December 11, 2016 by I SNIFF BOOKS - Beth
It is tremendously exciting that US publisher St. Martin’s Press has been getting reprinting rights to publish English-language editions of so many Japanese and Korean coloring books in 2016! Mysterious Planets: A Coloring Book by Ai Kohno was first published in Japan in December 2015 by Graphic-Sha Publishing and the English-language edition by St. Martin’s Press will be available worldwide on December 20, 2016!!
Mysterious Planets begins with a one-page story introducing us to an unnamed girl who wishes she could fly. One night while she is gazing up at the starry night sky, she suddenly turns into a bird and flies away into the night sky. During her journey, she visits six planets — The Planet of Forests, The Planet of Sea, The Planet of Snow, The Planet of Flowers, The Planet of Sweets, and The Planet of Magic.
The book concludes with a one-page Afterword written by Ai Kohno — it’s quite lovely to read and I wish more coloring books included such long, personal statements from the artist. The final seven pages feature intricately illustrated alphabet letters printed on soft blush paper. It’s a nice bonus to see more illustrations by Ai Kohno but I’m not sure how these illustrations fit in with the theme of Mysterious Planets — the letters seem a bit out of place.
Book specs: Mysterious Planets is sized nearly 10 x 10 inches with 96 pages. The book has a glossy, full-color, removable dust jacket and the book covers are light brown card decorated with black ink line drawings of each of the six planets. The book is glue and string bound which permits the book to lay considerably flat when open. However, on some of the borderless images and double-page spreads it may be a bit of challenge to get your pencil into the book’s gutter (center spine) to color. Images are printed on both sides of non-perforated, very smooth, white paper. The paper is medium-weight. There are three double-page spreads featuring wallpaper designs.
Inky line specs: One unusual thing I noticed is that on several of the images there are only what I can describe as pencil markings (or faint inky lines) that should not be there.
I haven’t seen pencil markings mixed with inky lines in a coloring book before with the exception of Po drugiej stronie snu (On the other side of sleep) — but that mix seemed like an intentional (and beautiful) artistic style choice by Polish artist Karolina Kubikowska. The “markings” on some of the pages in Mysterious Planets just look odd — like they don’t belong, like they weren’t meant to be in the final image.
It seems Book Depository has gotten their stock in early as the book is no longer in pre-order status and is available for purchase.
Links to reviews and book news posts for English-language editions of other Japanese and Korean Coloring Books published by St. Martin’s Press:
Mysterious Planets by Japanese artist Ai Kohno
Romantic Country: The Second Tale by Japanese artist Eriy
Romantic Country: The First Tale by Japanese artist Eriy
The Story of Pandora: A Fantasy Coloring Book by Korean artists Kim Sun Hyun and Song Geum Jin
The Land of Dreams: An Animal Fantasy Coloring Book by Korean artists Kim Sun Hyun and Song Geum Jin
Time of Memory: A Coloring Book by Korean artists Kim Sun Hyun and Song Geum Jin
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher. I was not required nor obligated to write a review. The opinions are my own.
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