Staying in the Lines

Coloring books have reached the zenith of sophisticated stress-release and mindfulness for adults – one need look no further than the pricey pattern tablets offered with creamy Faber-Castel colored pencils – but coloring books for kids offer inexpensive, portable, and decidedly screen-free ways to relax and pass the time. The following three selections are the best of the pack:

I Heart Cute Coloring, by Jess Bradley; Price, Stern, Sloan, $9.99, 128 pages, ages 6-9.

Yes, this chunky tablet delivers exactly what the title promises: page after page of unicorns, reindeer and bathing penguins. The vaguely anime style lend the book an air of cool no pre-tween can resist. Rather than swipe your kid’s copy, adults can pick up the companion volume, I Heart Coloring, by Felicity French.

Merry Christmas, Hello Kitty! Grossett & Dunlap, $9.99, ages 3 and up.

64 pages of puzzles, mazes, seek and finds, and a pull-out poster all starring the global phenomenon Hello Kitty. Does it matter that the illustrations are Christmas-themed? Not in the least. If you have more than one Hello Kitty fan at home, better get two copies.

Harry Potter Coloring Book, Scholastic; $15.99, ages 9-14. (release date: November 10, 2015)

This coloring book cast a spell on me; filled with all the magical creatures and places from the film series, it will enchant Harry Potter buffs, too. The final 16 page spread includes fully-colored illustrations of emblems as well as photo stills from all the movies. Aparecium!

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