A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou

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A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou

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Buy A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Crafts
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A book that can be as lovely as you make it, but one that will frustrate a little.
Buy? Yes Borrow? No
Pages: 80 Date: June 2016
Publisher: LTP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781848693272

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In my dabbling with picture books I have not come across what has developed as a second stage of the format – that themed not by emotional content, or complexity of design, but that linked to an already established franchise. We've had BBC's Sherlock, Doctor Who and even other starmen. Now, after careful consideration, William Shakespeare has obviously allowed other people to spin off his most successful romantic output, and this is the result.

It's a nicely varied colouring book, and covers all aspects of the play. We can't begin without designing the colour scheme of the theatre – In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, after which we're invited to embellish the Capulet and Montague family shields, and a lot more. Before the end we have spreads of star-shaped designs, musical motifs, fireworks displays, bedrooms, even herbalist guides to do – as well as more literal illustrations of the play. It's things like that that might make this book appeal more than the routine pattern one – the idea that you are not just colouring in geometric, fractal shapes but giving life to people, characters, theatre scenes. There are purely decorative pages here, don't get me wrong – but they don't have the emotional oomph of working on a dying teenaged beauty.

I also like the balance of the pages – none were incredibly complex, but pretty much all of the paper is used – you don't have to colour every square millimetre, but blank space doesn't feature too much in the finish. What I certainly did NOT like was the fact that too much of the book disappeared into the centre fold, and a lot of the contents are double-page spreads you can't completely get at. So you get stuck finishing what you intend as wonderful, ivy-clad castle gates, and by the time you have a widescreen storm-toss'd sea you're equally shafted – pull the pages out to reach the inner inches, and you might still not get the whole page out the book, thus being just as sunk as the boats – and you'll also have prevented R & J from ever touching on the balcony scene overleaf.

Still, it works as a tie-in, and anyone with any connection to the play will enjoy the romance of these pages – which works very finely, being not too childish, nor too sickly. Five stars would probably come for an edition that was bound with a card backing for firmness, and with a layout that left everything on the one sheet as opposed to full spreads. You're left with the option of not getting the whole lot done, or seriously breaking the spine of this book to create your own (port)folio. So just like the characters, I might be able to fall in love but was destined not to find complete happiness.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Where's Will? by Anna Claybourne and Tilly is a way to engage the young with completed pictures about all of Shakespeare. Which of course brings us back full-circle to Where's Wally: The Colouring Book by Martin Handford.

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Buy A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Colouring Classic: William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet by Renia Metallinou at Amazon.com.

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