Following on from my review of Laurence King’s storytelling aids, they were kind enough to send me some more of their books to take a look at. This time, two that foster physical creativity. As I have come to expect from Laurence King, both books are beautiful and made with excellent production values.
The first is Stickyscapes: New York by Tom Froese. A sticker book featuring… er… New York. Unlike many sticker books, this is not a one shot, tear-the-stickers-if-you-want-to-move-them-again affair. The stickers here are reusable, allowing you and your children to create different cityscapes over and over again.
There are two city scenes to choose from, which fold out from the book, each 11.5″ tall and 49″ long. Since it’s double sided, you can only easily work on side at a time. One side depicts modern New York City, the other is “historical and imaginary” (including not only some of New York’s oldest buildings, workmen sitting on girders, and a Zeppelin, but also a hidden rocket launch pad and a superhero’s secret HQ. At the back of the sticker section, there is a key detailing all the major buildings depicted in the book. It’s fun AND educational.
The stickers (of which there are over 100) are fun too, again ranging from the traditional (Statue of Liberty, Staten Island Ferry) to more mythical beings (alligators in the sewers, a giant, woman-wielding gorilla). Lots of famous people are included–Captain Kidd, George Washington, and Harry Houdini. Also Jackson Pollock, Marilyn Monroe, and even Holden Caulfield. For a more creative take on New York life, you’ll find a monster, an alien, and a host of superheroes
One of the nicest things about Stickyscapes: New York is that the cityscape pictures completely detach from the sticker part of the book, with a good strong perforation. Flipping back and forth through this type of book can often be a deal breaker with my children, but this makes it nice and easy for them to lay everything out and work out what stickers they want to use where. This is a great book, and the resuable stickers greatly increases its appeal.
To the Moon by Sarah Yoon continues the current craze for high quality coloring books which are saturating the market at the moment. As Laurence King published one of the books that started off the trend, Secret Garden, they know what they are doing with this type of product. To the Moon is no second-rate, bandwagon-jumping imitation. Having said that, the illustrations in To the Moon are definitely aimed at younger hands than The Secret Garden. My children aren’t huge color-inners, but they love this book, or at least they love the idea of it (they’ve been a little slow to put their money where there mouth is). I love this coloring book. If I wasn’t too busy trying to recreate Anthony Karcz’s “GeekDad Paints!” series, I’d definitely be cracking out my coloring pencils and having a crafty art session.
The biggest draw for children, young and old, is that the whole picture is 15ft long, or “the Tallest Coloring Book in the World.” How cool is that? This means that if you have multiple children, they can all work on it together, which makes for a really nice collaborative end product, or at least it will if you avoid the almost inevitable “All Wanting to Work on the Same Section” syndrome.
The picture is of a huge Babelesque tower reaching from the ground to the Moon (the clue being in the book’s title), but this is not a Burj Khalifa-style, featureless glass, compensatory monolith, it’s a building rendered by a fevered imagination. It starts in a tree, features all manner of pipework, archways, and pointed roofs, and also an octopus, a dragon, and three giant fishbowls containing hammerhead sharks. I could go on, but I’ll leave you to discover the intricacies yourself.
Stickyscapes: New York and To the Moon are excellent incarnations of what they do. You’ll struggle to find better coloring or sticker books out there, especially for slightly older children, my 7- and 10-year-olds have both really enjoyed them. If you’re looking for something to spur creativity, Laurence King have delivered once again.
I received review copies of both books mentioned in this review, and both are available to buy now.