Rhapsody in the Forest is a Japanese colouring book by Kanoko Egusa, a freelance designer and illustrator from Sendai (north of Tokyo). This is her first colouring book, followed up by Menuet De Bonheur (Minute of Happiness) which I will hopefully be reviewing soon.
This book is nothing short of remarkable. The illustrations are so incredibly beautiful and captivating with a charm and whimsy I absolutely adore. Rhapsody in the Forest takes you into a utopia where animals live freely, untouched by the human race and technology. It depicts delicate and exquisite plants and nature, abundant blooms, delightfully antique architecture, pleasant landscapes and of course very cute animals. From foxes giving each other bouquets of flowers to secret locked doors in treetrunks, you don't get much more whimsical and fanciful than this book.
It takes you through all four seasons, portraying April showers, newborn chicks and playful lambs in spring, juicy fruit trees and bountiful blossoms in summer, falling leaves and harvest yields in autumn, and finally Christmas wreaths, inquisitive reindeer and snowy scenes in winter. There are a mixture of double page spreads and single, standalone illustrations. At the rear of the book there are two bonus pages in a cream/beige colour which contain postcards and gift tags that you can colour and keep or gift to a loved one.
This 92-page 25 x 25cm square book has very similar paper to Mysterious Planets, another Japanese book I have reviewed. I'm not sure if this is the standard stock for colouring books over there but if so it's an excellent choice; the stock is lovely. It is a dull white and feels slightly coarse, ideal for coloured pencil blending. It is double sided but waterbased pens do not bleed or shadow, and watercolour paints can be used with very minimal buckling. Pens seem to glide across the surface of this paper rather than soaking in and pilling the tooth, which is a joy to experience and not something often found when using anything other than alcohol markers.
The line weight is fine in most areas and although there are pages with much content to colour there is nothing I would describe as too intricate or detailed.
The dust jacket has a very recycled look & feel with line art covering the front, back and french flaps. The cover itself is a thick brown card with burgundy illustration, which maintains that rustic, vintage feel that the subject matter exudes.
Unsurprisingly, for books of this quality and the caliber of illustrations you are going to be paying a hefty price- and that's before you add on the international postage cost. Usually these Japanese/Korean books have to be shipped in from the country of origin, but amazingly I have found a UK stockist of not only this book but lots more stunning colouring books from Asia! Check the bottom of this review for the link to buy. Postage is super cheap but the book is still more expensive than most, though it really is worth it if you love whimsical designs and colouring books from other parts of the world.
Here is my finished page, coloured with Staedtler Fibre Colour pens.
I was given this book in exchange for an honest review. It is back in stock on 23/24th March 2017 at the link below:
Rhapsody in the Forest by Kanoko Egusa