"The Hebridean Colouring Book" by Eilidh Muldoon brings the islands off Scotland's west coast to life in an especially enticing way. The author says in her introduction: "My journey around the Hebrides began with childhood family camping holidays. The white sandy beaches, imposing mountains and magnificent seascapes are truly inspiring. The islands are full of historic buildings and monuments too... Whether you are familiar with the Hebrides or have yet to experience them for yourself, I hope you will enjoy colouring my drawings and maybe even take this book along with you on your own journey to the islands."
The book comprises 23 double-page line drawings of Hebridean scenes (including one of Oban, rightly described as "gateway to the Hebrides"). The scenes move generally from south to north, and start with Port Ellen Distillery on Islay; the village of Bowmore on the same island; and Craighouse on Jura. Iona Abbey features, as does Muck Harbour, Kinloch Castle on Rum, Dun Carloway Broch and the Lewis Chessmen. The pictures are nicely varied in style and complexity, and are in themselves attractive representations of the places they depict. The author is especially adept at creating intricate patterns within broad planes, whether that be the sea, the sky, the vegetation or the rocks of the island of Staffa.
Catch them on a beautiful day and you could be forgiven for thinking that the Hebrides can be represented by a very limited number of colours. Blue for the sky, turquoise for the sea, the palest of sand for the beaches, and green for the grass (and yellow for the flowers in the grass). Plus perhaps grey for the castles, churches and abbeys. The reality, of course, is very much more complex, and this is a book that affords you the opportunity to bring the scenery to life in whatever mood you wish it to have. Colouring books tend to have a very wide audience. This one is certainly interesting enough and complex enough to keep adults entertained for days. On the other hand, we have a seven-year-old grandson who, having seen the book, keeps asking when this review will be finished so he can start to wield his crayons and produce his own interpretation of some of scenes between the covers.