Wendi Gratz spends her time designing sewing, quilting, and embroidery patterns especially for beginners. Her daughter, Jo, got her first sewing machine when she was four and has been sewing toys and clothes for herself and her dolls ever since. They reside in North Carolina.
While not specifically titled as such, Gratz's book is a bit of a "learn to sew" book for children, presenting sewing skills in a logical way for young beginners. From pinning fabrics to threading a needle, she and co-author Jo, her young daughter, lead readers on to stuffed creatures that employ various sewing techniques: Mr. Roboto uses freezer paper and fabric markers, while Harry the Round-Bellied Bear will teach children how to sew a curved seam on a stuffed animal. Wendi's personality comes through - "Get a real sewing machine, not a toy," she insists - in a way that makes a nice change from the anonymity of other craft book authors. The book's design is busy, with lots of tips and graphic details stuffed onto each page. Less bothersome are the delightfully amateur-looking finished softies in the photographs; it's clear that real kids made these, which should provide ample inspiration without intimidation for young crafters. Full-color photos. Publishers Weekly, September 2, 2013 Creature Camp is a book that is written for children by Wendi and her daughter Jo. It's a book of sewing basics focusing on creating fun stuffed creatures, and it's suitable for new or experienced sewists ages 9 and up. It's kid-tested and approved, because all of the sewing was done by 11-year-old Jo and her friends. Amazing!...So now let's talk about this a little more from a grown-up perspective. This is what I love: 1. Creature Camp teaches basic skills simply, and it applies to both kids and adults. 2. Creature Camp has all kinds of great ideas for things you can make for kids...or for yourself! 3. Creature Camp gives you a way to pass on a skill to your children. 4. Creature Camp presents patterns for sewn toys AND it suggests ways to make each project your own. 5. Creature Camp is a great way for kids to be able to make things for gifts (think holidays coming up!). 6. Creature Camp creates an opportunity for you to spend time with your kids. 7. Creature Camp and Wendi Gratz (Jo too!) are awesome. With Christmas coming, I can't think of a more perfect book for kids and grown-ups alike. There is just so much cuteness that needs to be stitched and gifted! Wild Olive Blog, 11/25/13 My 11 year old son has always enjoyed sewing. I tend to have a hard time finding him easy sewing projects that aren't geared for girls. Creature Camp was the perfect solution for him to be creative, and feel like he was making something cool! Creature Camp has 18 easy projects that teach you how to make stuffed animals. Step by step instructions that are easy to understand and get started (with parental guidance). New at sewing? This book is great for adults to learn to sew and make small little cuddly creatures for their kids, grandkids and learn great skills while doing it. Learn to sew buttons, turn corners, attach zippers and more in a variety of creatures. The book gives many examples and suggestions to help get your imagination started. The book starts from easiest project and gets harder as you progress. My son wanted to make the stuffed teddy bear. I love that you can easily use a fat quarter and get started on this. I could simply print off the pattern pages and we had our template. If you purchase the paper copy you can make xerox copy for your pattern. I would have loved to feel this book in my hands and flip through it. I really enjoyed the ebook version, but I tend toward being in love with paper versions more. I thought for his first creature, this bear came out great! Jubilee Reviews, 1/9/14