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Where did this mania for colouring-in come from?

Sure, we all did it (and enjoyed it) as young children. I remember begging to be allowed to (very carefully) colour in the pictures in some of my favourite books. OK that was a long time ago and children's books were illustrated with line-drawings then.

Which I guess is not so far removed from the colouring books for adults - and all other age-groups – which are flooding the marketplace. Now it's cool to give a box of coloured pencil as a gift. The 'addicts' say it relieves stress, helps concentration and is a lot of fun.

Cue: enter this latest one - a colouring-in book with a twist. Animorphia is just that next step along from a straight 'keep within the lines' book. This one has puzzles and observation tests and room to draw-your-own (and then colour that in!). So you may be keeping your eyes peeled for crazy critters such as a surfing alien or a laptop or a playing card or a grumpy caterpillar integrated into a densely drawn picture of swans, their feathers choc-a-block with tiny creatures, or a pack of wolves racing along with flowers and starfish and goodness knows what else. The answers are at the back - but, then, who wants to spoil a good workout for their brain and eyes?

Of course most pages allow you to colour at your leisure, but some give you room to embellish butterfly or croc outlines yourself, or more jellyfish if there don't seem enough on a page. You get the idea. It's a fun book for any age and even if you've missed it for Christmas, there is a whole year of birthdays ahead – and Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day too. As we said, Animorphia is for everyone!

Now - where did I leave my coloured pencils?

Animorphia, by Kerby Rosanes, published by O'Mara Books (distributed by Hardie Grant Books), 2015, rrp A$24.95, paperback. 

- reviewed by Sally Hammond



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