Friday, November 06, 2015

Books for Christmas 2015 Part 2 - Adult Colouring and Books for the Child Within

If last week's selection of our favourite history titles seemed somewhat 'heavyweight', today's selection is much more on the lighter side. We are always on the look-out for gifts for family and friends who may not be big readers, but nevertheless you want them to have their nose in a book come Christmas morning.

The adult colouring craze which seems to have swept the country shows no sign of slowing, and no wonder. Sophisticated colouring books seem to work wonders for smart children, stressed adults, people recovering from illness, engaging in mindfulness and anyone looking to take a break from technology, or just wanting a good laugh.

Not all the titles are colouring titles (we have many more in the shop), and we already mentioned the splendid Harry Potter colouring book a few weeks ago. Some poke fun at the genre - and some spoof the 'back to childhood' vibe generally.

But here are our picks for the 'child within'...enjoy.

Haynes Cutaway Colouring Book (£6.99)
There are plenty of inspiring themes for colouring-in books in recent years, but amongst the flowers, animals and decorative patterns, with links to mindfulness and art therapies, this is possibly our favourite one at the moment that takes a more structured and mechanical approach.

The legendary Haynes black and white cutaway manuals seem tailor-made for colouring anyway, and this collection of 90 cutaways - with classic cards and a history of the Haynes Manual itself - seems a stroke (engine) of genius.

Sherlock: The Mind Palace - Mike Collins (£9.99)
The (colouring) game is afoot in 'The Mind Palace', a unique celebration of the rich visual landscape of Sherlock, featuring over 50 intricate pieces of artwork by artist Mike Collins. Recreate classic scenes, add colour to intricate interiors and illuminate the fascinating world of Sherlock with the power of your imagination.

The touch we particularly like is that within each scene there is a vital clue from each episode hidden within the black and white illustrations, and only by completing the scene can they be found. Surprisingly well-thought through, this is for a much wider appeal than just Cumberbatch-fans (though it will definitely appeal to them as well!) 


Lost Ocean - Johanna Basford (£12.99)
In 2013, a young Scottish illustrator started to create intricate black and white illustrations as a way to relax. Weaving in quests and stories into her pictures, her illustrations - initially published on her website - we're picked up by a British publisher, and 'The Secret Garden' has gone on to sell more than a million copies worldwide, translated into 14 languages and was - for a time - the biggest selling book in France.

'The Lost Ocean' is her latest - and beautiful - creation, and takes you on a magical journey beneath the waves. The book also features a large double-sided pull-out poster to colour with others and keep. We think it might prove an unexpected hit - and alternative - to a family board game on Christmas Day!

A Magical Christmas - Lizzie Mary Cullen (£9.99)
From Lizzie Mary Cullen, the illustrator behind hit colouring book 'The Magical City', comes a brand new treat for the winter. Settle down in your favourite chair and immerse yourself in this mesmerising new colouring book, with Christmas celebrations from across the world and throughout the years. There's at the Rockefeller Center to surfing in Sydney and frost fairs on the Thames to Victorian toy shops. Travel with the wise men following a star, spot Santa's sleigh skimming over the rooftops and discover dazzling gingerbread houses with Lizzie's intricate inky illustrations.

Crap Colouring in:Mindless Art Therapy for Modern Life - Joe Sumner (£7.99)
If you firmly believe that life isn't an 'Enchanted Kingdom', and you like your colouring-in a bit more age-appropriate, then 'Crap Colouring In' by Joe Summer is the book you've been waiting for. 

Over a hundred pages, from shopping trolleys to speed-bumps, leaves on the line and detailed grey clouds, it's adult colouring with a gloriously cynical British-humour twist. For those who like to vent as part of their art therapy!

The Ladybird Book of the Midlife Crisis - Jason Hazeley (£6.99)
Last year, we loved recommending the compelling (if disturbing) Scarfolk (which contained spoofs of the Ladybird genre, with mocked-up covers of books such as 'The Ladybird Guide to Bucolic Middle England'). Jason Hazeley has managed to go one better, with a whole raft of actual Ladybird books, using imagery from the original books, but squarely aimed at the adult reader.

Including such useful titles as 'The Ladybird Book of the Hipster' and 'The Ladybird Book of Mindfulness' come and have a peek at the range in the shop. We reckon you'll know in a very short space of time if these might be the gift you are looking for - we think they are extremely well-produced and very, very funny!

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