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Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition is published by Batsford Books and is from my personal collection. This book is a genuine work of art and reviewing it has been really enjoyable because it is so beautiful to look through and to colour. You can read my review of the original edition of Animal Kingdom here, I will be making comparisons to that version in this review for those of you who already have the original edition and for those of you who want to know the differences. The Deluxe Edition is a hardback book with a gorgeous soft grey linen cover and a white screen-printed heron on the front. The writing on the cover and spine is covered in beautiful gold foil and the book itself is very thick (see comparison photo below of original and deluxe editions) and hefty and just oozes luxury. The book has gold ribbon ties to keep the book closed and a gold ribbon bookmark to keep your place which is really handy in a book this size. It arrived covered in thin plastic wrap to keep the cover safe which is a great idea so that it doesn’t get damaged or marked in any way. The book is a little larger than the original because of the hardback cover but the pages and images themselves are exactly the same size (I measured to check). The spine is stitched and lightly glue-bound so some pages are easier to colour into the spine than others. The images are printed single-sided on the right-hand pages and are borderless meaning a little is lost into the spine in the full-page images but it really is only a little. The pages are not perforated but could be carefully removed with a scalpel to frame or gift to others. The paper is thicker than the original (180gsm) and bright white but unfortunately it doesn’t live up to the publisher’s description of no show-through, I used Stabilo and Steadtler water-based fineliners and they didn’t bleed at all but they did lightly shadow as can be seen in the photo below. The paper is a good thickness but it cannot be described as card-like and is thinner than the paper found in Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden original edition and Artist’s edition. The paper is very smooth and gives a fairly good surface for colouring with pencils but does burnish quite quickly so you don’t get a lot of layers.
The book contains almost every image from the original with the exception of half of two double-page spreads (the grasshoppers and bird image that are pictured below). The images are almost all in the same order as the original book, a few of the images are swapped slightly or broken up by the fold out double-page spreads. The majority of the double-page spreads from the original book have been printed onto double-width paper which folds outwards to the left of the book so that the full image can be coloured without the spine running down the middle of the image like in the original. There are 13 of these double-page gatefolds. At the end of the book is an envelope attached to the back cover containing 5 square prints, 4 from the book and an extra, new image (these are all pictured below), these images include the octopus, giraffes, fox, heron and a compilation image of the elephant, dragonfly, trees and a couple of birds. These images are printed on the same paper as the rest of the book and would be ideal for framing so you can display your beautiful artwork. As with the original book, there are spaces on a number of the images to add your own backgrounds and details but unlike the original, there are no written hints of what to add which I personally much prefer because it leaves the page a lot neater. The line thickness is the same throughout and the same as the original and are very thin so this is definitely a book for those of you with good vision and fine motor control. A couple of the images are printed in mirror image to how they were printed in the original; to begin with I didn’t understand why this was as it’s just the toucan and heron that have been reversed and I then realised that it’s because these pictures were originally left-page images and the majority of the image starts on the left of the page which is where the spine is on this book, hence the reversal.
This book has exactly the same content and mental health benefits as the original and the recommendations about that are also the same for this one so I won’t repeat it here but my review of the original Animal Kingdom book can be found here. I personally feel that the price tag of £25 is a little steep for this book given that the paper quality is very good but not amazing, however, if you can get it reduced, like I did (I paid just over £14 on Book Depository, link below), then it’s absolutely worth it because it is a genuine work of art and would make an excellent present or coffee table book, as well as the perfect book to display your artistic talent. Because the images are printed single-sided, I did find that this edition feels a little less cohesive than the original and feels a little more stilted rather than telling a story, however, it also really showcases your work because you only see one image at a time meaning you can really give it your time and attention when colouring and looking through it afterwards.
This is a stunning book which is a true work of art. I felt quite intimidated by it at first because it’s so perfect and I was worried about ruining it. At this price, I can’t afford multiple copies if I make a mistake so my advice would be to practice in a copy of the original book, found on Amazon for just £3.99 (link below), and then when you’re happy, colour your best version in the Deluxe Edition. If you’re a fan of Millie’s work or are new to it and wanting a luxurious colouring book then this book is ideal for you. It’s just gorgeous and definitely the most luxurious colouring book I’ve encountered so far and for fans of Millie’s work, it’s an absolute must-have!
You can purchase a copy of the Deluxe Edition here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom Deluxe Edition
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Animal-Kingdom-Millie-Marott/9781849943291/?a_aid=colouringitmom
You can purchase a copy of Millie’s original book here:
Amazon UK – Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Millie-Marotts-Animal-Kingdom-Millie-Marott/9781849941679/?a_aid=colouringitmom
The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 fineliners and Steadtler triplus fineliners.