I realise that this year I haven’t actually done that well when it comes to actual book reviews, I will admit my first book of the year has proved a longer read than I expected. Today’s book review is kind of a mix of a notebook and a colouring book and has been sold in TK Maxx in partnership with Comic Relief with a portion of the money going towards the charity as with the rest of the range. This product donated £2 of the £5.99 to the charity.
This year’s Red Nose Day collection at TK Maxx is based around photographs by fashion photographer Rankin. They’re all photos if abimals, though they’re either dressed up or have a red nose added in afterwards. The majority are black and white with one in colour, which lends itself to a colouring in book as you can give them the traditional colours or go pop art and bright colours. These are all available exclusively at TK Maxx, though I think the books and other more home products are also available at Home Sense, their home and lifestyle stores, and is available online here or in stores.
The cover of this book is even made with a finish that means it can be coloured in. It’s a flat matte finish and a pretty thick card in black and white with metallic red accents and I really like the simple look despite the large amount of images on there. The red sleeve giving information on the charity is easy to remove and the red elastic that holds it clos d is a nice touch as I can see this one being the kind of book that stays open once you’ve used it for a while. Size wise this book is pretty much A5, it’s a tiny bit smaller when putting it next to an A5 sheet of paper but nothing noticeable.
The pages inside are fairly thick and the majority are lined notebook pages. You have a double page of colouring outlines and then fourteen pages of lined paper. The lined pages are a fairly standard distance between the lines but it’s probably on the larger end of the scale when it comes to the spacing.
The colouring pages have one page with an image of one of the characters for most of them and then on the opposite page a patterned colouring book with an element from the image if the character. There are a few double pages with designs specific to Red Nose Day, whether it’s a page if the past red noses or the one full of the different characters available as noses this year (I think just want the dragon). Some of the pages have a red circle as a red nose printed on the page already so you would have to colour around then. The animal character page is designed in a way that means you have some larger areas alongside the very detailed patches so not the best as a relaxing colouring book but the pattern page has a lot of easy to colour sections, whether it’s doing it all in one go or jumping between the pages as they don’t make an image themselves.
One problem with this book is the paper istelf. Using pencils it’s fine, however using fine liners it tend to both bleed outside the lines and through the other side of the page. It does mean that, if you’re like me and prefer fine liners when colouring, you will end up sacrificing the lined page on the other side of the colouring one. Also, it’s worth remembering that this is going to be a problem from the notebook side as any actual ink pens are likely to need through. Biro, gel pens and pencils at fine and don’t show through though so it’s only a problem if you’re a fan of writing in ink.
At the end of the day this isn’t either specifically a notebook or a colouring book and, although I like the idea, it doesn’t actually do the best as either. I think the main problem is the paper and, if you’re thinking about buying this, you’re probably not going to be looking for a serious notebook or colouring book so it might not be a problem anyway. It would be a great book for doodlers and people who like to fiddle when they’re making notes.
As I’m a fan of both notebooks and colouring books, I love making lists, I will definitely get a lot of use out of this and it is in aid of a worthwhile cause which is always good. I think this is a great one if you like colouring in pencil and like the idea of these images. I think it’s probably more one to buy for yourself over as a gift, unless you know someone will love it, as it’s quite an unusual mix and a very specific theme, especially with the red nose pages.