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Beatrix Potter Colouring Book is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Puffin Books. This year marks 150 years since the beloved children’s book author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter, was born. There aren’t many people whose childhood wasn’t filled with at least one or two of her charming animal-centred tales, mine included, so when I heard that a colouring book was to be made I was excited and a little nervous about whether it would live up to expectations. I can safely say it does, at least for me anyway!
The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, it’s paperback with a partially coloured cream card cover with luxurious gold foiling accents, a gold spine, and one-third French flaps with a blue and white foliage design. The spine is glue and string-bound so it’s durable and strong and it’ll ease up over time so that you can reach the centre of the images and colour them fully. The paper is a creamy off-white but not yellowy, it’s medium thickness and lightly textured and I found it worked well with pencils and I was able to build up layers, water-based pens do shadow and may bleed but this isn’t an issue. The images in the book are printed single-sided with the exception of the first spread which includes a double-page spread of a map of Beatrix Potter’s world showing where all of her most-loved creatures live. There is a small treasure hunt at the front of the book with 12 items and creatures for you to find within the pages, there are no answers printed in the book so if you’re unable to find one it may allude you forever! The book starts with a beautiful This Book Belongs To page and then continues with the map, followed by 44 single-sided images (one of these is a duplicate in my copy which may be a printing error in mine or all copies, I’m not sure). On the back of all the pages is a thumbnail of the image and a brief description or title of the image content. The images contain all of the most well-known characters from Beatrix Potter’s books from Peter Rabbit to Jemima Puddleduck, Jeremey Fisher to Mrs Tiggywinkle, Squirrel Nutkin to Tom Kitten and heaps more. The images range from scenes to character portraits with associated items around them and include a few wallpaper style images too including carrots, acorns, flowers, leaves and miniature images of some characters. The illustrations aren’t direct copies of Beatrix Potter’s originals but they’re very much drawn in her style and the characters are easily recognised and you will certainly be able to mimic her colour and painting style if you so wish.
In terms of mental health, this book is just wonderful! It’s incredibly nostalgic and transports you right back to childhood and happy memories of being read the tales by parents or grandparents, watching the films on video, or even reading the books yourselves whilst snuggled up with your Peter Rabbit or Jemima Puddleduck cuddly toy (it can’t just have been me?!). Now, you get the chance to colour the images yourself and either replicate Beatrix’s colours and style, or bring a whole new lease of life to them by spicing up the colours you choose, it’s entirely up to you! The line thickness does vary throughout from thin to medium thickness and this is directly related to the intricacy and detail level of each image with the thin-lined pages having lots of intricate details to colour and the medium-lined pages having much larger open spaces where you can really go to town with your blending and shading if you wish. You certainly don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control in order to enjoy the majority of the pages in this book; the exceptions are a handful of the most detailed wallpaper-style images which you may prefer to just leave. This book is very natural and calming and the illustrations are utterly charming and filled with character so they’re wonderful for your mood and for brightening the darkest of days or settling the most anxious mind. Many of the images consist of collections of images and are therefore well suited to good or bad days with natural stopping points after just one carrot or portrait of Squirrel Nutkin, or on better days you can colour a full page. There are hours and hours of colouring fun held within these pages and before you know it you’ll be transported into Beatrix’s anthropomorphic world.
I would highly recommend this book to children, and nostalgic adults, whose childhoods were filled with the tales of Beatrix Potter. This book is beautiful and familiar and while it doesn’t contain the original illustrations, these are not far off and offer a great starting point to create your own Potter-esque masterpiece. This is a colouring book that truly transports you back in time and into another world and once you’re there, I’m not sure you’ll want to stop colouring it!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Beatrix Potter Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Beatrix-Potter-Colouring-Book-null/9780241287545/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils, Peter’s fur was coloured using Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils.