Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Etchart: Secret Sea A J Wood and Mike Jolley (Non-Fiction, Activity book, 9/10E)

October 2017, Wide-Eyed Editions, 20 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Summary from Quarto
Embark on a journey through nature with this stylish folk-art inspired activity book. With your stylus, etch away at nine beautiful underwater scene to discover fish, seahorses, dolphins, octopuses, and other marvellous marine beasts hidden beneath stunning artwork made up of panels of special scratchable ink. With your stylus, remove all the ink, or create swirls, dots, and other patterns to personalise your very own piece of art. Let yourself be absorbed by this new mindful, creative hobby as you reveal the hidden beauty in each scene – and the artist in you!

Nayu's thoughts
When I was little my older sibling received this type of activity on their birthday, which I always wanted to try but never did, so I jumped  at the chance to finally achieve that childhood wish. Admittedly the lower grade is because at first I struggled to use the etching tool correctly. This has nothing to do with the book or the tool, it is because I have very weak hands and arms, which affected how well I could etch off the black more than I expected. When I managed to do it it was as fun as I thought it would be!
I did the left side, leaving the right side blank so you can see the difference. It is mostly similar to the cover, apart from the covers being different which was a little disappointing. And the eyes...not so cute.
Aside from the seahorse faces not quite being like the cover (and looking a bit evil) I absolutely loved this book! The different animal scenes came alive as I remove the blackness which is a good contrast to the wonderfully coloured pictures. The fact that how much you remove is up to you means that while they are the same picture, every person will have a unique copy of the image once they finish etching it. It is as enjoyable as a sticker book amd a colouring book, although if you have strength/dexterity issues it may take time to figure out the best way how to etch, and maybe leave it on your not so good days to reduce frustration. The pages are sturdy and made of a wipe clean material so you can easily clean up the shavings/remains of the black ink. I think the book could have benefitted from a brief 1 pages guide on how to etch-I had to go online to figure it out. There is a dedicated YouTube video specifically for this book which helped me and it features another book in this series - watch it here.


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