Current Price: £6.99
Number of Pages: 104
Size: 21 x 21cm
Paper colour: White
Paper surface: Smooth
Paper thickness: Thin
One sided: Yes
Drawings go into the spine: Some
Waterbased pen bleed: Yes
Sarah Janisse Brown is the creator of over 100 books, and mother of TEN children, all of whom she has home educated! Sarah is also the founder of Dyslexia Games, a company which helps dyslexic people learn to read through fun. Amazing lady! Secret Village is just one of her many colouring books, published via another one of her and her husband's enterprises, The Thinking Tree Publishing Company.
This book is all about hidden homes and communities beneath the forest floor, in hollow tree trunks and curled around roots. There are a few animals sprinkled throughout but mainly it focuses on the miniature underground lands- think 'The Borrowers' and you won't be far off!
All the illustrations are hand-drawn and have a sketchy quality as opposed to clean, crisp lines. Some of the images are a little fuzzy; a grey, photocopied look, but its unclear whether this is bad printing or they were not uploaded in a high enough resolution. The paper is typical CreateSpace quality- very thin and insubstantial. Luckily the lovely designs are one-sided, but it's unfortunate that the flimsiness and printing don't do them justice. There is a A4 edition on sale, and a Journal, but I'm not sure whether the quality is any better.
Most of the illustrations are extremely intricate whilst a few have wide open spaces; the more detailed pages have wobbly lines that touch and often don't give you a place to go with your pens. I don't mind this too much though, it adds to the hand-drawn nature of the book. There are a lot of very similar drawings, so in future editions I might suggest whittling them down to the best ones which are all distinctive from each other.
Despite the problems with this book, the quaint beauty of the tiny worlds Sarah has created is undeniable. If there was a cardstock Artist's Edition of the book with clearer printing it would be on my favourites shelf for sure. It reminds me of a doll's house but for mice!
Here's my finished picture, coloured with Staedtler Triplus felt pens.
You can find Secret Village on Amazon here: