Skip to main content

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book AND Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Johanna Basford

In seven years, I have never reviewed a coloring book here, although I have reviewed more than a few doodle books. That said, coloring books for adults have become enormously popular in the last couple of years, fueled by the self-proclaimed Ink Evangelist, Johanna Basford, and in this season of gift giving her books are especially worth noting. More than a year ago, I was perusing the coloring book section at Barnes & Noble, looking for a gift for my son to take to a 10 year old girl's birthday party and Basford's first book Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book jumped out at me. Besides being dead gorgeous, her illustrations are intricately playful and magically creative. Best of all, beyond being a beautiful coloring book, Secret Garden is, as Basford says, filled with challenges like "mazes to solve, patterns to complete and lots of space for you to add your own inky drawings. Secret Garden is also a look-and-find book, with a host of creatures and other things, like a message in a bottle, a treasure chest and keys, hidden throughout the pages. The final pages of the book include a key to the Secret Garden, showing the locations of all the hidden goodies. 


The Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book by Basford was published this year and offers more of the same amazing illustrations to color and a search for nine symbols that will unlock the castle door at the end of the quest, revealing a surprise. Of course, since this is a coloring book and not a computer game, finding all the symbols and unlocking the castle door is all about the honor system. The reveal are two intensely intricate gatefold spreads that are worth the effort!

Creating an Inky Wonderland: Behind the scenes with Johanna Basford

Books, note cards, post cards and artist's edition of Basford's books that are very fun:

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…