This is going to be a pretty straightforward review, I'll skip most of the intro since the book did a great job in covering the basics, from the introduction (you'll get to know more about Ms. Cryan and her background), to the tools needed, all the way to tips and techniques.
For the purpose of this review, I'll be using the the word "papercraft" to refer to the Paper Sculptures.
Who is Mary Beth Cryan and why should I buy her book?
Mary Beth Cryan is an award-winning freelance illustrator and paper engineer, she won the prestigious Louie Awards back in 2008 (aka International Greeting Card Awards Competition, aka the Oscars of the greeting card industry) for a piece she created for the Museum of Modern Art NYC - that alone speaks volumes about the quality of work that you'll be seeing in this papercraft kit.
What is Winter Wonderland and what do I do with it?
The sweet and short of it, Winter Wonderland is a cute and affable collection of winter-themed papercrafts (12 in all). These 12 papercrafts can be used as either a stand alone (on your desk, bookshelf, TV topper/sitter, etc.) or as a hanging ornament (Christmas Tree, Rear view mirror, etc.).
What's in the Box?
Before we go in let's start with the box itself, it's a gorgeous looking piece of art. Nicely constructed using high quality cardboard, it's very sturdy and covered with Twilight snow ^^. The design on the front (same one for the cover of the book) is a fun cheery piece of vector art.
It's 144 pages (printed front-and-back) and uses 15-loop double "wire-comb" binding. The dimensions are 8" x 8" x 1cm thick. The pages are printed on high quality paper, the graphics and photos stand out and text are easy to read. In the book are 12 of the most affable winter-themed papercrafts you'll ever see - from a Scrappy Squirrel, to a Chilly Snowman, and even a Hooting Owl.
Each of the 12 papercrafts come with an assembled photo so you'll see what it's suppose to look like, a little bit of intro, and a step-by-step visual guide to help you put it together. Templates start on page 92 and run all the way to the end - these are actually your back-up copies. When you want to do more, just scan or photocopy them.
The Templates (Separate)
Beside the templates printed in the book, there's another set (all 12 papercrafts) included. These ones (IMO) are the Pièce de résistance, something that beginners and even experienced papercrafters would love. These templates are:
1. Pre-punched / perforated - just gently push the pieces out and they'll pop right off.
2. Pre-scored - every line you'll see is already creased for you, all you need to decide is wether it's a mountain or valley ^^.
With these templates, Ms. Cryan has thoughtfully taken out the time consuming process of cutting / scoring and has left you focusing more on the joys of assembly (gluing required of course). So to reiterate, you pop-em out, fold them, and glue - that's it, easy peasy.
If you're looking for hi-res versions of the photos above, head on to Paperkraft.net's Flickr page to see them.
A definite Must Buy, you buy one or two for yourself and buy a bunch for your friends and family. At $14.95 the price is absolutely palatable (a steal even) and would make an excellent gift this winter season. I actually think it's under priced, the quality alone warrants a $19.95 price tag but is priced lower at $14.95 (as of this writing, it is available at Barnes & Noble for $8.22 - I suggest you grab as many as you can ^^).
Sterling Publishing was generous enough to give us an extra copy of Winter Wonderland to giveaway to a lucky Paperkraft.net reader, all you have to do is leave your name and email on the comments below and you're in (alternatively, you can put your Facebook Profile URL if you have one). Deadline for entries is Nov. 14, 2010, we'll do the drawing the next day.
Winter Wonderland : Charming Winter Paper Sculptures for Parties, Holidays, and Home Decor by Mary Beth Cryan and published by Fall River Press (an imprint of Sterling Publishing). ISBN: 1435119576. Retails for $14.95 USD. A copy of the book was sent to me by the publisher for reviewing purposes.