Review by Joseph Bean Maui Weekly February 11 2005
In reviewing books you could use as stocking stuffers for Christmas I included a coloring book from Bess Press by artist Ben W. Holokai Jr. The art in that book Myths and Legends of Hawaii Coloring Book is beautiful but probably too complex and demanding for young children. I still love it and recommend it highly by the way. Now Bess Press has added some new coloring books to its line-up ones that even very young artists can enjoy.
These books are Surfing A to Z Coloring Book and Dangerous Sea Creatures of Hawaii A to Z Coloring Book. Both books have instructive text on the title topic by Terry Pierce who has a B.A. in early childhood development and a passion for Hawaii's natural history. The drawings are done in bold and simple strokes by Big Island artist Kristen Kofsky. The art leaves lots of room for the youngest colorist to scribble long and hard filling spaces within the lines but invites a little creativity for more confident crayon wielders.
One surfer in Surfing A to Z Coloring Book for instance is dressed in something that goes from upper arms to neck to knees or nearly so. Is it a one-color wet suit? Then rub one color over all of it. But it could be a wildly floral T-shirt and multi-toned board shorts just as well. A child old enough to imagine that has room and freedom to color the image in just that way.
Pierces text is simple and bold as well. Whats more it is very much specific to its topic in each book. The vocabulary in the surfing book includes Jaws as near Maui Banzai Pipeline Sunset Beach mushy as in slow-moving waves and Queen Kaahumanu who loved to surf.
The text in Dangerous Sea Creatures of Hawaii A to Z Coloring Book is similarly local and well considered. Kids in Hawaii need to know that C-cone snails are D-dangerous and handling them can create an E-emergency.
If you have kids under say 10 in the house or kids of any age who are new to Hawaii theyll get some real use and pleasure out of both of these books. Older more seasoned island boys and girls may be ready for Holokais myths and legends instead.