Fairy tales and fables are timeless and have been handed down through the ages by generations. Sometimes, though the story may be centuries old, the presentation may be new. Selina Fenech is both a writer of stories and reader/fan of tales. She has drawn and painted many beautiful pieces of art and created a plethora of fantastic coloring books… of which quite a few have found their way into my studio. Yes, I admit it I have a treasured collection of Selina Fenech coloring books, along with a “Memory’s Wake Trilogy” collection… but that’s another story (literally).
This collection features a variety of characters and stories. Some stories are, of course, familiar to me; a few stories I have heard of, but they are not as well known; and, surprisingly, a couple are unknown to me. The range of tales featured makes this collection extra special for all ages. We can enjoy coloring illustrations of characters and scenes we heard tales of since we were knee high, and then we are introduced to characters less familiar or completely new to us.
The best part is the included story summaries in a lighter gray on the even pages (opposite the image) that give an explanation of each story and the characters featured. This works well as a refresher for the stories I have heard of, but do not remember as well, and is a great curiosity creator for the unknown tales because now I want to seek them out and read them. I think for any age this will be appreciated by readers and maybe help encourage others to read a bit more.
Let me take you from cover to cover.
The front cover features beautiful colors with a painted scene and red border. I like the red that this printed, it is rich, and the other colors look fantastic. Snow White rests after falling to the ground next to that poisoned apple that put her to sleep, while in the shadowed woods the evil queen in disguise smirks and walks away from her evil deed. The scene, though a sad one for the story, looks beautiful and the attention to detail is appreciated.
The first page is a cute “This Book Belongs To” with lines to write inside a wreath with an adorable frog wearing a crown, the poisoned apple, and a glass slipper. This may seem little compared to the coloring pages, but I love it AND it is colorable too!
The copyright page follow, with an write-up by Selina about her coloring books, and other information.
The third page features a thumbnail of all 25 illustrations. I think these are a great addition and a good idea. I put the thumbnails on my books’ back covers, but having them inside the book and towards the front also helps online shoppers, particularly at Amazon, preview all the images contained in the book. Plus, if you are extra crafty, have kids or are one, and don’t mind losing the first “Beauty and the Beast” story summary on the back, you can cut these thumbnails out to make the perfect doll size coloring collection!
The coloring pages are on the odd pages, or the right side of a two page spread when the book is open. On the even pages, or left side (opposite the coloring page) is a fairy tale summary. Then on the back of that page comes the next story summary and so forth.
Highlights about each page:
Beauty and the Beast with the enchanted rose under glass inside the castle is the first coloring page.
Cinderella’s scene is full of details (love that full moon!) showing Cinderella fleeing down the stairs as the Fairy Godmother’s spells fade away, leaving her both in rags and her ballgown, as she looks back towards the castle and the prince. With clouds, the moon, the castle, stairs, roses, and ivy just about every pencil in my box could have a turn on just this page.
Okay, maybe I should just say that the details in just about every scene/coloring page are wonderful and look fantastic enough to hang on the wall just as the line art! The Little Mermaid is no exception, and one of my favorites of course (not that I was ever mermaid obsessed as a kid… cough, cough). She is amidst ship wreckage and splashing waves as she looks toward the human she rescued and a castle in the distance. There are even seashells and starfish to color.
Diamonds and Toads was a story not as well known to me and this was the first story summary that was most helpful to me. I have heard of it, but not read it, and the two sisters and scene portrayed were done nicely for this odd tale. (No spoilers)
I love Thumbelina’s page with the butterfly pulling her on a lily pad and the toad in the water. This page is beautiful and has lilies, reeds, water, and other details of Thumbelina’s macro world that allow a whole spectrum of colored pencils to add a bit of color.
Red Riding Hood with her basket and famous hood strolls through a woodland scene with the WOLF, lookout Miss Hood his eyes are far too big, in the foreground no doubt maliciously planning some naughtiness!
Snow White (the other one) and Rose Red care for the bear in their home on the next page. The dresses, carpet, and hearth make for a nice variety of little details as well as larger blocks to color.
The Snow Queen features the three main characters and a reindeer. Both the queen’s throne and the window are full of details that could be done as frost and ice or like a stained glass window…. or both since there are TWO copies in this book.
Goose Girl and Vasilisa the Wise are the next two pages and both are tales I am less familiar with. Both summarize their tales well, I think.
The Frog Prince features the princess, the frog wearing a crown, and the well surrounded by flowers… lovely irises by the way… and leaves part of the background to the colorist. This is great because everyone will have their own idea; maybe a mix of greens, perhaps stones of a castle wall, or maybe clouds and stars.
Scheherazade sits with a book amidst pillows, carpets, and curtains by a window with a night scene. All the accessories as well as the main character and her dress offer a lot of color choices and I am glad there are two copies to enjoy.
Wild Swans show the princess with some of her brothers, in swan form, in a beautiful scene. I have heard of this story, but do not remember it as well as Thumbelina and others. This is a beautiful and curious scene even if you do not know the story it tells.
Rapunzel’s tower scene has roses, plants, and the prince in the distance below. I really like how the perspective is and that her long locks are both braided and loose hair.
Snow White, part of which was used as the cover, is full size on the following coloring page and here we can see a castle far off in the distance as well as more flowers and branches in the foreground in addition to the sleeping maiden, poisoned apple, and Evil Queen.
The Princess and the Pea shows the young maid atop her lofty pile of mattresses with a ladder in front. Each mattress is a different pattern giving every pencil a chance to color again. This would be a good one to play around by mixing colors.
Sleeping Beauty’s dress is beautiful and the spinning wheel she rests upon looks great. This is another one I just adore the perspective, or maybe rather the framing with the roses, leaves, and stone archway framing the princess and the spinning wheel.
East of the Sun and West of the Moon shows the girl and the bear with a Northern Lights scene! Yes, at long last a coloring page with Aurora Borealis. I love it. I also enjoy this tale. I believe this is the story the movie ‘The Polar Bear King” was based upon. (Good movie, lovely music and cinematography).
Rumpelstiltskin looks none too pleased as the miller’s daughter sits atop a pile of straw contemplating his offer. Her dress has fine details and the straw can be colored in a variety of yellows, tans, greens, and more.
The little bear’s bed that Goldilocks is sleeping on has what looks like little paw print-like lace on the edges! How cute is that! Her curly hair is adorable and her ruffled dress and bows. The Three Bears, seen out the window, may have already seen their uninvited house guest. Oh dear, she even took a bowl and spoon to bed with her.
Aladdin holds the genie’s lamp amidst a scene that could be colored to be a dreamlike wish or a desert sandstorm or clouds.
The Twelve Dancing Princesses are heading off into the night again, oh their poor father. Each princess wears a different style dress and accessories. The closer girls are the easiest to color, and the farthest through the archway will be the most challenging. I like how this can be both a challenge to color that small or colored simply since they are farther in the distance.
Hansel and Gretel’s page gives opportunities for a lot of color with the candy covered house and path leading from the woods.
Puss in Boots stands next to the Miller’s son with a windmill in the distance. I especially like the addition of the wheat and the cat is just so cute.
The final coloring page shows Jack climbing down the beanstalk with the golden goose under one arm and two eggs in his satchel. The perspective on this one is also fantastic and the vines and large leaves could be colored in many ways.
As previously mentioned, there are two copies of each illustration. The collections are separated by a divider page which has Thumbelina and the butterfly, giving us a nice little bonus coloring page.
Near the end of the book, after both collections of coloring pages, Selina has included a selection of previews for some of her other coloring books. This is a GREAT idea and welcomed sneak peek to see what her other coloring collections have to offer.
Each preview page shows the cover of the featured book in black and white (though the book cover if purchased will be in color), 8 small previews, and one 4″ x 5″ sized preview that is colorable. Although larger than the thumbnails at the beginning of the book, these small pictures offer another opportunity for the crafty to create a doll sized coloring collection.
The books featured are “Mermaids: Calm Ocean” (I have this Mermaids book and highly recommend it!), “Gothic: Dark Fantasy”, “Faedorables: Sweet and Simple” (also have this one), and “Goddess and Mythology”.
There is also a preview of her grayscale coloring books on another page, showing the covers of “Fairy Companions”, “Fairy Art”, “Memory’s Wake: Victorian Romance” (have this LOVE it!”), “Mermaids”, and “Enchanted”. AND there is a 4″ x 5″ grayscale preview that is colorable of a dragon and fairy.
The final pages are “About the Author” and tips for how to use the book.
The back cover shows a little hint of “Wild Swans” across the top (also colorable if you like with markers), as well as Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella and full color previews of “Unicorns & Dragons: Enchanting Fantasy”, “Victorian Romance: The Memory’s Wake Coloring Book”, and “Fairy Magic: Whimsical Fantasy Coloring Book” all of which I have and can highly recommend to colorists or collectors, as well as “Goddess and Mythology”.
I have a variety of these books and my own are published often similar. The pages are not as thick as we artists and colorists would both prefer, however with a light hand and good pencils I can color many layers and mix them just fine. I usually do not use a sheet of card stock when coloring in the Minis coloring books, but for the larger books I may, especially if I use markers.
I highly recommend this book. The variety of pages, characters, and scenes, will give every pencil a chance to color. The story summaries are well written and enjoyable, but also encourage us to look up the original tales and read more.
by Lisa Marie Ford
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You can purchase this coloring book from Amazon
and other book sellers.
Selina also offers a printable download for sale via her Etsy Shop: Printable Fantasy of all 25 images together, in sets of 5 pages packs, as well as each page individually.
This allows us to print on our paper of choice (or in some cases to color the printable version and leave our lovely books in pristine condition!)