Really Big Coloring Books: “You Chose the Topic, We Make Your Book”

Really Big Coloring Books in St. Louis, Missouri aims to make your coloring book dreams come true.  Its lines include LapTop Coloring Books (panoramic flip-top books 17 x 11 inches), Power Panel Coloring Books (8 x 11 inches), Travel Tablet Coloring Books (36 pages 5.5 x 8.5 inches), Promotional-Custom Coloring Books (8 pages with 4-color covers guaranteed in 30 days or less), and the Specialty Coloring Books, which in my opinion are highly collectible.

The Speciality Coloring Book  line is topical, bi-partisan, patriotic, and not always politically correct.  Since 1988, Really Big Coloring Books  has produced pamphlets on Obama, Ted Cruz, 9/11, gun safety, coming out, international terrorism (among other things) and most recently at lightining speed, a “true to life graphic educational comic coloring book about the Coronavirus -COVID 19.”The text covers the bases,including essential information about the virus, ground zero at Wuhan, China, correct hand washing techniques and other methods of prevention, a time line of the disease’s spread between December 2019 and February 26 2020, the United States government’s efforts, and how to stay well-informed as the disease spreads.  The editorial team does a good job keeping it non-partisan and factual.Because the publication is intended for all ages, there is a generous helping of generic “fun” but educational activities that can be done with pencil and paper.  They seem very appropriate for passing time in the doctor’s waiting room.  Maybe some physicians have stocked the magazine racks with copies.Really Big Coloring Books, as the preceding publication shows, can be an excellent citizen as a publisher.  There are other times when the firm goes unapologeticaly rogue, as in this 2019 extravaganza on North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.   Nobody can complain that It wasn’t clearly labeled as inappropriate for persons with crayons under the age of eighteen years.  The staff cartoonists seems to have relished this particular assignment because the graphics are pretty inspired for a coloring book.

The maze and connect-the-dots are the most light-hearted of all the fun activities, although others are cruder.  Dennis Rodman has to take his licks.  The back cover states emphatically that Really Big Coloring Books has no animus against the North Korean people, just the “delusional tyrant who truly believes he is a God amongst humans” who makes their lives miserable.  Are we ready to start living in less interesting times???????

Puzzling through the Pandemic (and National Library Week): An Imaginary Book Case by Colin Thompson

Here is a detail of an imaginary library by English-Australian author-illustrator Colin Thompson.  But it’s not from a book illustration.It is several shelves from a design for a Ravensburger jigsaw puzzle.  After writing and illustrating twenty-four pictures books, writing another nineteen picture books illustrated by other artists, three volumes of poetry, six young adult novels, and the Flood Series in fifteen volumes, Thompson has changed his focus.  Since 2016, he has concentrated on producing illustrations for a smashing series of jigsaw puzzles.

The pieces spread out on a table make an intriguing and colorful display.   Some puzzlers consider a five-hundred piece jigsaw hardly worth bothering with.  Kind of like the Monday New York Times crossword.   If you are the only person in the house putting it together, it’s large enough to take a while, but not so long that despair sets in on those days when nothing wants to fit together.

One of the pleasures of a Colin Thompson puzzle is its whackiness.  This one features fractured book titles. Some of the edge pieces go together relatively fast becauseof the added clue of completing the titles.  And it’s more fun that frustrating to see where some of the some of the surprising details like a flower pot or a honking goose are going to land.

Last week the New York Times ran an article about Ravensburger in Germany.   Demand for their jigsaw puzzles has increased so much since the beginning of the pandemic, that the firm can’t produce them fast enough.  And the process can’t be sped up because of the emphasis on quality.  So have fun scrolling through the list of Colin Thompson puzzles and dream for the days when stores will be able to keep them in stock again.