Unique Coloring Book and Stickers from Putumayo Kids Teach about Global Culture
by Mina Frannea
Putumayo Kids, best known for producing children’s music that entertains, educates and inspires cultural curiosity, recently launched their World Culture Collection–coloring books and sticker collections about Africa, Europe and Latin America. I had an opportunity to review the Europe coloring book as well as the Latin American sticker collection.
Europe Coloring Book
The first thing that drew me to the coloring book is that it’s a large 12″ x 14″ book (about a 1/4 inch thick) with a vibrant and colorful cover illustration depicting children from different countries. The inside cover of the book has a full page of European flags in color and the page that follows provides a brief, easy to understand introduction to Europe. The neatest part about this introduction is that it starts off with “Hello” in four different languages! My 8-year-old son did a pretty good job trying to pronounce the phrases.
The rest of the book contains full size coloring pages comprised of famous European landmarks such as the Tower of Pisa in Italy, the Eiffel Tower in France and Big Ben in London. A few of the pages are scenes of children paying with musical instruments. I liked that each page provides the name of a land mark or has a title describing the scene being shown. For the more complicated landmark names (e.g., Neuschwanstein Castle), it would have been helpful to have some pronunciation guides similar to a dictionary. My 8-year-old daughter thought the same thing when she looked through the book.
There is a colored visual and brief description of most of the landmarks and instruments on the inside back cover of the book–a nice touch!
This hard cover tri-fold book has a pocket that contains two sets of a collection of stickers related to Latin America as well as a nice color map of the continent. The book opens into a large landscape showing mountains, the ocean and a jungle. The landscape is designed for a child to use with the stickers. The stickers are nicely detailed and the colors are bright and appealing. The stickers appear to be easily removable from both the sticker page and the book, although a few may be too small for a younger child to grasp. A child aged 4 and up should be able to use the stickers independently.
The best part about the sticker book is that the back cover has both English and Spanish translations for key pieces in the sticker collection and there is a brief description about Latin America included on the inside pocket with the stickers. My twins and I enjoyed comparing the dual translations as they are both taking classes to learn how to speak Spanish. We look forward to reading more of the translations later.
Overall, I found the Putumayo Kids Europe coloring book and Latin American Sticker Book to be nicely done and made of quality materials. I very much like that these books provide an introduction to global culture and foreign languages; however, I do find them to be a bit pricey at $10 and $12 a piece, respectively, since they are essentially a coloring book and a sticker book. Both, however, would provide great activities for children, and I would probably consider buying them as gifts for special occasions.
Mina Frannea is a Mom to eight-year-old twins and enjoys writing about life in general, family friendly activities around town, favorite recipes and crafts that keep her children busy and happy. For more posts by Mina, visit her blog at www.themomsjournal.com.