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Parent Nooz Camp Guide
Posted on April 8, 2017 | 11:30 a.m.

Lee Littlewood: Artwork Comes to Life in New Books for the Whole Family

Source: Lee Littlewood

These gorgeous books showcase beautiful art perfect for the whole family. A nature poster book, unique coloring books and a coffee table tome featuring ethereal trees are all refreshingly beautiful and incredibly cool.


Curated by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis; Big Picture Books/Candlewick; 96 pages; $35

Like uncovering a vintage reference book on exotic plants, Botanicum is nearly 100 pages of glorious colored drawings of plants, from the ones on “the highest mountains to the lowest valleys, from the coldest and driest environments to some of the hottest and wettest places on our planet.”

Grouped in seven galleries, from “The First Plants” to “Palms and Cycads” to “Adapting to the Environments,” the tall oversized book is peppered with mind-bogging foliage. It offers a relaxing introduction about imagining if “you could see the most beautiful exotic, and weird plants at once” and encourages a “stroll back in time, to the beginnings of life on Earth,” making Botanicum a virtually real museum visit.

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Double-page spreads feature single plants, grouped ones and a rain forest in a terrarium, and offer lots of pertinent information on the other side. On the wild flowers pages, eight vividly colorful flowers pop on a black background, while the opposing page tells the story of wildflowers and a “key to plate” with each flower, from the dandelion to the black-eyed Susan, are named and described.

Plants, flowers, trees, fruits and vegetables are described and presented up close in an exotic style that makes the plant kingdom very glorious indeed.

Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees

By Beth Moon; Abbeville Press; 114 pages; $49.95

Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees, a stunning coffee table book for every nature fan, is the latest from photographer Beth Moon, best-selling author of Ancient Trees: Portraits of Time.

Her latest is absolutely otherworldly, though its pictures were photographed in our transcendent world. Staking out some of the world’s last isolated dark places, the appropriately named Moon describes the experience of shooting at night in remote places.

There’s also an essay on the perspective about scientists racing to study the stars in a world where darkness is increasingly scarce.

But the stars of the grand book are exactly that: dark nights covered with shimmering all-encompassing illuminating stars framed by stately ancient trees, from baobabs, olive trees and sequoias in Botswana, Italy and California, to the Quiver Tree in Namibia and the Chestnut in Great Britain.

With some pages made more personal with fold-out pages and a section at the end detailing each tree’s history and details, Ancient Skies, Ancient Trees is surreal, calming, spiritual and life-affirming.

Photography and art fans will also enjoy Abbeville Press’ compact but mighty art museum tomes in the “Tiny Folio” series. Two examples, Treasures of the New-York Historical Society and Treasures of the Brooklyn Museum are 334 pages and $12.95 each. They are miniature, toteworthy guides to the museums mentioned. Filled with close-up clear photographs of artwork, and detailed descriptions and information, the series’ books are ideal souvenirs for museum fans.

The Tattoo Flash Coloring Book

By Oliver Munden; by Megamunden; Laurence King Publishing; 80 pages; $15.99

Traditional and new tattoo fans will love The Tattoo Flash Coloring Book, a coloring book featuring hundreds of elaborate characters and scenes from tattoo culture. Including skeleton skaters, pirates, bearded bikers, playing cards, crystal balls, sailors, strongmen and mermaids, these black, white and gold outlines are incredibly artistic and detailed.

The intriguing book also includes two fold-out posters and two pages of fully colored gorgeous stickers.

This beautiful, classic, retro-tinged pages prove tattoo art is true art. Older kids and adults both will enjoy perusing and coloring its uber-cool pages.


Other cool coloring books worth mentioning are The Doodle Book of Feel Good by Charise Mericle Harper, which is all about pop art prints with fun, empowering sayings. Art of Coloring: Golden Girls is hilarious and memorable, starring the four colorful, lovable women from the hit TV show, The Golden Girls.

— Lee Littlewood writes the Kids’ Home Library column for Creators. The San Diego wife and mom’s pure love of children’s literature helps her stay interested in words and pictures meant for tots to teens. Click here to contact her, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.


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