, and the DVD, you'll receive illustrated instruction in how to use the binding tool (along with your own fabric and story paper) to bind sturdy books at home. The final products have a homemade quality to them, but are still sturdy enough to be read and reread for years to come.

Also included are ideas for writing books with children. Mrs. Cannon doesn't just give you the tools to create books; she supplies you with a wealth of ideas for book topics that will surely intrigue your children. Biographies, fiction, art showcases, family remembrances and many other topics are explained with many prompts to spark young minds.

The booklet and CD-ROM essentially cover the same material, with the CD-ROM including some extra ideas. Making interesting grammar choices, transitioning through stories, and extra ideas for book topics are some of the bonus materials on the CD-ROM. It also includes 12 writing lessons appropriate for 3 rd grade and older. In the lessons, your child will evaluate other writers for usage of creative writing techniques such as alliteration, onomatopoeia, and metaphors. He will use these examples to use creative writing techniques in his own writing. Other lessons include steps for writing a book report, including dialogue in writing, and first, second, and third-person viewpoints.

The CD-ROM is my choice over the booklet simply because it includes the extra instruction. On the other hand, it's a tad frustrating to use since there is no page click option and the printing capability is locked. You literally have to scroll down page by page in order to find what you need, and you cannot print even the lesson pages when you need them. The author has included her email address and is willing to unlock the files for you, but this step shouldn't be necessary in my opinion.

The DVD includes a live workshop that teaches you how to use the equipment and gives you visual examples of books the author's children have completed. I was very interested in the workshop, which apparently lasts 55 minutes, but I was unable to finish watching it because of its quality. After about the first ten minutes of blips, skips, and poor sound quality, my DVD player spit the DVD out and wouldn't let me continue watching it.

Overall, the book binding tools and written lessons are very useful. I'm sure the company will work out its bumps, which will make the program not only useful but user-friendly as well.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2011