If you’ve ever wanted your own army of monsters that you’ve had some hand in making, but don’t want to create from scratch, Papertoy Monsters is a great option. Turn two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional creatures by punching out shapes, folding and gluing them and then taking over the world. You can pack your army with the scary monsters (such as Confetti Yeti or Nishwyndym), the cute ones (such as Lili or Cubetto) or even the strange ones (such as Tongue Toastie or The Experiment).
These aren’t just pop ’em out and glue them kind of things. Well, they are, but there is a lot of gluing and folding. There are many tabs (some have more than two dozen), many folds, but it’s incredible how something just minutes before was a flat piece of paper is now a complicated sculpture of maximum monsterness. The designers of these creatures did a great job creating a variety of figures.
Each monster comes complete with details such as what type of monster it is, where it is from, a brief physical description and a list of abilities. Each also has a backstory that you can read to aid in your world domination. More importantly, though, there are step-by-step directions which instruct you on when to punch out each piece and what tab to glue to what.
The punch-out pages are made from good cardstock, printed on both sides, with the page itself perforated so you can tear it out. Everything is clearly marked and labeled, with numbers and scored fold lines. Some creature pages are better scored than others, however.
I’m really glad the pieces are all perforated. Cutting everything with scissors would have made it much less fun, and might keep kids from trying it on their own. But it is still paper, so you have to take care in punching things out, especially the pointy bits and thin sections. An X-acto knife would be a helpful tool for a few of the monsters.
For the gluing part, I used glue stick. For most of parts I needed to glue, glue stick worked very well. It was easy to apply, and you didn’t have to hold it in place very long before it was dry enough for you to let go. Some of the spots required regular glue, though (namely the cone horns on Mega Larb – see photo). When you’re not able to create pressure from both sides, something stronger and oozier than glue stick is sometimes required. And on some of the other creatures, I more than once had to use a pencil eraser or other tool to push from one side.
Tip: Pay attention to the directions, and glue in the designated order. You may need to glue several tabs at once. I didn’t realize this one time and had a hard time getting glue stick to the next couple of tabs.
Papertoy Monsters contains 50 monsters to make plus 10 blank templates to design your own monsters (based on 10 of the 50). Inside the front and back cover are a handy pictorial index of the 50 monsters so you can easily choose what to make at a glance. I also found that the number of numbered tabs a monster has is a good indication of the difficulty. The higher the number, the more difficult. Of the monsters I made, Abagon (the dragon-like creature in the photo) was by far the most difficult and time consuming. But none were beyond my abilities. You just have to use a little care. And when you’re done, a few of them can double as finger puppets!
While straight forward, these aren’t monsters for small kids to assemble. Many of the monsters have quite a large number of folds or tabs, and the patience, care and dexterity needed for gluing them in the right place and holding them is beyond what very small kids can do. Kids can play with the results, however. And older kids (I’m thinking age 10 and over) can help assemble the monsters.
With today being Papertoy Monster Day, check out the special features on the Papertoy Monsters Tumblr site. There is a funny video, a (Facebook) quiz to see which monster you are, new monsters to download or you can even submit pictures of your own Papertoy Monsters.
I can see using this book for fun times or for helping kids to do battle with each other. They can also teach how things are constructed (Spacial Relations!). Another idea is for each individual monster to inspire a bedtime story or creative writing, especially since each one comes with a background story and plenty of other information. There are so many monsters, let your imagination be your guide. The possibilities are endless.
Papertoy Monsters retails for $16.95. It is full of hours of creative and silly fun for families to do together, or for parents to assemble their monster army. Muahahaha.
Note: I received a copy of this book for review purposes.