Made by hand A crafts sampler

Carole Lexa Schaefer

Book - 2018

"Combing real historical artifacts with fictional stories, Carole Lexa Schaefer brings each fascinating object to life by imagining the hands that might have made it and those that might have used it." --Dust jacket.

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Schaefer Checked In
Historical fiction
Picture books
Sommerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2018.
First edition
Item Description
Included at the end of the book are photographs, descriptions, and provenance of the real artifacts.
Physical Description
1 volume (unnumbered) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Main Author
Carole Lexa Schaefer (author)
Other Authors
Becca Stadtlander (illustrator)
  • Welcome
  • Terrestrial globe (1810)
  • Candle box (c.1800)
  • Pie crimper (c. 1850)
  • Rocking horse (c1860)
  • Child's sled (1800s)
  • Butter churn (c1850-1875)
  • Sampler (c1798)
  • Bandolier bag (c. mid- to late 1800s)
  • Scrimshaw box (c. 1832-1856)
  • Valentine (c. 1840-1860)
  • Dolls (c. 1840, 1840-1870s, 1950)
  • Weather vane (c1890)
  • Carrying case (1852)
  • Author's note.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Schaefer spotlights 14 handmade objects, crafted between 1798 and 1950, focusing on the circumstances of their creation and use. She details objects ranging from a terrestrial globe to an engraved butter churn to rag dolls crafted by the author. Information about the artists is included where available; for other objects, she fashions a plausible fiction that places the objects into their original setting. Information about the techniques used in creating these one-of-a-kind objects is scarce, particularly in the case of a child's sled from the 1800s, which is accompanied by a description of its use during sugaring season in a Vermont maple grove. Most objects are of white settler origin, although a bandolier bag (Ojibwa, artist unknown) and a tin wallet (African American, Joseph Trammell) are also included. Stadlander's colorful folk-style paintings are rendered in gouache and feature numerous setting details. Spreads are appealingly designed using multiple panels that suggest quilt blocks. Appended with an author's note and further information about each artifact, this will be welcomed by craft devotees. Grades 2-5. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this homage to the handcrafted, Schaefer (the Monkey and Elephant series) uses story vignettes to introduce 14 handmade 19th-century museum pieces from the northern and eastern U.S. Each of the objects, including a hand-painted butter churn and a beaded Ojibwe bag, features in a spread that opens with a poem ("Teck-a-teck, teck./ With a sharp pocketknife,/ seaman's hands CARVE/ a piece of smooth whale ivory"). A partitioned layout includes a lyrical backstory of the object and at least two gouache folk-style illustrations by Stadtlander (Sleep Tight Farm), rendered in a muted earth-toned palette. Close-ups of the crafting process and scenes of families using the finished product evoke a feeling of vibrant everyday activity. While the author provides nonfiction accounts when facts were available ("Carrying Case" describes how a tin wallet used by African-American Joseph Trammell housed papers attesting to his free status in mid-19th-century Virginia), most of the contextualizing tales are historical fiction. This collection illuminates the country's handmade past and offers a challenge to today's tech-tethered readers: "Consider what you might try crafting with your hands in your own time." An author's note and photo index of the items conclude the book. Ages 8–12. (Oct.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A picture book introduction to 14 one-of-a-kind objects made by historical crafters and artisans invites children to marvel at the time and skill that went into creating such handmade examples as a pie crimper, a butter churn and a rocking horse.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Combing real historical artifacts with fictional stories, Carole Lexa Schaefer brings each fascinating object to life by imagining the hands that might have made it and those that might have used it." --Dust jacket.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Presents a series of brief sketches inspired by hand-made items--chiefly from the nineteeth century and now found in museums--that spotlight life in the days when nearly everything was made by hand, including a sampler and a scrimshaw box.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume invites readers to marvel at the time, effort, and care that went into creating handmade toys, tools, and treasures of the past.Whirr, buzz, hum. Before busy machines in factories turned out most of what we need and use, people crafted these items by hand. From a globe to a pie crimper, a butter churn to a rocking horse, this unique collection highlights fourteen one-of-a-kind objects — each one drafted, stitched, painted, or engraved by hand. Author Carole Lexa Schaefer draws inspiration from real historical artifacts to create thirteen short works of fiction, imagining the hands that might have made and used each item. Several artifacts can be traced to their origin, while others remain complete mysteries, making for a fascinating patchwork of fact, guesswork, and imagination. Illustrator Becca Stadtlander breathes color and charm into this handmade history, bringing to life the different objects, people, and times. The result is a singular glimpse of everyday objects and treasures alike — back when such things were made by hand.