The Flower Fairies Colouring Book – A Review

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The Flower Fairies Colouring Book is published by Warne and was bought by me for my personal collection. This listing appears to have been merged with other books with similar titles and thus not all of the reviews are of the same item, I am reviewing The Flower Fairies Colouring Book. When one thinks of fairy art, one can’t help but think of the stunning work of Cicely Mary Barker, my childhood bedroom was filled with her artwork and I grew up looking through and reading all of her flower fairy books so I was very excited when I saw that a colouring book of her work was to be published.

The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the bestsellers, it’s paperback with a cream card cover with black line drawings of fairies and flowers with luxurious dusky pink foiling accents, a pink foiled spine, and one-third French flaps with a pink and white berry and 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 because the 45 images in the book are printed single-sided. 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 elude you forever! The book starts with a beautiful This Book Belongs To page and then continues with a lovely written introduction, followed by 45 single-sided images. On the back of all the pages is a thumbnail of the image and a brief description or title of the image content which is really helpful for identification. The images contain some of the most well-known and best-loved fairies though there are a number of repetitions of some which is a shame given just how many stunning fairies Cicely illustrated, they include the lily-of-the-valley fairy, the apple blossom fairies, the tulip fairy, the pansy fairy, the holly fairy, the nasturtium fairy and so on. The images range from original scenes to merged scenes from two original book pages, centralised fairies with associated flowers and leaves surrounding them, floral arrangements and it includes a few wallpaper style images too including lily-of-the-valley, tulips, lavender, fuchsias, berries and miniature images of some fairies. The illustrations mostly aren’t direct copies of Cicely Mary Barker’s originals, however, I can’t tell if they’re just rearranged and the colour has been digitally removed, or if the illustrations have been re-drawn by someone in an identical style.

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 poems by parents or grandparents, and poring over the beautiful images, in my case plastered all over my walls, calendars and lampshades as well as in the books. Now, you get the chance to colour the images yourself and either replicate Cicely’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 berry or fairy portrait, 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 Cicely’s magical world where fairies frolic, flowers become outfits and mushrooms and trees become home.

I would highly recommend this book to children, and nostalgic adults, whose childhoods were filled with the poems and artwork of Cicely Mary Barker. This book is beautiful and familiar and while it mostly doesn’t contain the original compositions, these are not far off and offer a great starting point to create your own 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 – The Flower Fairies Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Flower-Fairies-Colouring-Book-Cicely-Mary-Barker/9780241279045/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sudee Stile Coloured Pencils, the background snowflakes were coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners.

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