PopLurker would like to thank Viz Media for providing us with review copies of Pompom Pokemon by Sachiko Susa and Felt Animals by Yoshinobu.
I received a press release from Viz Media with exciting news; they were translating two stunning crafting books directly from Japanese to add to their publishing catalog. The first, a book on how to make Pokemon characters out of yarn pompoms. The second, a book about felt animals and how readers can create this gorgeous creations on their own.
Half art book. Half how-to. Me 100% ready for action.
Stop looking at me like that.
Immediately, my mind began to create a world filled with delightful crafting parties. I called up my older sister, who has four beautiful (and photogenic) stepchildren and asked if I could borrow them for my crafting needs. Imagine the scenario– four adorable children, eating pizza and M&Ms provided by their Auntie Loryn, sitting at a picturesque wooden table that I scored for a very good price with pompoms, glue, and other crafting tools around their little hands. I would snap pictures of them and their hard work, and through the magic of photography and time lapse, we would create an Instagram worthy universe where children still make art so I don’t have to. Because for real– crafting and I just aren’t friends.
So when the two books arrived at the same time, a feeling of…something…overwhelmed me as I cracked the books open to see what these kids would be up against. My stomach sank.
WOW. Neither of these books are for beginners.
Let me interrupt myself by saying this; these two books are gorgeous. They are packed to the brim with just some of the most unbelievable photography I’ve ever seen in my life. Pompom Pokemon is bright and cheerful. When I flip through the pages, it’s just filled with the cutest little Pokemon creations made with yarn and truthfully, I want to fill my bed with these tiny little cutsie-bootsie squishy muffin tiny little pudding creations and live in a world where I can crown myself queen of the pompom Pokemon and drink wine and eat cheese and be happy in a world without rules or politics.
As for Felt Animals? You wouldn’t even know those aren’t real animals in those photographs at first glance. If you put a hardcover on this book, it would be a bonafide coffee table book. I truthfully don’t even know if the instructions on how to construct these creations is even necessary. I’m getting off hard enough on the fact that these felt creatures are posed as though they were real and oh my god, those aren’t even alive, are they?!?!
Both of these books have one thing in common– they are difficult to follow. The preexisting crafting skill needed in order to create these Pocket Monsters and felt animals are absolutely insane. Because I know of my artistic limitations, I’ve cracked the pages open for two different people. One, a professional artist. The other, a crafty person. Both of their faces shifted in the same way, eyes widened, and their color paled a little.
If there are artists out there with the caliber to recreate the Pokemon and felt animals on these pages, they could literally make money off of them at a convention. Seriously, just stick these things on your booth or table, because they’ll sell like meat during the apocalypse. Now, let me point out that these books do not claim themselves to be “how-to” or beginner’s guides. They are simply crafting books.
But because of the publisher, Viz Media, who generally produces content for the Teen through Young Adult demographic (judging by the manga they typically release) these two books come through as a little lost. I’m not sure who the target audience for these books are (I mean, Pokemon is loved by kids through adults by now because of its longevity), so there’s really no right or wrong answer. But with the amount of poking, snipping, tucking, gluing, needling, and other crafting skills needed to correctly produce the art in both of these books, I’m led to believe they are targeted at adults who have some sort of artistic capabilities and can make sense of the instructions that look like Trigonometry.
So, sorry kids’ crafting party. It’s not going to happen.
At least not with me at the helm.
I give Pompom Pokemon 4/5 stars. 5/5 for adorableness. 3/5 for user approachability.
I give Felt Animals 4/5 stars. 5/5 for the gorgeous pictures and photography. 2.5/5 for being a book any average person could follow.
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