Day 25, book 25: Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio

When you were a kid, were you a crafter? I was not. I would’ve been the type of kid who wanted to dump out everything from inside the crazy craft box so I could give it a good vacuum, and then put it all back, arranged according to colour or size or function. Unfortunately, I was a kid too concerned about making things perfect to be a free-spirited crafter. (Let’s pause here to sigh for the Elf’s lost youth). Now Beth, one of my two best friends in Grade 3, always seemed to be making stuff. When Beth showed off something homemade, it was cool. I was intrigued. Her Halloween costumes were legendary. Beth’s handmade stuff made making things seem almost like magic to me, out of reach, something reserved only for a special few. Beth had “it.” I did not. This hole in my childhood experience probably explains my reaction whenever I wander into an art supply store. I stand there, in front of the little bricks of rainbow Fimo and tiny tubes of paint and shiny tins of watercolour pencil crayons in every shade a girl could dream, of and I think, But not for me…

Things might have turned out differently, oh so differently, if only Crafty Chloe had been around when I was seven. Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Heather Ross, celebrates individuality, ingenuity, googly eyes, and glitter. Chloe loves making stuff, and it’s one thing she’s really good at. She makes flowers out of coffee filters and one of a kind clothes for her dog and she believes that “anything becomes less boring with googly eyes on it.” So when she goes shopping for her friend Emma’s party and another girl nabs the present she was planning on getting, Chloe plays it cool. “I’m going to make her something special that you can’t even buy in a store,” she says. Turns out it’s easier said than done, but after a little hard work and some serious crafting skill, Chloe makes something amazing.

Things I love about Crafty Chloe:

  • Chloe reminds me of Clementine, including her kooky family and her orange curls
  • Her dog Bert has quite the repertoire of doggy facial expressions
  • Chloe’s rival is named London (can you say princess?) and her little dog is clearly evil
  • The phone number on the rent-a-pony truck parked at the curb for Emma’s birthday party is, “1-800-FAT-PONY”
  • Ross’s illustrations are cheery and fabulous, bright and dynamic
  • Chloe rises to the occasion at the end of the story when grace is required, and this seems entirely true to her nature, not neat-and-tidy and forced

I’ll just say it. I don’t think I’d change a thing here. This story, and Chloe, will skip straight into your heart and make you want to pull out that box of macaroni and design yourself a statement necklace. Who says it’s too late to embrace my inner crafter? (And if I’m really stuck, I can always head to craftychloe.com for some cool craft ideas, step by step, just the way I like it).

Crafty Chloe is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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