Christmas

Santa Claus The Book of Secrets: Christmas Colouring Book – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Santa Claus The Book of Secrets: Christmas Colouring Book is illustrated, published, and kindly sent to me to review by Russell Ince. Russell is best known for his beautiful story books, Fairies: The Book of Secrets and Santa Claus: The Book of Secrets, he received heaps of requests to turn his beautiful illustrations into a colouring book so that people could make the illustrations their own and Russell very kindly responded with these two beautiful colouring books. I’ve not actually seen the story books themselves so I’m unable to comment on whether these illustrations are the originals with the colour removed, or new ones in a similar style to those found in the story books.

The book itself is 21.4 x 14.9cm, landscape, paperback with a medium thickness flexible card cover with a black and white line drawing with gold foiling on the text set on a black background. The spine is lightly glue-bound and is pretty easy to break so that the pages lie-flat, this does mean that you’ll need to be careful to ensure that your pages don’t accidentally become loose and fall out though this would make removing them to frame very easy if you wish. The images are printed full page and double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads. The paper is thick, white, and lightly textured, pencils blend and shade smoothly, it feels thick enough that pens shouldn’t bleed but sadly my water-based pens did shadow a bit onto the reverse so do check yours in an inconspicuous area before diving straight in; alcohol markers will bleed through. Due to not having the original books, I didn’t know what to expect from the illustrations but I was hoping for lots of Christmas scenes and objects, sadly I was a little disappointed, there are almost no Christmas scenes and while a lot of objects are pictured, a large number of the images are actually wallpaper style images and patterns. These wallpaper designs are very nice and I really can’t fault them, they just weren’t the imagery I was expecting so do be aware of this and check out the photos below before ordering a copy. That being said, the objects that are pictured are very festive and Christmassy and include presents, poinsettias, holly, Christmas trees, nutcrackers, biscuits, baubles, stockings, snowflakes and even Santa Claus himself. The content ranges from wallpaper-style patterns to mirror image spreads, centralised images of Santa Claus and a lot of repeating patterns, there are 4 scenes spanning 5 pages.

In terms of mental health, this book is a bit of a mixture, the illustrations are beautiful and if you like patterns and wallpaper style images then this will be ideal for your symptoms, however, if you’re wanting escapism and to be transported to another world then this may not be the book for you. The Christmas scenes are sadly lacking, only 4 are included and the majority of the other pages are patterns or collections of objects which seem a bit of a waste with such a wonderful theme. However, this is a great mixture of images for pattern-lovers and the pages really offer a great variety of pattern styles to really go to town on and make your own and they’ll be ideal for anxious days as they can be coloured in any scheme you like and they’ll look fabulous. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is spindly thin so you don’t have much wiggle room at all. The intricacy and detail levels vary from large open spaces of Santa’s face and a snow drift to much smaller sections of holly leaves and bauble details, you’ll therefore need very good vision and fine motor control as the majority of the images contain a lot of intricate parts. The images will mostly require a good level of concentration and focus so it’s best to save it for your good days. Patterns can be great for helping you zone out and re-focus your mind so those who suffer from anxiety may well like this book as the patterns are curvy and flowing which is ideal for many mental health problems.

Overall, this is a nice book and I’d recommend it as long as you look at the internal images first, I was left disappointed by the lack of scene pages and inclusion of so many wallpaper images, the content that is here is very nice it’s just very pattern-focused.

If you’d like to purchase a copy, it’s available here:
Amazon UK – Santa Claus The Book of Secrets: Christmas Colouring Book
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/Christmas-Colouring-Book-Sant-Claus-The-Book-of-Secrets-Russell-Ince/9780957577022/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners which did shadow.

Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: Birds and Blossom – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: Birds and Blossom is published and was very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow Publishing. This book is unlike any other because it’s not a normal colouring book, each page is a gift box which can be removed and folded into a box to gift to friends and family, this is the second in the series with a Christmas-themed one available HERE. The book itself is paperback with flexible card covers, it’s just under 30cm square and has a mid-pink cover with splashes of pinks and blues and mint green foil accents. On the inside cover are diagrams and written instructions about how to remove and fold the boxes and on the back inside cover are three recipes so you can create Easter treats to go in your boxes – Chocolate Nests, Easter Egg Biscuits, and Butterfly Cakes. The spine is glue and string-bound making it durable but it’s all quite easy to press flat so that you can colour the whole box, or remove it via the perforations before colouring if you find that easier. Each of the 24 pages contains one double-sided box with different matching designs for each of the sides and the inside base and then a small repeating pattern on all of the other edges, there’s heaps to colour in on each one! The card is medium thickness, bright white and lightly textured so it’s perfect for pencils and water-based pens which didn’t bleed and only slightly shadowed with the darkest colours; alcohol markers will bleed so I’d avoid using these. The perforations are well-made and the parts do mostly come out easily, I would advise caution as a very small section of my actual box started splitting so you may prefer to use the perforations as a guide for scissors or just work slowly, a few of the parts have quite large perforations which do leave large bumps rather than smooth edges on the box but again, these could be tidied up with scissors if you wish. The boxes are individually designed and contain themed illustrations from garden birds to swans, butterflies to bird houses, Easter eggs to dragonflies, kingfishers to bunnies, bunting to bee hives, Easter baskets to owls, and lots more Spring and Easter-themed imagery. The images are very cute and have a naïve quality to them which makes them look really charming and they’ll look lovely coloured by adults or children and gifted to others. At the back of the book is a page of mint green foiled stickers each with lines on where you can write names to and from, and each with a small Spring-themed motif. The set is really well-made and thought out, this book is produced by the same publishing company who created the Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes so you can be assured it’s good quality though the illustrations are created by a different artist (Felicity French) from those (Rebecca Jones) and the other colouring gift box book (Sarah Walsh).

In terms of mental health, I think this book of gift boxes is pretty great because it offers up a project with a very clear purpose and end point, ideal for those of us who struggle to get motivated or see the point in things sometimes. Sharing is always good fun and when colouring these boxes you know you’ll be sharing the love with someone you care about and that’s a great thing to be able to do! The line thickness is consistent throughout and is thin. The intricacy and detail levels are pretty high with lots of small sections so these boxes will only really be suited to those of you with good vision and fine motor control. The boxes take ages to colour so you’re certainly getting lots of colouring hours for your money, however, each box consists of lots of small colourable parts which is ideal for any level of concentration or amount of symptoms, you can colour for 20 seconds doing just one or two flowers, or hours and hours doing the whole internal repeating pattern or somewhere in between. The images on the box are sure to get you in the mood for Spring and remind you that Easter and yummy chocolate eggs are on their way! These boxes will be perfect for sharing Easter treats with family and friends and they can be filled with small gifts or sweets or chocolates and they’ll be the perfect packaging for anything handmade, the possibilities are endless!

Overall, I would highly recommend these colourable gift boxes, there’s loads to colour on each one and they’re sure to get you and your recipient in the mood of Spring and Easter and they give a wonderful personal touch to whatever gifts you decide to put inside them.

If you’d like to purchase a set, the book is available here:
Amazon UK – Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: Birds and Blossom
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Gift-Boxes-to-Colour-and-Make–Birds-and-Blossom/9780857638687/?a_aid=colouringitmom

You can find the Christmas Gift Box book here.

The box below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-Tip Pens.

I Heart Colouring Christmas – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
I Heart Colouring Christmas is published by Buster Books and purchased by me for my personal collection. I know I’m a little late to the party and that Christmas was 3 weeks ago now but we all know how the song goes about wishing it could be Christmas every day and with this lovely little book, it can be! This book is 15cm square, paperback with white card covers and red foiling accents on the front (this isn’t to be confused with the book of the same name published in 2015 which has silver accents on the cover). The spine is glue and string-bound making it very durable but a little tricky to reach the centre of the images, it will ease up over time. The paper is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured, pencils work well on it and water-based pens don’t bleed and only occasionally shadow so as long as you’re careful this book can be used with felt-tips and fineliners if you wish; steer clear of alcohol pens or you’ll ruin the reverse image with bleed-through. The illustrations are printed double-sided and are a mixture of single and double-page spreads with the majority being double-page spreads. This book is packed full of images of Christmas trees, Christmas puddings, jumpers, presents, food, bells, baubles, candy canes and so much more! The illustrations are drawn by a number of different artists and therefore there are a number of image styles throughout. Some of the content includes fireplaces, gingerbread houses, heaps of presents, advent calendars, snowman scenes and lots more. Many of the pages are collections of images of associated items or repeating patterns, the majority aren’t scenes or snapshots, they’re collection images. There’s a huge assortment of tasty treats packed in and this book is sure to keep you feeling festive despite the decorations being packed away and the food being a distant memory and a slightly enlarged waistline.

In terms of mental health, this book is a great one for distraction. It’s lots of fun, full of quirks and whimsy, and a great one to flick through during a bored moment. The size of the pages means that you can finish a page in a matter of minutes if you wish so this is an ideal book for those of you with very poor concentration or who like a really quick colouring fix. The line thickness varies throughout and ranges from thin to medium/thick. The intricacy and detail levels also vary hugely from teeny tiny details all the way up to much larger open spaces. This means that it’ll suit most levels of vision and fine motor control though I’d advise against anyone with particularly poor levels of either of those buying this book as you won’t get the most from it. I Heart Christmas Colouring epitomises variety and really does have something for everyone and every concentration and ability level. On bad days you can opt to quickly colour one jumper or penguin and on better days you can colour a full stack of presents or anything in between. This book is a great size to pop in your bag for colouring on the move as it doesn’t take up much space.

I would highly recommend this book to any festive fans who wish it could be Christmas all year long and anyone looking for something fun and quirky to really go to town on. Christmas doesn’t have to just be coloured in December and this is a great book for bringing back some Christmas cheer and get you using your glitter gel pens and red and green coloured pencils.

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
Amazon UK – I Heart Colouring Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/I-Heart-Colouring-Christmas-Part-2-Lizzie-Preston/9781780554549/?a_aid=colouringitmom

If you like the look of this book, why not check out my review of another in the series, I Heart Baking Colouring.
Amazon UK – I Heart Baking Colouring
Book Depository Worldwide – https://www.bookdepository.com/I-Heart-Baking-Colouring-Various-Illustrators/9781780554488/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo 68 Fibre-tip Pens.

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations are published and very kindly sent to me to review by Nosy Crow Publishing. These cards are the fifth of five sets, you can find my reviews of the previous sets here: Christmas, Summertime, Flowers and Butterflies, Nature. This book is fantastically well made and everything has been thought of, matched and produced with quality in mind. The book itself is large at 28cm square, it’s paperback with a flexible card cover with gold foiling lettering and detail. Inside the front cover are instructions detailing how to fold the envelopes for the cards. Following this are pages of colourable cards with two on each page connected by tabs on perforated pages which are very easy to remove from the book with no issues or bending and a thin strip that the perforation is attached to that you can cut off with scissors to neaten up the card edges. There are 24 cards, each with a unique design, and all 4 sides of the cards have illustrations on that you can colour including a “Coloured For You By…” section on the back, they measure 13.5cm square when folded. Following the card pages are 24 unique envelope designs that match the cards perfectly and are printed in the same order as the cards so it’s very easy to match up the paired cards and envelopes together. The envelopes have illustrations on the front, each of the four flaps, and the whole of the back of the page which makes up the inside of the envelope has a repeating design on it that can be coloured if you wish. The folding instructions are very clear and easy to follow and the pre-scored lines on the cards and envelopes allow for a perfect fold every time. On the very last page of the book are usually 24 circular stickers with matching designs to seal the envelopes with, in this set you get a whopping 36 which I found really exciting and means that instead of trying to match each one up correctly, there are a number of suitable ones for each card.

The card itself is bright white, medium thickness and lightly textured. I experienced absolutely no bleeding or shadowing when using water-based pens; alcohol markers will bleed through. Pencils would be ideal for these cards if you’re wanting more subtle colours, or wanting to blend and shade. The envelopes are printed onto bright white, thick paper which I didn’t experience any bleed through of water-based pens on but did get the lightest of shadowing when I coloured too slowly and the ink saturated the paper a bit much so do please be careful if you’re wanting the inside of your envelopes to remain pristine for colouring too. Sadly, the space left on the front of a few of the envelopes is pretty small and not exactly suitable for a normal length postal address and there is also no space for a postage stamp (I have been contacted by the publisher who has explained that this may well be changed in future reprints so there is a larger space for addresses). You could add an address label, and simply stick the postage stamp over the design but for perfectionists like me this isn’t an option and it is a shame this wasn’t quite thought through. When posting these cards to friends and family I will be popping the whole thing inside a normal envelope so that I can keep the envelope design intact. A larger number of the envelopes have just one image on the front so there is plenty of address-writing space so just pick your cards carefully if you’re wanting to be able to post them.

The designs themselves are utterly charming and absolutely adorable. This set is different from the previous four because it doesn’t centre around a specific theme and instead contains all of the cards you need for celebrations throughout the year. The break down of the cards and celebrations is as follows: 1 x Happy New year, 2 x Valentine’s Day, 2 x Mother’s Day, 2 x Easter, 2 x Father’s Day, 4 x Birthday, 1 x Anniversary, 2 x Congratulations (one generic, one for a new baby), 2 x Thank You, 2 x Christmas, 1 x Love, 2 x Thinking of You, and 1 x Get Well Soon. Unlike the cards in the previous books which were scenes or collections of pictures, these all have pretty lettered greetings indicating the celebration they’re for, plenty of them still have scenes, cute animals or leaves, flowers or gems on them but at the centre is the greeting. Every aspect of every card, envelope and sticker is unique, there are no doubled up/rearranged designs, and no corners have been cut. The cards feel luxurious and are extremely well made, I couldn’t ask for more from a set of colouring cards, and with an RRP of just £9.99, often being found for under £5 they’re an absolute bargain and I’m sure I’ll be purchasing set after set of these.

In terms of mental health, I personally found these cards absolutely fantastic. I’ve been having a stressful week with anxiety and these cards have really helped me to calm down, zone out, and focus on a manageable project which I could colour in sections or larger bits when I was feeling better and despite it being the hottest week of the year, they’ve reminded me that my favourite time of year is on its way! The line thickness is thin throughout and the images are mostly very intricate and detailed with a few larger spaces on leaves and animals but predominantly each image consists of lots of small elements so these cards are definitely for those of you with pretty good vision and fine motor control. The image content is really natural and has a childlike quality which adds so much charm and character to the illustrations and is sure to brighten the darkest of days and spread a little cheer throughout the year, no matter how low you’re feeling. The cards take a surprisingly long time to colour so you get hours and hours of enjoyment from this book and you can really spread the colouring love by posting them coloured or even uncoloured to family and friends.

I would highly recommend these cards to anyone looking for greetings cards to colour and send, or anyone wanting to persuade their friends or family into starting colouring, these cards are so charming that the recipient surely can’t help but start colouring them if they’re sent uncoloured! You’ll need pretty good vision and fine motor control to enjoy them but if you have those then you’re sure to love these cards, they’re genuinely perfect!

If you’d like to purchase a set, they’re available here:
Amazon UK – The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/The-National-Trust-The-Colouring-Book-of-Cards-and-Envelopes—Year-of-Celebrations-Rebecc-Jones/9780857638564/?a_aid=colouringitmom

Can’t get enough? Check out my reviews of the other available sets here:
Nature
Flowers and Butterflies
Summertime
Christmas

The card and envelope below were coloured using Stabilo 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips.

Johanna’s Christmas: A comparison between the UK and US editions

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna’s Christmas was released in the UK and US last week and after the huge online debates surrounding the differences between the UK and US editions of her previous books I thought I’d do a comparison of them both as my previous comparisons of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle were very successful. I was unable to get review copies so I have purchased the US edition from Book Depository and the UK edition from Amazon UK (purchase links below). I have heard that there are issues with some UK editions which have been printed in China, my copy was printed in Italy (more info below).

This is a long post because there are so many pictures included to illustrate each point but please bear with me because a lot of time and effort has gone into being as thorough as possible. Most of the things I’ve noticed don’t affect the enjoyment or use of the book, they’re just differences but there are a few items that are fundamentally different and do affect use so keep an eye out for those, they’re summarised at the bottom. Some of the very noticeable differences include size and paper type so here goes with the most comprehensive list of similarities and differences that you’re likely to find online!

  1. Dust Jacket – This is usually one of the biggest differences between the editions, with the UK version usually having a removable dust jacket and the US edition having it attached. This time we have a break in convention and both the UK and US edition have attached covers, with no removable dust jacket. I think this is a shame as I’ve loved the removable dust jackets but there you go, neither has them.
    johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-1 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-2 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-3 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-4 johannas-christmas-1-dust-jacket-5
  2. French Flaps – The inside flaps of the cover are larger in the UK edition. Both editions have a white line-drawn bauble pattern but the UK edition has more baubles printed smaller, the US edition has them cut off a little and printed larger, and the image on the UK front flap is on the back one in the US and vice versa.
    johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-1 johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-2 johannas-christmas-2-french-flaps-3
  3. Spine – The UK edition has a black spine with white writing (the same as Secret Garden and UK Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle) and the Virgin books symbol. The US edition has a white spine with black writing and the Penguin books symbol (the same as US Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle).
    johannas-christmas-3-spine-1 johannas-christmas-3-spine-2 johannas-christmas-3-spine-3
  4. Book size – The UK edition is exactly the same size as Johanna Basford’s first two titles (and the same as the UK editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle) – 25cm square, the US edition is slightly larger at around 25.5cm square making it about half a centimetre taller and wider (this is the same size as the US editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle).
    johannas-christmas-4-book-size-1 johannas-christmas-4-book-size-2
  5. Cover colour – The UK cover is bright white, the US cover is ever so slightly off-white though this is only noticeable when placed next to something truly white.
    johannas-christmas-5-cover-colour
  6. Foiling – This is one of the most noticeable differences. The UK edition has stuck with tradition and has gold foiling accents, these are smooth and very shiny and a yellower gold than the UK Magical Jungle foil (this didn’t show up well in photos). Most of the title and lots of aspects of the cover design are foiled. The sheer amount of foiling on the UK edition means that I feel it looks quite tacky and gaudy. The US edition is much more subtle and classy and has a fully foiled title in gold but brand new red and green foiling on the wreath which looks really beautiful!
    johannas-christmas-6-foiling-1 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-2 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-3 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-4 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-5 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-6 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-7 johannas-christmas-6-foiling-8
  7. Spelling differences – As you’d expect, the UK edition has the British spellings throughout of colour etc, the US edition has color (always check your cover as it’s the easiest way of telling if you have a UK or US edition by the spelling of “colouring book”).
    johannas-christmas-7-spelling-differences-1 johannas-christmas-7-spelling-differences-2
  8. Cover design – The image on the cover of the UK edition is ever so slightly smaller and shows a little less all the way around than the US edition, it is not shifted at all like previous covers have been.
    johannas-christmas-8-cover-design-1 johannas-christmas-8-cover-design-2
  9. Blurb – The UK and US editions have completely different blurbs.
    johannas-christmas-9-blurb-1 johannas-christmas-9-blurb-2
  10. Back cover design – The back of the UK edition is identical to the front, minus the foiling. The US edition also has no foiling on the back but the design is printed in a mirror image compared to the front.
    johannas-christmas-10-back-cover-design
  11. Inside covers – On opening out the French flaps, both editions have the same bauble design printed front and back, however the baubles are printed much larger in the UK edition.
    johannas-christmas-11-inside-covers-1 johannas-christmas-11-inside-covers-2
  12. Paper quality – This is one of the biggest differences between the two editions. The paper in each edition is the same as the paper used in that edition of Magical Jungle but they’re not the same as each other, despite assurances from Johanna Basford herself that the paper in the UK and US editions would be identical; I can categorically state that it is NOT. The colour is different, the thickness is different and the surface texture is different. The UK paper is ivory and a much whiter hue, it is a little thinner but feels equally thick as Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest and significantly thicker than Lost Ocean. There is a little tooth but the paper does burnish after a few layers when tested with Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils. The US paper is ivory but a more cream colour though it’s still paler than the cream colour of Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. The paper is the thickest yet and has a more visible tooth, it took far more layers for blending (see direct comparison below with identical numbers of layers with two polychromos pencils on the red and yellow leaf) and still isn’t totally burnished. In both editions water-based pens behave the same way and the paper in both is beautiful to colour on with pens as they glide really well with no feathering or spreading at all. The UK paper seems like it will shadow faster and more easily than the US edition and while I didn’t experience any shadowing in either, the UK paper did seem like it might with very dark colours if not using a light touch. From what I have read online the official Johanna Basford paper is the one used in the US edition, I personally prefer the colour of the UK edition but the US paper is much easier to use pencils on and is less likely to bleed with water-based pens so I have to recommend that one.
    johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-1 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-2 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-3 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-4 johannas-christmas-12-paper-quality-5
  13. Page ink quality – Both books have equally permanent ink when tested with Derwent blender and burnishing pencils. Both smudged ever so slightly but I was pressing hard. I haven’t coloured an image in each with pencil yet to be able to state much about ink transfer, however, my US copy arrived with little bits of print transferred onto the opposite page, presumably just from the weight of being in a stack of books so I’d guess it’s not hugely permanent, my suggestion would be to use a scrap piece of paper behind your colouring in either edition of the book just to be safe, especially between the double page spreads.
    johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-1 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-2 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-3 johannas-christmas-13-page-ink-quality-4
  14. Image size – The images in the UK edition are printed a fair bit smaller than the US edition (up to 1.5cm overall and yes I measured a number of them with a ruler to check) meaning there is a larger white border around the images in the UK book compared to the US book. This difference hasn’t been especially noticeable in previous books but is visibly different in most images in these editions. Those of you with poorer vision or fine motor control would be best purchasing the US edition as the images are larger throughout, those who prefer intricacy should opt for the UK edition.
    johannas-christmas-14-image-size-1 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-2 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-3 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-4 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-5 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-6 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-7 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-8 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-9 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-10 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-11 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-12 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-13 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-14 johannas-christmas-14-image-size-15
  15. Printing – The UK edition is printed in Italy (predominantly, some much whiter versions seem to be appearing and these have apparently been published in China) and the US edition is printed in the US.
    johannas-christmas-15-printing-1 johannas-christmas-15-printing-2
  16. Image Quality – There was a major issue with pixelation in the UK edition of Magical Jungle, I’m pleased to state that at least in my copy there are no printing issues at all and image quality is equally good in the UK and US editions.
    johannas-christmas-16-image-quality-1 johannas-christmas-16-image-quality-2
  17. Introduction page – The text on both editions is laid out and justified differently.
    johannas-christmas-17-introduction-page-1 johannas-christmas-17-introduction-page-2
  18. Binding – The UK edition is stitched and lightly glue-bound whereas the US edition is only glue-bound which will make it less durable and can lead to pages falling out.
    johannas-christmas-18-binding
  19. Thickness – The UK edition is noticeably thinner than the US edition, this will be because the paper is thinner in the UK edition. This also makes the UK edition much bendier than the US edition.
    johannas-christmas-19-thickness-1 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-2 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-3 johannas-christmas-19-thickness-4
  20. Weight – The UK edition is also lighter in weight than the US edition. I have weighed them both and the UK edition weighs 488g and the US edition 514g.
    johannas-christmas-20-weight-1 johannas-christmas-20-weight-2
  21. Backing wallpaper colour – Each single-sided design has one of three festive wallpaper designs on the back because Johanna didn’t want the pages to just be blank. In the UK edition these are printed in a darker grey line than the fainter US edition.
    johannas-christmas-21-backing-wallpaper-colour
  22. Backing wallpaper order – The images are single-sided but 5 are arranged into double-page spreads meaning that the preceding double-page is wallpaper. In the UK edition both sides of the spread are the same wallpaper pattern, in the US edition they are each different though the order throughout on the single pages is the same.
    johannas-christmas-22-backing-wallpaper-order-1 johannas-christmas-22-backing-wallpaper-order-2
  23. Perforations – The perforations are better cut and more obvious in the UK edition and the pages are easier to tear out, they are less visible in the US edition and harder to pull out the pages. Both editions are quite difficult to remove the pages from and the section of the page that is left tends to rip as you’re pulling it out so do be very careful when removing pages to avoid any rips to the pages themselves.
    johannas-christmas-23-perforations-1 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-2 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-3 johannas-christmas-23-perforations-4
  24. Page size – The size of the perforated section of the page is different in each edition and actually neither are square which will making framing them a little bit challenging as they’re not a standard shape or size. You’ll either have to matt and layer in a larger frame or cut off some of the edge of the page on the centralised images to make them a standard size. The UK pages measure approximately 23.4cm x 24.9cm. The US pages measure approximately 24.1cm x 25.2cm.
    johannas-christmas-24-page-size-1 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-2 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-3 johannas-christmas-24-page-size-4

To sum up, if you’ve managed to make it this far, the two biggest factors affecting your decisions are these:

  1. Matching set – If you want your copy of Johanna’s Christmas to match Secret Garden, Enchanted Forest and the UK editions of Lost Ocean and Magical Jungle as much as is currently possible (bearing in mind the difference in paper colour, thickness and level of intricacy), then you want the UK edition because it is exactly the same size but it doesn’t have a removable dust jacket. This is also the best copy to purchase if you prefer higher levels of intricacy or more space to add your own drawings and backgrounds.
  2. Larger, easier to colour images and thicker paper– If your vision or fine motor control aren’t perfect then I’d definitely advise purchasing the US edition of Johanna’s Christmas because the extra (up to) 1.5cm in the images will be useful. The paper is thicker and toothier making it best for pen and pencil users, the US edition is superior in almost every way.

Everything else I’ve listed is not a criticism and doesn’t impact use or enjoyment, I’ve just listed all of the differences to make people aware of what they are and to make it easy to identify which copy is which when looking at pictures of it online and elsewhere. In my opinion, the US edition offers a superior colouring experience to the UK edition and if you’re going to purchase just one copy then I’d suggest it be that one. If you notice any other differences then please do get in touch and I’ll add them to the list! Happy Colouring – You’ve definitely earnt it!

You can read my review of the contents of Johanna’s Christmas, including my mental health recommendations here for the UK and here for the US edition. My comparisons of the UK and US editions of Johanna’s other books can be found here – Lost Ocean & Magical Jungle.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Johanna’s Christmas it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780753557563/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780143129301/?a_aid=colouringitmom

 

Johanna’s Christmas: A Festive Colouring Book (UK Edition) – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
Johanna’s Christmas is published by Virgin Books and is from my personal collection, it’s currently available on Amazon UK though there was a delay for most of us getting them. I also ordered a US edition from Book Depository which I have reviewed HERE and I have also written a comprehensive comparison post of the two which can be found here.

The book itself is 25cm square, the same size as the previous UK editions of Johanna’s books, ever so slightly smaller than the US editions which are all 25.4cm square. It’s paperback with flexible card covers with two third French flaps which open out front and back to reveal a beautiful colourable large-print bauble design. The covers are white with black text, the spine is black with white text and gold foil stars and Christmas trees; the cover has loads of gold foil accents, it’s a bright gold (yellower than the foil used on the UK Magical Jungle) and I personally feel it’s a bit overdone and looks a little tacky and gaudy! Upon opening the book, you find the beautiful title page, followed by the copyright page, name page, and Introduction, including colouring tips from Johanna. Unlike Johanna’s previous books, there isn’t a treasure hunt element, this has been replaced by the quest to find a flock of 63 hidden robins though you may be left scratching your head if you can’t find them all because there are no answer pages at the back. The spine is glue and string-bound making it pretty durable and with a bit of work it’ll lie quite flat. The paper is pale ivory, the same as UK Magical Jungle, different from the US edition of this book and Magical Jungle (those both have the same paper). The paper is a whiter colour and slightly thinner than that in the US edition but is equally as thick as the paper in Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, and far thicker than the paper in Lost Ocean. It’s very lightly textured so it’s easy to get an even coverage with pencils and water-based pens don’t bleed and only barely shadow but this doesn’t matter as the pages are printed single-sided, alcohol markers will bleed through so make sure you put protective sheets behind your work to protect the proceeding page. The images are printed single sided onto perforated pages so you really can use any medium you fancy as long as you either remove the page first or put adequate scrap paper behind the page. On the back of each image is one of 3 grey line-drawn Christmas-themed patterns which you can colour or just leave blank. The majority of the images are single pages but 5 of them are double-page spreads which can easily be coloured as single images as each half is contained to a perforated single page, or paired together either in the book or for framing to create a scene or matching pair. At the back of the book is a double-sided colour palette testing page where you can test all of your mediums to see how they look and behave on the paper.

The 37 images include many of the things you’d expect a Chirstmassy colouring book to include though a quick note here of some of the things you may have expected that aren’t included, Nativity scenes or any religious imagery, no people including no Father Christmas, no Mrs Claus, and no elves because Johanna doesn’t like drawing people, there’s also no Christmas dinner. However, don’t despair, because she really and truly has included everything else that you could possibly wish for from Christmas trees to reindeer, Christmas puddings to sweets, gingerbread houses to robins, and presents of all shapes and sizes. There are wonderful images of a polar bear on an iceberg, a rocking horse, a Gramophone emitting Christmas-themed music, and a stunning cuckoo clock. The illustrations are unmistakable and to me the content is pretty perfect, until now I’ve only purchased one Christmas-themed colouring book because all of the previous books I’ve seen have fallen short in content or not had enough detail for my liking, this book is everything I wanted and is jam-packed with holly, mistletoe, candy canes, poinsettias, wreathes, baubles, stockings, snowflakes, and nutcrackers. The images are presented in a number of forms from a beautiful two page ribbon spread, to a circular frame surrounding an arctic hare, two mandala-style squares and a snowflake shape created from repeating Christmas objects, centralised images, symmetrical patterns and my favourite, a double-page spread of a wonderful living room with a roaring fire, beautifully decorated Christmas tree, and even a carrot, cookie and hot drink left out for Father Christmas and his reindeer.

In terms of mental health, this book is fantastic, especially for those who dream of Christmas all year around like I do! If you’re wanting to get into the festive spirit then I’d suggest settling down wearing a Christmas jumper, putting on a Christmas film or festive music and even breaking out the mince pies or yule log so you can really get into the mood for your colouring. This book offers a wonderful level of escapism, it really transports you to memories of happy Christmas times and the joy of a beautifully decorated tree and perfectly wrapped presents. Those of you who are Christian will probably be disappointed by the lack of religious imagery but Johanna has suggested that she isn’t religious and a great number of us who celebrate Christmas aren’t either so she has kept away from religion and instead kept to illustrations of Winter-themed things and traditional Christmas Day celebrations. The line thickness is consistent throughout and is very thin with spindly thin details. The intricacy and detail levels are drastically reduced from Lost Ocean and are most similar to Enchanted Forest and Magical Jungle so this book will be suited to those with fairly good but not perfect vision and fine motor control (check the images below to ensure it’s suitable for you). The images mostly contain lots of different component parts which make it very easy to colour a small section on days when your concentration is poor, or a much larger section when you’re focusing well. The illustrations also have different amounts of imagery ranging from centralised images with quite large open spaces to double-page spreads with loads of detail and components which will take much longer to complete. There is a real variety of images with some more suited to pens and others more suited to pencils and the use of blending and shading. If you get just one Christmas-themed colouring book, then I’d strongly advise this one, it’s beautiful, single-sided and therefore ideal for any medium, and packed with all of the non-religious Christmas imagery you could possibly wish for! Once you’ve finished a page you can even remove it and frame it and either gift it to someone else or hang it on your wall to add some wonderful festive cheer.

Overall, I can’t recommend this book enough, the illustrations are beautiful and perfectly Wintery and Christmassy, they’re printed single-sided so you can use any medium you wish and frame them once finished, the intricacy is a really good level so the images aren’t boring to colour but also aren’t impossible for people with normal vision. This book is pretty much perfect and it’s certainly got me looking forward to Christmas even more than I already was, it’ll be the perfect present for yourself, and your loved ones!

If you’d like to purchase a copy it’s available here:
UK Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780753557563/?a_aid=colouringitmom
US Edition
Amazon UK – Johanna’s Christmas
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Johanns-Christmas-Johann-Basford/9780143129301/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Stabilo Point 88 Fineliners and Stabilo 68 Fibre-tips. The glittery accents were added using a Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen in Stardust (Clear glitter).

A Christmas Carol: A Colouring Classic – A Review

Disclaimer – Please read this disclosure about my use of affiliate links which are contained within this post.
A Christmas Carol: A Colouring Classic was published and very kindly sent to me by Little Tiger Press. This book is one in a series of five with four other titles already published (Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice, Dracula, and Wuthering Heights). This book is 25cm square, the same size as most bestsellers, paperback with a thick but flexible card cover which has a wallpaper style design printed on the inside of the dust flaps, the cover is predominantly shiny red, with black and white line drawings and text. The spine is glue and string bound and is fairly durable but does start to break if you’re particularly persistent with trying to flatten it. The images are printed double-sided and therefore a number of them do enter the spine a little which makes them tricky to colour. The paper is bright white, thick and lightly textured, I experienced no bleeding or shadowing with any of my water-based pens and I was able to get plenty of layers with my coloured pencils; alcohol markers will bleed through. The majority of the images are double-page spreads and a quote from the original book is printed onto each. The images themselves are arranged into chronological order to loosely tell the story and consist of a number of scenes, quotes, patterns and images depicting something mentioned in the displayed quote. There are images of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob and Tiny Tim Cratchit, heaps and heaps of food, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, the Victorian streets and skyline and so much more. At the end of the book is a double-page spread titled A Very Victorian Christmas which briefly describes some of the traditions that we know today which were popularised by the Victorians. Illustrations that symbolise these things are cleverly pictured throughout the book to enhance the story which is a wonderful addition!

In terms of mental health, this book is ideal if you’re a fan of the original story and love all things Christmassy! The images are drawn in a consistent line thickness which remains thin, with spindly thin details throughout. There is a high level of intricacy and detail in many of the images though there are larger spaces in the images containing people, but mostly you’ll need fairly good vision and fine motor control in order to get the most out of this book. There isn’t a lot of leeway in the images to prevent you going over the lines or missing the details so do bear this in mind and check the suitability of the images below. The images are very pretty and quite ornate, they’ve got a real Victorian feel to them and they really create a sense of place and time and transport you back to Victorian England. The quotes are well chosen to be depicted in the images and to tell the basics of the story. The scenes depict the most crucial moments and are interspersed with images of objects, room scenes from Scrooge’s counting house, and patterns that all fit well with the other imagery and the story itself. Some of the images are busier than others so there is a bit of variance in the amount of time it’ll take to complete each page but mostly they’ll take a good few hours to complete and are therefore most suited to good days where your concentration is high and you can focus well. These images are very distracting and will need you to pay a fair amount of attention so that you stay within the lines so it’s great for absorbing you into the task at hand and would be really good for practising mindfulness as you focus on the here and now. However, it’s equally good at transporting you into the story and into the world of Christmas past. The images are beautifully drawn and very festive with lovely wreaths, Wintry foliage, and wonderful spreads of food shown on multiple pages.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of A Christmas Carol, and those who love Christmas generally, the imagery is beautiful and the quotes are well chosen and it’s a very good way of combining the classic story with symbolic illustrations that you can colour into your own bespoke book. You could even give a fully coloured copy to someone as a thoughtful and personalised gift, though with the amount of time it’d take to complete, it might be very difficult to part with your work!

If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book it’s available here:
Amazon UK – A Christmas Carol: A Colouring Classic
Book Depository Worldwide – http://www.bookdepository.com/Christmas-Carol-Charles-Dickens-Vladimir-Aleksic-Kate-Ware/9781848695412/?a_aid=colouringitmom

The image below was coloured using Sudee Stile Coloured Pencils 120 Set.