Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ray's Reviews - Coloring Book Edition: The Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford

       If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift, here’s a quick look at
an unusual book that’s likely to give the recipient many hours of
relaxing entertainment.

        “The Enchanted Forest” by Johanna Basford (King, $15.95) is a wonderful
collection of intricate drawings that are meant to be hand-colored.

        While it’s great for high-energy kids who need something to occupy their
time (other than the internet!), this book has sold amazingly well as
escape therapy for exhausted adults who need relaxation. It may also be
used as a coloring project for families.

        The thick over-sized paperback is described as “An Inky Quest and
Coloring Book”. It challenges the reader to track down items that are
drawn into the images throughout, including 40 birds, 36 fish, 16
gargoyles, 14 butterflies, two unicorns and a cat, among others.

        There are also nine symbols carved into square tablets that need to be
discovered- so the castle door can be unlocked. Then the quest will be
over and one will discover what lies within.

        An Enchanted Forest Key is provided at the end of the book, so the
colorist knows exactly what hidden images appear on each page.

        The colorist must then draw the nine symbols – (just finding them isn't
enough!); turning the next few pages create an additional unexpected
fold-out surprise.

        If you don’t have colored pencils easily available, you may want to get
some - this is not a book that works well with magic markers or even

        Most felt pens will unfortunately leak color though to the other side;
the best type of markers are Staedtler triplus fineliner marking pens
with a 0.3 mm point.

        The creator and illustrator has also produced “Secret Garden”, an earlier
book with a similar design, that has sold over 1.5 million copies and has
been translated into 36 languages.

        Johanna Basford is a Scottish illustrator; her third book, “Lost Ocean”
came out very recently by a different American publisher but drew
complaints - thinner paper was used in the production.

        Coloring books for grown-ups are part of a growing national trend – a few
years ago, it was a marginal market at best.

        “Enchanted Forest” should come with a warning label – it’s so addictive
you may want to buy an extra copy for yourself!

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed books
regularly since 1987.

Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on December 20, 2015.

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