Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman

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Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman

Category: Crafts
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Perhaps not the best place to start the current trend of 'colouring in for adults', but a brilliant example of the format all the same.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 72 Date: May 2015
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781847806352

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Call me fuddy-duddy, but I have never seen the need to review a book via video – with Youtube and other sources becoming full of people giving their thoughts about the latest hot release the idea has never appealed to me, when there are also countless ways for one to share opinions by old-fashioned written word. That is, of course, until now, and the phenomenon that is building rapidly – that of mature colouring-in books. Here at the Bookbag we can easily prove we've read every word of the books by being eloquent, informative and opinionated about what we examine, but even I admit four paragraphs regarding a picture book we ourselves have to finish off may leave some members of our audience wanting to see the results.

Well, tough.

Take my word for it, unless you happened to teach art at my old school, that I am hopeless at this kind of thing, and take my opinion as honest when I say this is not for the beginner. What we get, in a wonderfully produced volume, are 35 ten-by-nine inch sheets, generously covered with wildlife, ranging from two to eight examples per page. Alongside each lifeform is a little factoid, and there's a general box-out for each page to concern itself with the topic at hand, while on the reverse each time are trivia details and colouring guides. We are, however, completely free to redesign Mother Nature's best and can use whatever colours we wish – so if a peacock is not garish enough for you, here is your chance to rectify that. You may want to pull out and frame your big cats, but in a green room, so wish to give them a new tint. If you run out of black, certain butterflies will be a lot paler.

But if you don't have to copy nature you do have to follow her – and Lucy Engelman is a brilliant medium for her skills. These really do look like they could be scientific illustrations (or at least did before I got my hands on them), and the detail involved cries out for a steady hand, a mature eye and a great artistic sensibility to get the best result. Engelman's pen work only demands much more subtlety than the young (and the less talented, like me) could provide where blending in colours, providing detail and an honest natural feel are concerned. (At times I felt her pen was a little too evident – I know the white rhino is not white, but with her hatching there's not much more that needs doing to it.)

Still, to turn away from my own disastrous interaction with this book – like I say, I can plead the fifth due to lack of evidence – all you need to know is that it is not an easy job, but it is a sterling example of the kind. You get a really sturdy backboard of thick card for you to press on, a nicely embossed and glossy cover, and a real naturalist's eye for selecting and designing the animals – the wild horse page alone could win your next game of Scrabble for you, so unusual are some of the specimens found. If you have a week or more for each page then you could produce something quite wonderful and fulfilling. Ms Engelman has certainly played her part in that to a T.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The Big Beautiful Colouring Book by Hannah Davies has been one of our favourites in this category so far.

Buy Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Field Guide: Creatures Great and Small (Field Guides) by Lucy Engelman at Amazon.com.


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