I didn’t think we could do it, but they came out awesome! Granted, I was the one doing most of the gluing, but the kids were so totally excited to have an actual “Monster Book of Monsters” that they didn’t seem to care. When I made my sample, I was so proud of myself and showed my staff and several mom’s in the Children’s Room. All of whom stared at me blankly, as they had never seen the movie that portrays the book. And none of them had even read the books! Horrified, I went upstairs to the adult floor, where I found the praise I felt I deserved 😉
A bit of history…. (via the Harry Potter Wiki)
“The Monster Book of Monsters, by Edwardus Lima, is a particularly vicious textbook that is used in Care of Magical Creatures while Rubeus Hagrid(who thought the book’s aggressive nature was funny) was the teacher. The book will attack anyone who attempts to open it. The only way to subdue the book is to stroke its spine, upon which the book opens placidly. After incidents in which the books attacked each other, the manager of Flourish and Blotts vowed never to stock them again; he found the situation to be worse than when an entire stock of The Invisible Book of Invisibility disappeared. When students brought this book to Hogwarts for Rubeus Hagrid‘s Care of Magical Creatures class, they had to force the books shut with belts and Spello-tape because they didn’t know how to calm the books.”
Anyways, it wasn’t as difficult to make as I had originally anticipated. The craft came from my trusty Unofficial Harry Potter Party Book. As you can see, the Monster Book of Monsters is featured on the cover.
The book calls for a few things that I did not end up using. It said to use a wooden craft “book” box but I didn’t have enough money to buy these, especially as I don’t have a signup so I don’t know how many kids will be there. I decided to go into the book sale room and “borrow” a few very old books* that were about the right size and thickness. This worked out really well.
Items I bought:
– Brown craft fur
– that Crayola foamy modeling clay that air dries – can’t think of the right name for it – in white, red & black
Other items we had:
– old books
– cotton balls or cotton batting
– glue gun & plenty of glue sticks (we went through a fair few for this one)
– scissors (for cutting the craft fur to fit the book cover & and for “trimming” the monster’s hair later)
I plugged in the glue guns before the club started. I have one larger “hot” one and 2 smaller low-heat ones. Some of the older kids in the group have permission to use the low-heat ones, but most just let me do it. The kids picked out an old book from the bin and I gave them some of the white foam clay. They made the 2 long fangs first and attached them to the top cover. Then they took a small handful of cotton batting and placed it on the cover between the 2 fangs. Using the glue gun, we put glue all over the top book cover (including over the fangs and the cotton and then laid the craft fur down over it. The cotton batting adds a little bump for a “snout.” (I measured the books to the sheet of craft fur beforehand, so I knew they would all fit with a minor amount of trimming.)
Then we flipped it over and put glue on the spine and back cover, laying the rest of the fur down. Then the kids got some more white foam clay** for more smaller teeth and red for the top and bottom gums. They fashioned these and then I glued them to the top and bottom of the “mouth.” The last step was using the black foam clay to make little round balls for eyes and glue them above the snout, sort of nestled into the fur.
*A note about the old books: I didn’t realize this until right before the meeting started, but when I was choosing old books from the book sale room, I was looking for size and not content. They were older, adult novels and it didn’t occur to me that even when the craft was finished, the kids would be able to open the book (so the monster can “chomp”) and therefore be able to read the text. I tried to quickly scan the books and pulled out a few that looked sketchy. I did try to warn the parents when they picked up the kids about my oversight so they would at least be aware. They didn’t seem to mind too much. I think they were just happy that they had just had 45 minutes to themselves and their kids were happy! (A possible solution to this would be to glue the pages shut or to use an old belt to put around the book, just like Harry did in the movie.)
**FYI: The book actually calls for Sculpy and baking the teeth and gums before gluing. However, I do not have access to an oven at the library, so I like to use this foamy clay because it air-dries. You can glue a portion down even if it isn’t dry yet and then move it if you need to. My sample teeth dried and were fine the next day.
All in all, they turned out pretty cool and the kids had a blast. Things got slightly out of control when balls of foamy clay mysteriously flew at me, and when I left to get my camera, the kids had disappeared (hiding under the tables.) But we have yet another Harry Potter artifact to add to our collections.