Thursday, December 22, 2011

Owllkids Celebration Week: My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales

My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales: 150 Ways to Doodle, Scribble, Color and Draw -- Illustrated by Berengere Delaporte


My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales: 150 Ways to Doodle, Scribble, Color and Draw is a big (9.5" x 10.5"), bold (160 pp) drawing activity book for the 4-and-up set. I'll get to the meat of the book first and save the varnish for later—this book is a total imagination jump-start, encouraging and daring at every turn. It's activities (dares, really!) are so thoughtful, creative, and inspiring, it's NOT JUST FOR KIDS. Really. I challenge any adult to flip through this book and not get carried away with these drawing challenges. They keep on coming, one just as crazy and fun as the last, and you simply cannot help but turn the page to see what you're going to be drawing next.

In order for this book to have any potential at being successful at it's goals, the art has to just... be right. The tone of the art work used to encourage the reader would have to meet a specially defined set of criteria: It's got to be accessible. It's got to be loose and non-intimidating. It's got to be light enough (in all respects) to encourage free-styling atop it, above it, beside it, and all over it. And it's got to have real soul in order to encourage interaction with it, to begin with. That's a tall order, and it takes a highly skilled visual communicator. Enter French illustrator Berengere Delaporte. She's certainly master of line work... but her art transcends the page. It's got true personality and a consistent tone. It consistently communicates a point of view, and along with that comes a genuine (and genuinely batty!) sense of humor. It's not only fun to look at but it's a work-horse—having the ability to transport the child into the moment, and out of their own possible self-consciousness around drawing or being creative. I guess what I'm saying is that it t truly has the potential to "draw" a child's creativity out of the shell. 



Every page has a brief, bold-text, easy-to-read sentence describing the mischievous drawing challenge before the reader. The tone of the writing (and each challenge) is very much in tune with the tone of the art. All things considered, since every activity in the book is also ultimately a collaboration-of-sorts with Berengere, there is an "invisible friend factor" to the book. I can absolutely see this book keeping a young kid under it's creative spell for hours and hours of imaginative fun! Boy do I wish I had this book when I was younger... but it's so nice that I can still enjoy it today!

I honestly have never experienced (or been so thoroughly charmed) by a such distinct and genuinely quirky sense of humor in any children's activity book. The humor and tone is irreverent and disarming. It's so appropriately wacky for the target demographic (Grade 2), yet there is nothing about this book that is not smart, sophisticated even. Every bit of this book was intellegently crafted, from the art to the writing, to the actual physical construction of the book . It's hefty. For a paperback, it's fairly bulletproof— built for lots of use. The pages are a nice, substantial drawing paper weight that should go the distance with crayons, pencil, pen and marker. The cover is a matte coated finish heavy weight stock.

My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales is one of a series of four drawing activity books by Owlbooks. The folks who spearheaded this book series project have managed to find themes that are at once universally loved and yet also fit into a snug niche. A child will be thrilled to experience one of these books themed to their own current obsession. Check out all of the titles here. If you'd like to test-drive the series, there are downloadable activity pages on this page, as well.

I am so crazy for My Beastly Book of Twisted Tales, I quickly purchased two in the series for Christmas gifts. These books are an unexpected way to encourage creativity in kids'. They won't know what came over them, they will be obsessed with these books. I fully anticipate it!




This post concludes the Owlkids Book Celebration Week... But wait!
Please leave a comment on any of this week's Owlkids review blog posts, and be automatically entered into a drawing to a smashing gift prize of ALL the books reviewed this week! Drawing time will be held Tuesday December 27. Please make sure to get your comment in by Monday December 26 to be entered (please include email address or twitter handle)!

12 comments:

Diandra Mae said...

What a fab review! I'm definitely intrigued by the possibilities of this title. Will have to add it to my TBB list. :)

Chelsea R said...

This looks like an absolutely fantastic activity book for kids. All of the books you've featured this week would be huge hits at our house. Merry Christmas!
river26[at]gmail[dot]com

jemrah said...

My daughter loves to draw and doodle - this book would be perfect for her

t said...

Those illustrations are fantastic!!!! BRAVO!

zaraalexis said...

This book looks glorious for my kids---and ME! I like the fact that it's described as "bulletproof" and is a witty, artistic book. seven year-old shows a talent for the arts and loves drama and arts and crafts. Here's to wonderful drawing for the New Year and some great family fun! Thanks for the review.

Laura Zarrin said...

These all look like great books!!

melinda beavers said...

What a wonderful discovery! It took me all day to finally get around to reading this post… but I'm SO glad I did. I can't wait to get a closer look at these books. Thanks for the review!

pamalot said...

thank you for the review,
I am always looking for books to keep the kids busy and they would like these

Skees said...

Wow what a fun book! So many great pictures and easy to follow instructions. @SleegsSkees

Ms. O said...

Oh ... they all look super fun. Would love to share these with my students! @senoritao

Patty Mynczywor said...

Great review, Kathy! I actually checked out this book at my local bookstore after reading your post. It IS really all you wrote about. My daughter turns 8 in Jan. and is an avid drawer. This would make for an amazing gift for her birthday. Thanks for the chance at this drawing.

Andi Butler said...

Definitely putting the series on our list!! Love Rapunzel's hair! ; )

a : )