…The Wizard Book of Makes & Bakes by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey
This is a cute one. Everything Oz comes to you from the authors of Everything Alice, a themed craft and cookery book all about Alice in Wonderland. Full disclosure: I have not read Everything Alice… yet. Everything Oz carries on much in the same vein, with several craft projects and ideas for visually arresting party food inspired by the classic book, films and stage adaptations.
Rainbow cake, anyone?
Some pistachio popcorn, perhaps? This recipe is the first on my hit list.
Instructions are clear and concise, but you may need some special skills to complete some of the crafts (a knowledge of sewing machines, particular stitches and, oddly, experience with an electric drill will all stand you in good stead). It’s not all hard stuff though; for every septuple layer rainbow cake there is Emerald City Jelly, for every pair of Ruby Slippers (yes, really) there’s an Emerald hair comb. While there are some projects which require a lot of effort and time, they don’t seem as if they’d be particularly difficult to do. If you’re the kind of person who gets an intense payoff from making an incredibly complicated cake, then this is for you.
The layout of this large, colourful, softback book is varied but not cluttered. A mix of photography, illustrations and snippets of dialogue from the book (a very brief paragraph in Baum and The Wizard of Oz is in the introduction), it’s carefully considered. The table of contents looks like a Depression-era circus hoarding and the section on Emerald City snacks is delightfully, gleefully green. It’s immaculately, eye-catchingly laid out – which points to Read-Baldrey’s other career as a props and fashion stylist.
Cute but not cloying, you could complete several of the projects without people necessarily knowing that they were inspired by The Wizard of Oz. Some of the projects are obviously connected to the books or film (again, the ruby slippers), some not so much (the section on the Oz Apothecary) but that doesn’t really matter – the projects that aren’t obviously Oz more than compensate for it in their cuteness.
The beauty of a good craft book isn’t necessarily its ability to teach a person a new skill – it’s in its ability to inspire people. This bright and dreamy book makes a not-particularly-crafty person (me) want to have an Emerald City themed party, complete with Tin Man garlands and lanterns – and I think I might do just that.
Everything Oz: The Wizard Book of Makes & Bakes is published by Quadrille and is out now.