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Book Review: Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville by Nina Sengupta

Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville by Nina Sengupta

Title: Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville
Author: Nina Sengupta
Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: SAIIER (2015)
Stars: ****/5
Buy On: Auroville.com

Note: Thanks Nina Sengupta and SAIIER for offering me this book to read and review :)

With all the talk going on about colouring books and their benefits for adults, I just had to get one for myself, so when I came across Nina’s book I jumped at it. It also helped that it’s topic was of interest to me.

Published by SAIIER or Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research the ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is my first taste of an adult colouring book. (The book though states on the cover that it’s a collection of botanical drawings both for adults and young.)

The cover is made of rich red textured paper that feels good and holds well when handing the book. The front cover has a simple illustration that stands out for its ease on the eye and yet it’s whiteness immediately invites you to colour in. The back cover lists some of the benefits of colouring books and gives an introduction to why Sengupta put together this book. It also states that this is likely to be the first colouring book from India.

The size of a large note book ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ has 22 pages that include 40 drawings to colour in. The drawing pages are smooth and a pristine white that helps in showing off colours as they are. The book is hand-bound neatly and that adds a certain character to the book. It also helps the book open and spread well for colouring.

Hand Bound Colouring books

The theme of this book which is part one in a tri-series is edible weeds and plants around around Auroville. The illustrations are botanical drawings drawn to scale with the scales included in the images. The botanical name and various other common names are listed at the bottom of each page. Sengupta says she has been slightly partial to lesser known plants in her choosing for this book; I agree for there were just a couple that I knew but that leaves a lot of new ones to learn about. :)

Instructions for use listed at the beginning of the book talks about the plants, their details, scales, uses, etc. There is some colouring help given but I’d have liked to know more about painting mediums that could have been used. The paper seems thick though and the kind you could use water colours on but I’ve only used colour pencils until now. No idea what would happen with alcohol based markers. The coloured insert included with the book at the end gives visual cues if you want to see what the actual colours are, it also gives more details about the plant and it’s uses.

Coloured Insert in colouring book

The drawings are well laid out one on each page with a lot of white space around. There is also a mix of the easy and the intricate in each drawing that makes for some challenge but isn’t daunting. As a collection of edible weeds this isn’t just a colouring book but also resource to be kept handy for garden enthusiasts.

Since this book is at it’s core a colouring book and it’s my first colouring book, I was very interested to see how the relaxation bit would pan out. As a study and to make the book a collectible for me, I decided to ask friends to colour a page each. I talked with them as they coloured about their choices of colour, method and how they felt.

Colours and friends

I’ve gotten three friends until now to sit down and colour a page each. Interestingly all three choose to ignore the colour insert and used colours of their own choice. Two out of three were parents with some recent experience of colouring but even the single one who hadn’t coloured in ages tried out colour combinations and shading. And each one of them attested to the fun they had and the relaxation they felt after they were done. I coloured in one page myself and can now vouch for all those feelings too. :)

In summary, ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is a worthy buy, not only for the hours of fun and relaxation you’ll get while colouring but also for the knowledge and resources given in the book for future reference. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Click here to buy a copy of Nina Sengupta’s Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville.

Note: Since this was the first time ever that I was reviewing a colouring book, I sought inspiration and guidance through Google and found Lucy’s blog which was so helpful. If you like colouring books please do check out Colouring In The Midst of Madness for more reviews and insight into how Lucy uses colouring books and craft to help her cope with her severe anxiety disorder.

 

My Interview with Nina Sengupta

 

Interview with Nina Sengupta

In the interview Nina talks about her book, her journey from an idea to being published, her love for weeds, and more.

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