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Escape to Christmas Past: A Colouring Book Adventure is published by Puffin Classics, illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors and is from my personal collection. This book is the second offering from this pair of very talented illustrators and it’s another beauty of a book – their first book, Escape To Wonderland can be found reviewed by me here. Escape to Christmas Past is loosely based around the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It is the same size and shape as their first book at just over 18cms square, it’s a little smaller than the bestsellers but I think this adds to the charm and it means the images are a manageable size. The book has a softback cover which is almost all double thicknesses of cardboard as it folds in on itself and when opened up it reveals a beautiful red background with white line-drawn images of poinsettias. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing. The book contains 96 pages of double-sided, borderless images and is glue-bound meaning a little of each image is lost into the spine. I found the spine very tight when it arrived but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter than it did. The paper quality is very good and hasn’t bled or shadowed at all when I’ve been using water-based fineliners or fibre-tips. The paper is a creamy off-white which adds to the vintage feel of the book and is very lightly textured which I thought would be ideal for pencils but I did find it a little hard to get many layers as the tooth seemed to disappear quicker than I’d have liked or expected. However, it’s not impossible to layer and I did manage to get some nice shading. Do be sure to test the pens you’re using beforehand to avoid any disasters. Alcohol markers are a definite no because they will bleed terribly and ruin the reverse images.
The images themselves are drawn in a thin line that is pretty consistent throughout so the difficulty level doesn’t change, meaning this is not a book that will adapt to differing levels of concentration but this does lead to a really cohesive feel to the book. The images are in the correct order to tell the story and a few pages contain quotes from the book to help guide you through. Everything you need for a traditional Christmas is included from Christmas puddings to poinsettias, stockings to snowflakes, a goose, crackers, presents, paper chains and baubles. Of course, dispersed throughout these images are the key scenes and characters from A Christmas Carol including Scrooge and his characteristic phrase of Bah Humbug!, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and Tiny Tim. The ghosts in this book are beautifully drawn and two of the three are very cleverly created out of the objects used to describe them in the original novel. Some of the images are also themed around items in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas including partridges, French Hens and Swans, I have a feeling a number of other items from the song may be hidden within the pages but I’m yet to find them.
In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it instantly brings some festive cheer to what have been some very dreary days recently with very grey, wet and windy weather here in the UK. You can’t help but feel uplifted looking through the images of beautiful decorations, delicious food and the other aspects of Christmas that we look forward to throughout the year. A Christmas Carol is quite a dark and dingy story so I was a little worried that this book might be quite negative and not much fun to colour but Good Wives and Warriors have done a wonderful job of bringing huge amounts of charm to their illustrations of even the darkest scenes and they’re all dispersed with a healthy amount of much cheerier Christmas-themed images meaning the book doesn’t feel negative or sad at all and just lifts your spirits. I really enjoyed just looking through the book and reliving the story and poring over each image, all exquisitely drawn and waiting to be coloured. The images are quite detailed and intricate but they’re not overwhelming so you don’t need perfect vision or fine motor control and the size of the book means you don’t need really good concentration levels either. If you enjoy Christmas then this book is sure to be beneficial to your mental health with its positive content and ability to remind you of happy Christmases spent with family and having fun and if you’re not already filled with Christmas cheer, this book is sure to rectify that!
I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Christmas and on the look-out for all things festive. The book is really cohesive and I found it great for my own mental health so hopefully it’ll be just as good for yours too as it transports you back to Christmas past and gets you ready for Christmas future which is just 6 short weeks away!
If you’d like to purchase a copy you can find it below:
Amazon UK – Escape to Christmas Past: A Colouring Book Adventure
Book Depository – https://www.bookdepository.com/Escape-Christmas-Past-Colouring-Book-Adventure-Good-Wives-Warriors/9780141366760/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The picture below was coloured using Stabilo 68 fibre-tip pens.