Double Review for Fairies The Colouring Book of Secrets and Santa Claus The Book of Secrets Christmas Colouring Book


September 10, 2016 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog


Russell Ince is an author/illustrator from the UK and is the creator of two books, Fairies The Book of Secrets and Santa Claus The Book of Secrets. The art and book design for these books is quite lovely and there is a special magical and wondrous vibe on every page. (You can click to see interior page previews from the Fairies and Santa Claus books.)

Russell has taken the illustrations from both books and created two coloring books: Fairies The Colouring Book of Secrets and Santa Claus The Book of Secrets Christmas Colouring Book. I eagerly anticipated the arrival of both coloring books — I couldn’t wait to see how the books’ imagery would translate to inky line drawings for coloring.

But to be painfully honest, when the coloring books arrived, I was incredibly disappointed. IMHO, there is a major disconnect between the imagery in the books and the imagery in the coloring books. I was expecting pages filled with Fairy and Santa Claus/Christmas related imagery. Instead, both coloring books are primarily filled with wallpaper, repeating pattern, and mirror-image designs. I kept searching the coloring books in vain hoping to find imagery reminiscent of the lovely, magical, and wondrous imagery from the original books — sadly, there was not much to find.

For a point of reference, Fairies The Colouring Book of Secrets has 45 coloring pages and only 12 pages feature designs that are not wallpaper, repeating pattern, or mirror-image designs. Santa Claus The Book of Secrets Christmas Colouring Book has 45 pages and only 8 pages feature designs that are not wallpaper, repeating pattern, or mirror-image designs.

It’s entirely possible that you may feel different about both coloring books as art is so subjective. Below is a silent video flick-through of both books — you can click the arrows in the bottom right hand corner of the video screen and make it full size.

As a side note, both books were produced very well. The books are sized 8.75 x 10.25 inches and have sturdy covers with gold foiling accents. The designs are printed on both sides of medium-weight white paper and the books lay considerably flat when open. On the reverse side of the title page I discretely tested my Stabilo point 68 pens and Staedtler Triplus Color Markers — both shadowed a bit but did not bleed through the page.

Both coloring books are available in Russell’s online shop.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy from the artist in exchange for a review. The opinions are my own.

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8 thoughts on “Double Review for Fairies The Colouring Book of Secrets and Santa Claus The Book of Secrets Christmas Colouring Book

  1. Lori Petkovic says:

    Well, that was disappointing!!! I would love to have the 8 non-wallpaper Christmas pictures tho! Those are what I was expecting to see in this book 😦 I am so glad I did not order either of these and so very disappointed

  2. Patricia Sundberg says:

    Both books are beautiful, but the type is very common. I don’t know what I am expecting to find, but it seems that every book I see in the last few months is very similar to books I already have. These included. I guess designing a “new” idea is very difficult to do. But I will keep searching. One thing this review has done is make me want to purchase the original Santa Claus The Book of Secrets for my grandchildren. Thank you again, for your review. It was right-on.

    • Beth says:

      Yes, there are sooooo many coloring books out there that it is hard for a coloring book to stand out on the shelf and bring something new to the coloring experience.

      I’m glad that I was able to “introduce” you to Russell and that you want to purchase his original Santa Claus book. From what I’ve seen online, that book definitely seems very magical and very unique. If you do pick up a copy, I hope you and your family love it.

  3. Katrina Turner says:

    I purchased the Christmas book and not knowing what to expect was satisfied with the images in the book. They were Christmassy in design and the added bonus the book was signed and numbered, a bonus for me.

    • Beth says:

      Katrina, I am truly glad to hear that you bought the Christmas Book without knowing what to expect content-wise and were pleased with the book when it arrived. That is really special that your coloring book was signed and numbered!

  4. Tammy says:

    I’ve been drooling over these books since I saw the Santa Claus one pinned on Pinterest. However, when I checked, shipping to Texas was way, way, WAY overpriced (almost 3/4 the price of the book). I kept going back to the site however, and my (newly!) fiancée kept saying “get the book”! I was about to bite the bullet, so a BIG THANK YOU BETH for saving me money, but most importantly from the disappointment I’d have felt when I began looking through it.

    Sigh…..those wallpaper designs, does anyone like them, really? I’ve seen some beautifully done, but I skip them in every book. They’re just not my thing. But other than the usual complaints to Johanna Basford (paper too thin, should be single sided, to detailed, not detailed enough……) the wallpaper seems to be one of the things most people don’t care for. I guess she set the trend for wallpaper designs, as you never saw that kind of design in adult coloring before her books. They seem to be easy enough to do though, as JB showed the process of drawing one small bit of the wallpaper pattern, and then using the computer to turn the designs and piece them together. Maybe that’s why everyone includes them now?

    Thanks again, Beth. Love the site (as you can tell from my many comments. Lol).

    • Beth says:

      Hey there Tammy and thank you again for stopping by and leaving a comment — and for the compliment on my blog 🙂

      I don’t enjoy writing unfavorable reviews, but it’s important for me to be honest with my myself and those who read my reviews — so I am glad to hear you found my review helpful. I guess you can use the money you were going to spend on this book and perhaps purchase a different one(s) 😉

      I don’t understand wallpaper designs either — or repeating pattern or mirror image designs, but I suppose, in a way, they are all really the same thing. They’re not my thing either no matter who the artist is. I always skip over those pages in coloring books — to me, they feel like filler material and a missed opportunity to have an actual coloring page with all sorts of different things to color.

      There’s got to be somebody ( or lots of somebodies) out there that likes these kinds of pages as they frequently pop up in all coloring books and there’s even entire coloring books dedicated to wallpaper patterns! Have you seen this one?!

      That is very fascinating to hear that JB is the one who started the wallpaper design trend.

      P.S. Congrats on your engagement!!!

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