Review and Giveaway: Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book by Odessa Begay

Source: Sterling Publishing
Paperback, 96 pgs.
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Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book by Odessa Begay is a gorgeous coloring book that perfectly illustrates the beauty and sadness of Poe’s work, with quotes from various stories interspersed throughout. Begay is a talented artist who carefully weaves in beauty with each horrifying image — from skulls to pestilence personified. Many of these designs are very intricate and will require a steady hand to keep within the lines, but that’s half the fun of achieving calm through coloring. It’s almost meditative to follow the curves of her images and think about how to complement each color to make an overall pleasing image.

Aren’t those images gorgeous? This book is perfect for those who love Edgar Allan Poe, participating in the fall R.I.P. challenge, or those who just want to color some horrifyingly beautiful illustrations. Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book by Odessa Begay is a wonderful tribute to the macabre Poe and his darkly beautiful work.

Here’s one of my pictures — it’s not very good:


RATING: Cinquain

About the Author/Illustrator:

Odessa Begay resides in Philadelphia, PA. She is a graduate of NYU/The Tisch School of the Arts where she studied photography and imaging. She has licensed her work widely in the children’s/baby markets, as well as botanicals for home décor, paper, and fabric. Learn more about her at Website.

Want a copy of your own? Live in the United States or Canada?

Leave a comment on this post by Sept. 29, 2016, 11:59 PM EST, about which story or poem by Edgar Allan Poe is your favorite.


Hitrecord on TV! Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Source: Dey Street Books
Video, 8 episodes
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HitRecord on TV Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a collaborative effort like the books, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories Volume 1, 2, and 3, but these collaborations come to life on stage and in video.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the host of the show, but really he’s his own variety show in that he can act, dance, do tricks, play several instruments, sing, and coordinate all of these projects with hundreds of collaborators.  While this box set includes full-color, stylized booklets for each episode, its the downloaded episodes that will have people riveted.  This show is addictive.  It is not American Idol or The Voice, or any other competitive show about who is the best.  This is a creative engine that is generating a life of its own beyond the screen and the books to create its own artistic community of collaborators and re-mixers.  It is addictive to watch, and I’ve had the song, Freakin’ On My Front Lawn stuck in my head for days!

Each episode is chock full of facts, stories, and fun, JGL takes his role as collaborator and host seriously and he’s all about honest production and fun.  There is audience interaction at the live reveals and each piece begins with the germ of an idea.  Rather than focus on our actual trash production, the episode on trash spoke with John Waters to talk about what it means to make or be trash.  These interviews with the famous and famous in their own industry add even more flavor to the show.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt clearly loves these projects from beginning to end, and audiences will be infected with this sense of joy and inspiration from the moment they begin watching.

With only eight downloadable episodes, the season seems too short, but there are additional downloads from 17 songs/soundtracks to bonus content.  Do not forget about the books!  These slim volumes include so much in such a small space that they are little powerhouses unto themselves.  HitRecord on TV Season One by Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make the perfect gift for the artists in the family, but also for those looking for a fresh show the likes of Ed Sullivan.  The only drawback is these are downloads and not DVDs, and for some of us not quite versed in streaming from computers to televisions, etc., it makes it a little harder.  But it is well worth the effort.

About the Artist:

HitRECord founder and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting career has managed to garner a massive popular appeal while maintaining a widely respected artistic integrity. He recently starred in Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-nominated Inception and received Golden Globe, Independent Spirit and People’s Choice award nominations for his performance in (500) Days of Summer. Currently earning rave reviews for his performance in 50/50, also starring Seth Rogen, his upcoming films include David Koepp actioner Premium Rush and Rian Johnson’s sci-fi thriller Looper, with Bruce Willis. He is currently in production on The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and will next begin work opposite Daniel Day Lewis in Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic, Lincoln.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez & Giveaway

Source: Dey Street Books
Hardcover, 160 pages
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It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez provides an inside look at how the television special about the great pumpkin and Charlie Brown came to be.  The prologue illustrates just how engrained Charlie Brown and the gang’s antics are in our popular culture, as politicians recently started using iconic scenes from the comics and movies to illustrate their own disappointments.

When Charles Schulz, Mendelson and Melendez created the Christmas special, they had low expectations that it would do well, but when it ranked #2 in 1965, they figured they earned a little confidence from the network, CBS.  The network executives, however, were still skeptical and were still not convinced even after the creation and success of a second special, Charlie Brown’s All Stars!  The executives basically called on them to create a blockbuster or else.  The recounted brainstorming session with Schulz is fantastic and the back-and-forth is inspiring as the animator and the creator of the comic bounce ideas around the room with Mendelson.

Included in the book are some great strips from the newspaper, photos of the creative team and actors, and the music sheets.  The book also includes the illustrated script for the special.  It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic by Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez is another wonderful keepsake or gift for the Charlie Brown aficionado in your life.  Slightly smaller than coffee table size, but great to put on the shelf, pull out on the holidays, and just share with the family any time.

About the Cartoonist:

Charles M. Schulz, nicknamed Sparky, was an American cartoonist, best known for the comic strip Peanuts. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, cited as a major influence by many later cartoonists.


For U.S. residents.  Leave a comment below about one of your Halloween or Christmas Traditions and one winner will be chosen to get both books — It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: The Making of a Television Classic and A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition!

Deadline to enter is Sept. 30, 2014, at 11:59 pm EST.

Other reviews:

A Charlie Brown Christmas: The Making of a Tradition

Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield

Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat is a collection of cartoons that speak volumes about cat ownership and cat psyches. The cat has a one track mind — food. The cat finds a variety of ways to get his owner’s attention, including hitting him over the head with a baseball bat, like in this video. The cat has not only become a YouTube sensation, but this book is likely to become equally successful.

Some of the best cartoons in the book involve Simon’s cat acting like a bird feeder or bird bath hoping to catch birds. Through simple lines, shapes, and caricatures, Tofield creates an instantly recognizable and lovable cat.  There are subtle changes to each image that make the laughs even bigger.  Readers should check out Simon Tofield as he discusses how Simon’s Cat developed and how he came up with the name. Readers may find that the cartoon reminds them of other cartoon characters like Garfield, though Simon’s cat doesn’t have a dog to worry about or make look ridiculous.

Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield can provide readers with hours of entertainment, laughs, and fun.  Through self-deprecating actions, Simon’s cat gets into all kinds of trouble and makes a lot of messes, but he’s still adorable.  A cartoon book for any cat lover, those that need a good chuckle, and it would make a good gift for any occasion.

FTC Disclosure:  I receive my copy of Simon’s Cat from A Circle of Books in a giveaway win.  Clicking on title and image links will go to my Amazon Affiliate page; No purchase necessary, though appreciated to fund international giveaways.

I’m also counting this as my 8th book for the 2010 New Authors Challenge.