by Lucy Fyles

escape-to-wonderlandEscape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure
Publisher: Puffin
Copyright: 2015
Number of designs: just under 100
ISBN-10: 014136615X
ISBN-13: 978-0141366159

Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure is published by Puffin Books and is part of my personal collection. This book is illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors, who are a creative partnership of two Glasgow School of Art graduates – you can find them on their Facebook page.

This is a beautiful book that is essential for any Alice in Wonderland fan’s colouring collection. It is smaller than most at 7.2 inches square, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a gorgeous book, and the size means the images aren’t daunting. It’s also perfect for taking with you for colouring on the go.

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 blue background with white line-drawn images of flowers, mushrooms, pocket watches and owls. The cover has silvery-gold foiling accents which really add to the luxury of the book and are a lovely bit of extra detailing.

There are 96 pages with double-sided images — borderless, so a little of each image is lost into the glue-bound spine. I found the spine very tight when it arrived, but with some work it has now loosened up a lot and lies flatter. The pages are cream-colored and lightly textured. I thought would be ideal for pencils, but I found it a little hard to get many layers. 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.

escape-to-wonderland-2The paper is thick enough to use water-based pens and didn’t bleed or shadow on the sample I did. I’ve not yet coloured a whole image with pens, though, so be sure to test the pens you’re using to avoid any disasters. Alcohol markers are a definite no —they will bleed terribly and ruin the reverse images.

Review Breakdown

  • Complexity: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Book Size: 7.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Design Borders: none – some designs go all the way to the edge of the paper
  • Design Lines: medium thickness
  • Paper: above-average
  • Printing: double-sided
  • Binding: glue-bound

The images themselves are drawn in a thin line that is pretty consistent throughout so the difficulty level doesn’t change. So 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 almost every page contains a quote from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. So you always know where you are, though that’s not necessary for die-hard fans who pretty much know it off by heart. It’s good for people who are new to the story, though, and it’s a great reminder of some of the classic quotes which never fail to put a smile on my face.

In terms of mental health, I found this book great because it instantly transported me back to my childhood. It brought back happy memories of watching many different film adaptations, and staring at the pictures in my illustrated versions of Lewis Caroll’s original books. Many of the images are of plants, animals and scenes or objects — the things I’m most interested in colouring — so I was in my element and really struggled to narrow it down to just one picture to colour in for my review.

I really enjoyed just looking through at the images and reliving the story. While the images are fairly stylised, and different from Sir John Tenniel’s originals, it’s very obvious what each scene is depicting and who each character is. I didn’t notice anything missing apart from the Duchess, who isn’t featured in any of the images. All of the classic characters and scenes are in there, however, from the pool of tears, to the caucus race; the croquet match to the lobster quadrille; the trial to meeting the giant caterpillar. Alice is beautifully drawn throughout, in a number of different styles. There are individual images of the gryphon, mock turtle, white rabbit, mouse and dodo, all exquisitely drawn and just waiting to be coloured. The only drawing I’m not so keen on is that of the Cheshire cat. He’s been drawn with petals around his eyes and it just looks a little odd and not very true to the original. However, this is my only gripe — the rest of the book is truly beautiful.

I would highly recommend this book, especially to those who are fans of Alice. Not only is this a beautiful colouring book, it’s also a wonderful pictorial retelling of a classic story that so many of us love. The book is really cohesive and I found it great for my own mental health. Hopefully it’ll be just as good for yours, too, as it transports you back to childhood and into the magical world of Wonderland.

This book has been selling out on Amazon, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for it. [Note for US readers – the International version of the book is listed for release in November.] If you’re on the look out for other Alice in Wonderland-themed books, then head over to my review of The Macmillan Alice Colouring Book

Editor’s Note:

Lucy is a UK member of my Facebook group, Coloring Books for Adults. She reviews books specifically for those suffering from mental illness. Lucy is able to bring a unique viewpoint to this target group, as both a person who suffers from her own severe anxiety disorder, and as someone who has worked with psychiatric inpatients. You can read Lucy’s blog for more information, or connect with her through Facebook.

(Since the UK uses the alternate spelling of “colour”, you’ll find “coloured pencils” and other alternate spellings used in her reviews.)

Do you have this book? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments!

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