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Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages is published by Harper Design and illustrated and kindly sent to me for review by Marcos Chin. I’ve been a lover of all things fairy related since I was tiny and my childhood bedroom was covered from top to bottom in fairies from lamp shades to ornaments, calendars to pictures, I was obsessed. I’ve been on the hunt for a decent fairy colouring book for the last year and all those I’ve seen have fallen a little short because they were either very dark and fantasy-based (rather than pretty and delicate) or they had strange faces, hands or feet. This book however, ticks all of the boxes of what I wanted in a fairy colouring book so read on to find out all about it!
This book is square, the same size as the bestsellers and paperback with a card cover that is partially double thickness as there is a 3 inch flap which opens out to reveal a white background fairy design inside the front cover, and a black background fairy design inside the back cover. The paper is bright white and feels like medium thickness but don’t be fooled, water-based pens shadow and occasionally bleed through so this is definitely a book to stick to pencils on unless you intend to get two copies or not colour all of the images. The paper is smooth with no visible tooth at all and I’ll note here that I appear to have a strange copy as I have really struggled to use pencils on this paper (even my artist’s grade polychromos pencils) which seemed to clump, and blending and shading has been problematic, as has block colouring which I’ve had to press harder than usual for. I’ve contacted a friend of mine who is a reviewer and her copy hasn’t presented any issues with coloured pencils so it appears that my copy is somehow defective as it feels almost as if there’s a coating over the paper because it’s so shiny. The spine is glue-bound and the images are borderless so a little of each image is lost into it, while most spines ease up with use, and so does this one, I also found that my pages are starting to fall out just from trying to flatten the book enough to photograph it so you will need to be careful with this book in order to prevent loosening of pages. The images are printed double-sided and a large number of them are double-page spreads but there are a large number of single pages too.
The book contains 96 pages and the images contain a number of written riddles with keys hidden throughout the illustrations which spell out the next clue when unscrambled correctly so this is kind of a treasure hunt, set of riddles and colouring book in one. The riddles cleverly arrange each section of images into a ‘chapter’ because they’re each set in a different place and also run from day to night, with a whopping 36 pages having black backgrounds to indicate night time. The images are beautifully drawn and pretty but not girly, they’re very delicate and contain lots of natural elements like insects, plants and flowers. The images are set in a variety of places including a wondrous woodland, under the sea, a beautiful garden and a night time party. Lots of creatures and insects are pictured from ladybirds to caterpillars, owls to moths, butterflies to a frog and even some sea creatures. The fairies also vary throughout from beautiful fairy ladies in outfits made from flowers to aqua fairies who have flippers and head fins and others in more patterned clothing, there is a good mix of male and female fairies and children and adults too. The images are beautifully cohesive and stunningly drawn with a great deal of detail and thought. One slight criticism is that on a number of images, the draft pencil lines are still visible in a number of places (see close-up photos below), this is disappointing and it’s a shame that this wasn’t picked up on in the editing process because they’re visible in a number of images, however, they are easily disguised once colour is added to the page so they don’t detract from the finished image. The illustrations picture fairies riding insects, a fairy tea party, aqua fairies swimming underwater, fairy houses, fairies dancing and parading and so much more!
In terms of mental health, this book is really calming and beautiful because it’s so grounded in nature whilst also being wonderfully fantastical. There is a huge amount of intricacy and detail so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control as the line thickness is also thin, verging on spindly thin at points. There are some large spaces in the images including the sections of the fairy wings and a few flowers and beetles but mostly the images consist of lots of teeny tiny bits and most aspects are surrounded by a thin border so you will certainly need some well-sharpened pencils for this book. Most of the images are of scenes and these don’t have a lot of space for you to add your own drawings or backgrounds, but a few of the images are of centralised illustrations with large spaces left around them where you could create your own backgrounds and scenes if you wished. There are no written hints so this is by no means obligatory and the artwork looks finished as it is but there is space to add your own bits if you wish. I found this book particularly calming and absorbing and the fairy world really does draw you in and offers wonderful escapism. The illustrations are beautiful and you’re sure to spend hours lost in a faraway miniature land where symptoms of mental illness melt away and dark or anxious thoughts are left at the door.
I would highly recommend this book to all fairy-lovers and those who like intricate and detailed pages to colour. You will need good vision and fine motor control and pencils are a must for this book to be able to complete the stunning images. Get lost in Marcos’s Fairy Wonderland, you may never want to leave!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-Marcos-Chin/9780062419989/?a_aid=colouringitmom
There is also a set of 20 accompanying postcards which are also currently available:
Review – Fairies in Wonderland Postcards
Amazon UK – Fairies in Wonderland 20 Postcards: An Interactive Coloring Adventure for All Ages
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Fairies-in-Wonderland-20-Postcards-Marcos-Chin/9780062466235/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils and accented with a gold gel pen (from a UK supermarket) and a Clear Glitter Stardust Gelly Roll Gel Pen.